|PITTSBURGH ( BURNETT )|
CHICAGO CUBS ( VILLANUEVA )
|959||PITTSBURGH||-140||Ov 7.5,+100||-145||Ov 9.5,+105|
|960||CHICAGO CUBS||+130||Un 7.5,-120||+135||Un 9.5,-125|
|vs Right-handed Starters||44-24||+26.7||28-38||3.9||0.242||0.301||3.3||0.222||0.290|
|Past 7 Games||4-3||+0.1||3-4||3.1||0.246||0.319||3.1||0.230||0.274|
|vs Right-handed Starters||26-34||-4.8||31-27||4.3||0.245||0.296||4.3||0.242||0.305|
|Past 7 Games||4-3||+1.9||4-3||4.0||0.237||0.288||3.7||0.239||0.312|
|6/23/2013||MORTON(R)||@ LA ANGELS||BLANTON(R)||10-9||W||145||9 un||O||13||7||3||9||8||2|
|6/25/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ SEATTLE||SAUNDERS(L)||9-4||W||-120||7 ov||O||13||7||0||5||4||1|
|6/26/2013||GOMEZ(R)||@ SEATTLE||HERNANDEZ(R)||4-2||W||160||6.5 ov||U||8||7||1||8||10||0|
|7/5/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)||6-2||W||-135||7.5 un||O||13||13||0||4||4||0|
|7/6/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)||1-4||L||-115||9 un||U||5||5||1||7||6||0|
|7/7/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||VILLANUEVA(R)|| |
|7/12/2013||MORTON(R)||NY METS||MARCUM(R)|| |
|7/13/2013||BURNETT(R)||NY METS||HEFNER(R)|| |
|7/14/2013|| ||NY METS|| || |
|6/25/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)||3-9||L||130||8 ov||O||8||5||1||11||3||0|
|6/26/2013||FELDMAN(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)||5-4||W||125||8.5 un||O||11||11||0||9||5||2|
|6/27/2013||GARZA(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||PERALTA(R)||7-2||W||100||9 un||P||9||6||0||9||8||2|
|6/28/2013||WOOD(L)||@ SEATTLE||IWAKUMA(R)||4-5||L||140||7 un||O||7||2||0||9||11||1|
|6/29/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ SEATTLE||HARANG(R)||5-3||W||-110||7 ov||O||10||6||0||10||8||0|
|6/30/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ SEATTLE||BONDERMAN(R)||7-6||W||105||8 ov||O||9||6||0||10||7||1|
|7/2/2013||RUSIN(L)||@ OAKLAND||GRIFFIN(R)||7-8||L||195||8 ev||O||13||5||1||10||4||0|
|7/3/2013||GARZA(R)||@ OAKLAND||COLON(R)||3-1||W||180||7.5 un||U||12||9||0||4||7||0|
|7/4/2013||WOOD(L)||@ OAKLAND||STRAILY(R)||0-1||L||150||8 ov||U||2||4||0||5||6||1|
|7/8/2013||GARZA(R)||@ CHI WHITE SOX||SANTIAGO(L)|| |
|7/9/2013||WOOD(L)||LA ANGELS||BLANTON(R)|| |
|7/10/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||LA ANGELS||WILSON(L)|| |
|7/11/2013||JACKSON(R)||ST LOUIS||WESTBROOK(R)|| |
|7/12/2013||VILLANUEVA(R)||ST LOUIS||KELLY(R)|| |
|7/13/2013||GARZA(R)||ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)|| |
|7/14/2013|| ||ST LOUIS|| || |
|PITTSBURGH: HITTING: The Pirates' two-month casual flirtation with competitiveness was cute while it lasted, before this team fizzled to a 72-win season. This team is still years away. But don't blame OF ANDREW McCUTCHEN, who might be the best all-around player in the division. Of all the ballyhooed outfielders from the 2005 draft, he's the one GMs would most want to build around. OF JOSE TABATA, not so much. He's serviceable and has plus speed, but the six-year extension the Pirates gave him was absurd. 2B NEIL WALKER has settled into a respectable place short of stardom. 3B PEDRO ALVAREZ has a lot of uphill climbing to do if he wants to wake up old expectations. He'll compete with 3B CASEY MCGEHEE for a starting role, but it's most likely that Alvarez moves to first base to back up 1B GARRETT JONES. OFs NATE McLOUTH and ALEX PRESLEY are underwhelming choices for the starting left-field spot. SS CLINT BARMES and C ROD BARAJAS would like to thank the Pirates for wildly overpaying them. |
STARTING PITCHING: JEFF KARSTENS looked pretty decent for much of last year. But that's what happens when you get to log 14 percent of your innings against the lowly Astros. Better teams exposed him for the replacement-level guy he is. Contrary to what a lot of bored, lazy sportswriters wanted you to believe last year, CHARLIE MORTON doesn't pitch like Roy Halladay. At all. JAMES McDONALD could still be special if he cut down his walk rate. ERIK BEDARD was a respectable signing. Even if his shoulder acts up, he cost only $4.5 million for a year. If he's healthy, he's still well above-average. KEVIN CORREIA may only be slightly more effective at striking out hitters than a batting tee, but the Pirates are grateful for the innings he eats. BRAD LINCOLN is the designated fill-in if any of the other starters get hurt (cough, Bedard). In the meantime, he's a swing man.
