|ATLANTA ( MAHOLM )|
CHICAGO CUBS ( BAKER )
|901||ATLANTA||-125||Ov 8.5,-105||-130||Ov 9,-105|
|902||CHICAGO CUBS||+115||Un 8.5,-115||+120||Un 9,-115|
|vs Right-handed Starters||66-47||+3.9||52-52||4.4||0.251||0.317||3.4||0.248||0.301|
|Past 7 Games||3-4||-2.4||1-6||3.0||0.218||0.287||3.1||0.229||0.288|
|vs Left-handed Starters||21-21||+7.6||14-25||3.5||0.239||0.300||3.8||0.245||0.315|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-2.2||1-6||2.4||0.204||0.272||3.9||0.206||0.264|
|9/6/2013||MINOR(L)||@ PHILADELPHIA||LEE(L)||1-2||L||-115||7 un||U||3||3||0||4||2||0|
|9/7/2013||WOOD(L)||@ PHILADELPHIA||KENDRICK(R)||5-6||L||-160||8 un||O||7||4||0||15||12||0|
|9/8/2013||MAHOLM(L)||@ PHILADELPHIA||HAMELS(L)||2-3||L||110||7 un||U||2||1||1||8||7||0|
|9/9/2013||MEDLEN(R)||@ MIAMI||ALVAREZ(R)||5-2||W||-165||7 ov||P||5||3||1||8||7||0|
|9/10/2013||TEHERAN(R)||@ MIAMI||KOEHLER(R)||4-3||W||-165||7.5 un||U||9||10||1||6||7||1|
|9/11/2013||MINOR(L)||@ MIAMI||FERNANDEZ(R)||2-5||L||100||6.5 un||O||7||8||1||13||8||0|
|9/12/2013||GARCIA(R)||@ MIAMI||FLYNN(L)||6-1||W||-140||8 ov||U||9||8||0||7||6||0|
|9/13/2013||HALE(R)||SAN DIEGO||KENNEDY(R)||3-4||L||-140||8 un||U||5||2||0||10||8||0|
|9/14/2013||MEDLEN(R)||SAN DIEGO||ERLIN(L)||2-1||W||-195||7.5 un||U||9||11||0||5||7||0|
|9/15/2013||TEHERAN(R)||SAN DIEGO||SMITH(R)||0-4||L||-200||8 un||U||4||6||1||9||7||1|
|9/17/2013||MINOR(L)||@ WASHINGTON||HAREN(R)||5-6||L||110||7 ov||O||9||8||2||4||6||2|
|9/17/2013||GARCIA(R)||@ WASHINGTON||ROARK(R)||0-4||L||135||8 un||U||5||6||1||11||6||1|
|9/18/2013||WOOD(L)||@ WASHINGTON||OHLENDORF(R)||5-2||W||100||7.5 un||U||8||4||1||7||9||1|
|9/20/2013||MAHOLM(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||BAKER(R)|| |
|9/21/2013||MEDLEN(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)|| |
|9/22/2013||TEHERAN(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||JACKSON(R)|| |
|9/27/2013|| ||PHILADELPHIA|| || |
|9/9/2013||WOOD(L)||@ CINCINNATI||ARROYO(R)||2-0||W||165||7.5 ov||U||7||6||0||7||9||0|
|9/10/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ CINCINNATI||CINGRANI(L)||9-1||W||225||8 ov||O||13||8||0||10||9||1|
|9/11/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ CINCINNATI||LEAKE(R)||0-6||L||160||8.5 un||U||6||7||0||8||6||0|
|9/12/2013||RUSIN(L)||@ PITTSBURGH||LOCKE(L)||1-3||L||160||7.5 un||U||4||5||0||6||5||0|
|9/13/2013||ARRIETA(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||MORTON(R)||5-4||W||160||7 un||O||9||8||1||9||7||1|
|9/14/2013||BAKER(R)||@ PITTSBURGH||COLE(R)||1-2||L||175||7 un||U||5||6||0||5||4||0|
|9/15/2013||WOOD(L)||@ PITTSBURGH||LIRIANO(L)||2-3||L||165||6.5 un||U||3||5||0||7||6||0|
|9/16/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||PERALTA(R)||1-6||L||115||8 ev||U||5||6||3||8||8||2|
|9/17/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||ESTRADA(R)||3-4||L||125||7.5 un||U||7||4||2||6||5||0|
|9/18/2013||RUSIN(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||THORNBURG(R)||0-7||L||130||8 un||U||4||8||0||5||3||0|
|9/19/2013||ARRIETA(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)||5-1||W||125||8.5 un||U||13||8||0||4||4||1|
|9/27/2013|| ||@ ST LOUIS|| || |
|ATLANTA: HITTING: The Braves were 27th in the majors in steals last year, but that number should rise with a full season of speedster OF MICHAEL BOURN, who was acquired from Houston last July. OFs MARTIN PRADO and JASON HEYWARD comprise the corner outfield spots, and are both are looking to bounce back after disappointing, injury-riddled 2011 campaigns. 2B DAN UGGLA smacked a career-best 36 HR in his first year with Atlanta, his fifth straight 30-homer season. Steady veterans C BRIAN McCANN and 3B CHIPPER JONES comprise a solid middle of the lineup. McCann has four straight 20-HR, 70-RBI seasons, while Jones, who turns 40 in April, has a career .402 on-base percentage. 1B FREDDIE FREEMAN was the N.L.'s best offensive rookie last year, batting .282 with 21 HR and 76 RBI. The starting shortstop will be one of two highly-touted, 22-year-old prospects, TYLER PASTORNICKY or ANDRELTON SIMMONS. |
