|PITTSBURGH ( MORTON )|
CHICAGO CUBS ( SAMARDZIJA )
|957||PITTSBURGH||-125||Ov 7.5,+110||-130||Ov 7.5,+110|
|958||CHICAGO CUBS||+115||Un 7.5,-130||+120||Un 7.5,-130|
|vs Right-handed Starters||72-54||+17.8||54-68||3.8||0.241||0.301||3.6||0.235||0.300|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-5.5||3-3||3.7||0.206||0.270||4.3||0.255||0.321|
|vs Right-handed Starters||44-69||-18.1||50-58||3.9||0.237||0.293||4.3||0.243||0.309|
|Past 7 Games||2-5||-2.6||1-6||2.7||0.249||0.286||4.7||0.214||0.293|
|9/9/2013||COLE(R)||@ TEXAS||DARVISH(R)||1-0||W||155||7.5 un||U||6||4||0||4||5||0|
|9/10/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ TEXAS||PEREZ(L)||5-4||W||115||8 ov||O||12||10||0||13||9||2|
|9/11/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ TEXAS||GARZA(R)||7-5||W||120||8 ov||O||12||8||0||9||6||0|
|9/12/2013||LOCKE(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||RUSIN(L)||3-1||W||-170||7.5 un||U||6||5||0||4||5||0|
|9/13/2013||MORTON(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||ARRIETA(R)||4-5||L||-170||7 un||O||9||7||1||9||8||1|
|9/14/2013||COLE(R)||CHICAGO CUBS||BAKER(R)||2-1||W||-185||7 un||U||5||4||0||5||6||0|
|9/15/2013||LIRIANO(L)||CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)||3-2||W||-175||6.5 un||U||7||6||0||3||5||0|
|9/16/2013||BURNETT(R)||SAN DIEGO||CASHNER(R)||0-2||L||-170||6.5 un||U||1||0||0||8||10||0|
|9/17/2013||LOCKE(L)||SAN DIEGO||STULTS(L)||2-5||L||-180||7 un||P||7||7||0||14||10||1|
|9/18/2013||MORTON(R)||SAN DIEGO||ROSS(R)||2-3||L||-165||7 un||U||3||0||0||6||6||0|
|9/19/2013||COLE(R)||SAN DIEGO||KENNEDY(R)||10-1||W||-185||7 un||O||14||10||0||5||8||1|
|9/23/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)|| |
|9/24/2013||COLE(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||RUSIN(L)|| |
|9/25/2013||LIRIANO(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||ARRIETA(R)|| |
|9/27/2013||BURNETT(R)||@ CINCINNATI||LATOS(R)|| |
|9/28/2013||LOCKE(L)||@ CINCINNATI||BAILEY(R)|| |
|9/29/2013||MORTON(R)||@ CINCINNATI||ARROYO(R)|| |
|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||WOOD(L)||@ ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)|| |
|9/28/2013||JACKSON(R)||@ ST LOUIS||KELLY(R)|| |
|9/29/2013||SAMARDZIJA(R)||@ ST LOUIS||WAINWRIGHT(R)|| |
|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) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(ADDS Sveum quote)
*Pirates-Cubs Preview* ======================
By TAYLOR BECHTOLD STATS Writer
Pittsburgh (89-66) at Chicago (65-90), 8:05 p.m. EDT
Although they've fallen back into a tie for the top NL wild-card spot, the Pittsburgh Pirates have an opportunity to bounce back as they begin a three-game series against the lowly Chicago Cubs.
Closing in on their first playoff appearance in 21 years and trying to make it take place at home, the visiting Pirates will try to beat the Cubs for the 11th time in 17 meetings Monday night.
Pittsburgh (89-67) failed to take control of the race for home-field advantage in a potential wild-card playoff matchup with Cincinnati on Sunday, losing 11-3 at home to the Reds. That left the teams dead even.
"We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole early and they never let up, kept their foot on the gas pedal," said second baseman Neil Walker, who hit his 13th home run. "We have to continue to play good baseball and things will go our way."
The Pirates have lost five of seven, but they're still close to their first playoff spot since 1992. Pittsburgh also has an outside chance to win the NL Central, as it's close behind St. Louis.
The Pirates will try to take advantage of the timely matchup with the last-place Cubs (65-91) before wrapping up the season with three games in Cincinnati.
They'll give the ball to Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35 ERA), who was outstanding in his last start before the bullpen blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning in a 3-2 loss to San Diego on Wednesday.
The right-hander matched a career high with nine strikeouts while allowing one run and two hits over eight innings. He's gone 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA in his last nine starts.
He'll try to continue the strong work of Pittsburgh starters against Chicago this season, as they've posted a 2.21 ERA to help the Pirates take 10 of 16 meetings. Morton, however, is 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in four career starts at Wrigley Field.
Chicago's Brian Bogusevic hit the only home run Morton has allowed in his last 67 innings in a 5-4 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 13. Bogusevic is 5 for 8 all-time in their matchups.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum thinks series like this one can help his club for the future.
"That's the vision you have, wanting to be in that position and wanting to get into September and meaningful games and go through the playoff atmosphere in September," he told the team's official website. "The playoffs are the playoffs, but a lot of these teams, especially the Pirates and the Cardinals, they've been playing playoff games, basically, fighting for the division and fighting for home-field advantage, all those things."
Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42), among the top 10 in the major leagues with 203 strikeouts, showed signs of improvement in his last start Tuesday. He gave up three runs over seven innings while striking out eight in a 4-3 loss at Milwaukee, not getting a decision.
The right-hander had posted an 8.35 ERA in his previous three starts.
Samardzija hasn't had much success at home, going 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA in his last 11 starts there. He's given up nine runs and 17 hits over 12 innings while dropping both home starts against the Pirates this season.
Andrew McCutchen is 5 for 12 with three doubles against Samardzija. The NL MVP candidate has batted .395 in his last 12 games versus Chicago, but he's hitless in his last 13 at-bats overall.
The Cubs, who have split six meetings with Pittsburgh at Wrigley, have dropped nine of 12 overall.
|Last Updated: 9/17/2014 2:39:52 PM EST|