RELIEF PITCHING: Closer JOEL HANRAHAN has been outstanding since first donning a Pirates uniform in 2009, converting 40-of-44 saves with a 1.83 ERA last season. It makes sense for the rebuilding Pirates to move him, but they'll probably keep the hand they were dealt. There isn't another qualified ninth-inning pitcher in this bullpen though. EVAN MEEK was bit by the shoulder bug. His early season was an unqualified disaster, but he turned it around and regained his form once he came back in September. He should be fully healthy again, and a quiet source of a few saves. CHRIS RESOP is another primary set-up man, but he posted a 4.39 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 2011. DANIEL McCUTCHEN won't be so lucky with his ERA this year if he doesn't lower his walk rate. He's just not a guy to put much faith in.
|CHICAGO CUBS: HITTING: 'Under New Management' is the motto in Wrigleyville, where Epstein, Hoyer, Sveum and Co. aim to turn SS STARLIN CASTRO and a bunch of straw into gold. OF DAVID DeJESUS was an underrated first pick-up. But OFs ALFONSO SORIANO and MARLON BYRD are overpaid and over the hill. C GEOVANY SOTO has lost his mojo. New 3B IAN STEWART has a lousy career OPS of .737 away from Coors Field. 1B BRYAN LaHAIR is tagged as part of a 'youth movement,' but he's almost 30. The other youths'2B DARWIN BARNEY, IF JEFF BAKER, and IF BLAKE DEWITT 'are interchangeable guys with low ceilings. Fourth OF TONY CAMPANA is fast but one-dimensional. And minor-league reinforcements are scarce. OF BRETT JACKSON is solid, but blocked in the lineup. And former uber-prospect 3B JOSH VITTERS has done nothing to justify his third-overall draft status. This rebuilding process will take time. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Chicago suburbs, Jim Hendry quietly sobs into a pile of Cubs-themed stuffed animals. |
STARTING PITCHING: RYAN DEMPSTER should bounce back from an unlucky year in which there was nearly a full-run difference between his ERA and his FIP. He's no ace in good times, but he's an underrated and dependable source of innings and strikeouts. MATT GARZA didn't disappoint in his debut season on the North Side, but he was an odd acquisition to begin with: the Cubs dealt top prospects from a thin system when all signs pointed to a belly-flop of a season. He's already trade bait again. JEFF SAMARDZIJA is moving to the rotation after a strong year in the bullpen (2.97 ERA, 87 K in 88 IP), but he needs to cut down on his walks (5.1 per 9 IP). What killed TRAVIS WOOD in 2011 was uncharacteristic wildness. His walk total spiked by over 50 percent from 2010. He's better than this, though it's hard to say how much. It could be that a 40-inning jump from 2010 to 2011 aided his freefall. Subpar newcomers PAUL MAHOLM and CHRIS VOLSTAD will also compete for rotation spots. The lefty Maholm is coming off his best season in Pittsburgh (3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but was awful after the All-Star break (0-5, 5.75 ERA, .355 Opp. BA). The 6-foot-8 Volstad was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA for the Marlins last year, but still has time to figure things out at age 25.