STARTING PITCHING: Even with significant injuries to three starters, the Braves rotation still ranked ninth in the majors in ERA (3.73), thanks to TIM HUDSON posting a 3.22 ERA in 215 innings. The right-hander was lights-out at Turner Field again, going 10-4 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. But he'll be out at least a month because of back problems. JAIR JURRJENS was outstanding through the end of July (12-3, 2.38 ERA), but a knee strain bothered him in August and shut him down for September. Although many teams inquired about Jurrjens in the offseason, it doesn't look like the Braves want to deal him just yet. TOMMY HANSON is another young star (25) that had to be shut down in early August due to a partially torn rotator cuff. His ERA was a career-worst 3.60, but he notched a career-best 9.8 K/9 rate. BRANDON BEACHY, also 25, posted a whopping 10.7 K/9 ratio with a respectable ERA (3.68) and WHIP (1.21). Atlanta is loaded with young pitchers, but expect MIKE MINOR (5-3, 4.14 ERA) and RANDALL DELGADO to start in the majors, with JULIO TEHERAN, who has the most upside of the trio, to begin 2012 in Triple-A.
RELIEF PITCHING: CRAIG KIMBREL exceeded all expectations last year, establishing himself as one of the best closers in the game. He struck out an eye-popping 14.8 batters per nine (127 K in 77 IP), and converted 46-of-54 (85%) save chances. Even though Kimbrel's job as a closer is probably locked down for the next decade, the Braves have two other great relievers, both lefties. JONNY VENTERS posted a 1.84 WHIP and .176 opponents' BA in 88 innings, and is next in line for saves (five in 2011) should Kimbrel suffer an injury. Fellow southpaw ERIC O'FLAHERTY had a 0.98 ERA (8 ER in 73.2 IP) and 32 holds, just three fewer than Venters.
|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 (ATLANTA-CHICAGO CUBS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(UPDATES clinching scenario for Braves)
*Braves-Cubs Preview* =====================
By TAYLOR BECHTOLD STATS Writer
Atlanta (90-62) at Chicago (63-89), 2:20 p.m. EDT
While the Atlanta Braves are on the verge of clinching their first division title in eight years, they're hoping to build some momentum heading into the playoffs.
The visiting Braves will try to avoid their 10th loss in 15 games as they look to wrap up the NL East crown against the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Justin Upton and Dan Uggla homered to help Atlanta (90-62) snap a three-game losing streak with Wednesday's 5-2 victory over second-place Washington. The Braves can secure their first division title since 2005 - the last of 11 straight first-place finishes - with a win and Nationals loss to Miami.
Following a prolonged slump that has kept the team from clinching earlier, Atlanta looks to build on a promising offensive rally against the Nationals. The Braves, averaging 3.0 runs while batting .202 during this 5-9 stretch, scored five times in the final four innings Wednesday.
"We've been struggling for a while here," said Upton, who hit three home runs to help Atlanta sweep a three-game home set from the Cubs in April. "At some point, we had to break out."
The Braves might have a difficult time continuing that effort considering the way Scott Baker (0-0, 0.82 ERA) has pitched in two starts since coming off the disabled list.
The right-hander has allowed five hits over 11 innings but has received two runs of support. Baker, who underwent Tommy John surgery in April 2012, allowed one run and three hits over six innings in a 2-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday.
"We're not out here for him to injure that thing or have a setback," manager Dale Sveum told MLB's official website. "It's just a matter of him getting on the mound and doing things for his own good, as well as the organization."
Baker seeks his first victory since July 23, 2011, while leading the Cubs to their first back-to-back wins since Sept. 9-10. Anthony Rizzo and Logan Watkins had three hits and Chicago hit three homers to end a five-game skid with Thursday's 5-1 win in Milwaukee.
Paul Maholm (10-10, 4.35) will try to end his recent road woes in his return to the rotation after the Braves skipped his spot to examine lingering elbow discomfort.
The left-hander has gone 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his last three starts overall, but he's 0-4 with a 7.66 ERA in his past five on the road.
Maholm might be able to end that slide at Wrigley Field, where he's 6-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his last 10 starts dating to his time with the Cubs in 2012. He hasn't faced Chicago since 2011 while with Pittsburgh.
Starlin Castro has fared well against Maholm with nine hits in 21 at-bats. He's also batting .375 during an eight-game home hitting streak versus the Braves.
Although Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth Thursday and is 32 for 37 in save opportunities, Sveum said he plans to use right-hander Pedro Strop in save situations for the remainder of the season. Strop was 0 for 3 in save opportunities with Baltimore before being acquired July 2.
|Last Updated: 9/18/2014 6:48:36 PM EST|