RELIEF PITCHING: Because of his contract and the head-scratching faith in the 'closer mentality' that still pervades even the most enlightened front offices, CARLOS MARMOL will enter the 2012 campaign with a near-ironclad grip on ninth-inning duties for the Cubs. Trading away Sean Marshall, arguably Chicago's best reliever last season, is yet another vote of confidence for Marmol. His lack of command leads to more hittable pitches (along with tons of walks), though his ceiling for strikeouts and saves is sky-high. KERRY WOOD will be the main set-up man again after a triumphant return to Chicago last season (3.35 ERA, 57 K in 51 IP).
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (PITTSBURGH-CHICAGO CUBS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Pirates-Cubs Preview* ======================
By NOEY KUPCHAN STATS Writer
Pittsburgh (53-32) at Chicago (36-48), 2:20 p.m. EDT
Though he has never called Wrigley Field home, the Pittsburgh Pirates' A.J. Burnett has always made himself comfortable at the Friendly Confines.
Set to come off the disabled list Sunday, Burnett tries to win a sixth consecutive start at Wrigley as the Pirates conclude a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
After missing the last month with a Grade 1 tear in his right calf, Burnett (4-6, 3.12 ERA), who was injured during routine running drills, is ready to make his much-anticipated return.
"His last bullpen, his timing and rhythm were really sharp," manager Clint Hurdle told MLB's official website. "We didn't see a need to have him throw 75 pitches in a rehab game. His experience, the adrenaline of a packed house, his success (at Wrigley) - all of it will combine to get him out there in a very competitive state."
In his last start before getting hurt, Burnett allowed two runs and four hits in a season-high 8 1-3 innings June 8, in a 6-2 road win over Chicago (37-48). The right-hander, who carried a shutout into the ninth before surrendering a two-run homer to Alfonso Soriano, improved to 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA in six career outings on the North Side.
"I go back a long way with Sori. ... I've gotten him a few times, he's gotten me," Burnett said of Soriano, who is 6 for 29 with 10 strikeouts in their matchups. "You come to Chicago and Wrigley Field, even as a Marlin I enjoyed coming here a long time ago. So it's fun to get out and these guys on their field in their stadium."
Burnett may need to be especially careful against Soriano, who hit a pair of two-run homers in Saturday's 4-1 win. The veteran outfielder has gone 12 for 34 (.353) with five homers and 13 RBIs in his last eight games.
"It's fun when we have a teammate swinging the bat real well," winning pitcher Edwin Jackson said. "It's a lot of fun in the dugout. It's positive energy and that's what this team needs."
With Scott Feldman no longer around, the Cubs will give the ball to Carlos Villanueva (2-4, 3.45). The right-hander opened the year in the rotation, and went 1-3 with a 3.93 ERA in eight starts. He has pitched out of the bullpen since May 22, going 1-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 16 appearances.
"If it's fresh and no stress out there, we'll just wing it," Sveum said of Villanueva, expected to throw around 60-70 pitches. "When he starts, he's going to have to have fastball command. Coming out of the bullpen, he can get through with his trickery, but when you start, you have to have fastball command and get some outs with your fastball."
Villanueva is 2-2 with a 2.98 ERA in 23 games - two starts - versus Pittsburgh (53-33). Russell Martin and Garrett Jones are a combined 9 for 16 with three homers against Villanueva, but Andrew McCutchen is 2 for 11.
Batting .373 with two homers and 10 RBIs over a 13-game stretch, McCutchen is hitting .411 with five homers, 17 RBIs, 27 runs and 10 stolen bases in his last 30 road games in the series.
McCutchen is one of four Pirates to make the NL All-Star team, joining Jason Grilli, Pedro Alvarez and Jeff Locke. Travis Wood will be the Cubs' only representative.
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is uncertain to be available after leaving Saturday's game with discomfort on his right side. He's mired in a 4-for-26 slump.
|Last Updated: 9/2/2014 8:45:52 AM EST|