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Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago Cubs – Series Preview (3 games)

Series Preview Header 2

pirates logo

** Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL **

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: CSN) (RADIO:  WGN 720)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 – 7:05 PM CST
(TV: WGN) (RADIO:  WGN 720)

Thursday, April 10, 2014 – 1:20 PM CST
(TV:  WGN, MLBN)  (RADIO:  WGN 720)

** SERIES VITALS **

Pirates vitals 4-8

cubs vitals 4-8

** PITCHING MATCHUPS **

Game One: Charlie Morton  (0 – 0; 0.00)  vs. Edwin Jackson (0 – 0; 1.69)

Morton (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 4; 4.36 ERA, 10 appearance, 10 starts)
Jackson (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 3; 5.36 ERA, 8 appearances, 8 starts)

***

Game Two: Wandy Rodriguez  (0 – 1; 4.50)  vs. Jason Hammel  (1 – 0; 1.35)

Rodriguez (Career vs. Cubs) (9 – 8; 3.63 ERA, 25 appearances, 25 starts)
Hammel (Career vs. Pirates) (3 – 1; 3.62 ERA, 5 appearances, 4 starts)

***

Game Three: Gerrit Cole (1 – 0; 2.57)  vs. Travis Wood (0 – 1; 4.26)

Cole (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 0; 2.08 ERA, 2 appearances, 2 starts)
Wood (Career vs. Pirates) (4 – 5; 3.35 ERA, 10 appearances, 9 starts)

Geo header

Opening Series Preview! Cubs @ Pirates (3 Games)

Series Preview Opening Week 2014

 

2307– PNC PARK, Pittsburgh, PA –

Monday, March 31, 2014 – 12:05 PM CST
(TV: ESPN, WGN) (RADIO:  WGN 720)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – 6:05 PM CST
(TV: CSN+) (RADIO:  WGN 720)

Thursday, April 3, 2014 – 11:35 AM CST 
(TV:  MLBN, CSN)  (RADIO:  WGN 720)

*

– Series Vitals –

Cubs vitals 3-31

Pirates vitals 3-31

*

– Pitching Matchups –

Game One:  Jeff Samardzija (0 – 0; 0.00)  vs.  Francisco Liriano (0 – 0; 0.00)

Samardzija (Career vs. Pirates) (4 – 3; 2.11 ERA, 18 appearances, 7 starts)
Liriano (Career vs. Cubs) (3 – 2; 2.72 ERA, 6 appearances, 6 starts)

***

Game Two:  Edwin Jackson (0 – 0; 0.00)  vs.  Charlie Morton (0 – 0; 0.00)

Jackson (Career vs. Pirates) (6 – 2; 3.19 ERA, 10 appearances, 10 starts)
Morton (Career vs. Cubs) (2 – 4; 4.91 ERA, 9 appearances, 9 starts)

***
Game Three:  Jason Hammel (0 – 0; 0.00)  vs.  Wandy Rodriguez (0 – 0; 0.00)

Hammel (Career vs. Pirates) (2 – 1; 4.35 ERA, 4 appearances, 3 starts)
Rodriguez (Career vs. Cubs) (9 – 7; 3.60 ERA, 24 appearances, 24 starts)

*

– Weather –

3-31-14 weather

4-2 - 4-3 weather

 

Geo header

Series Preview – Cubs @ Pirates; May 21 – May 23, 2013

Pirates preview logo

It’s really quite disappointing that the Cubs come into the series on the heels of just losing one at home to the Mets.  That was the whole step back thing I was talking about before that series even started, and the Cubs went out and did just that as they fell back into bad habits, or trends, and lost the series.  The Cubs get a chance at redemption and to start another series winning streak starting tonight in Pittsburgh, and it’s a very important series.  Why, you ask.  I’ll tell you, my inquisitive friend, this marks the beginning of an eight game road trip, and I really think if they can get through this no worse than .500 they will be seeing .500 on the season sooner than later.  Pirates previewTonight also marks the return of Mr. Pie to the face, Matt Garza.  All kidding aside this is huge for the Cubs and Garza for so many reasons, one of those reasons is contract status, the other is trade value.  The Pirates come into this series with the pedal to the metal as they find themselves just two games out of first in the Central.  They also pose a challenge in their home ballpark where they are 15-9 on the season.  Both the Pirates and Cubs come into this series as equals as far as scoring runs is concerned, the Pirates have scored 176, the Cubs have scored 173.  Wait, so why do the Pirates have a better record, well, they have better pitching then the Cubs, specifically in the pen.  The Buccos boast the third best team ERA (3.33)in all of baseball, and their bullpen is a huge reason why as they have a bullpen ERA of 2.81, which is second best in the Majors.  The Cubs currently sit twenty-third in the Majors with a 4.11 bullpen ERA, and that boys and girls is why the Pirates are eight games over .500 and the Cubs are seven games under.

Last Series:

The Cubs lost two out of three to the Mets at Wrigley, and of course could have, and maybe should have won all three, which seems to happen a lot this year.

The Pirates won two out of three from the Astros in Pittsburgh over the weekend, and have won eight of their last ten games.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on WGN
  • Thursday, May 23, 2013 – 11:35 AM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Matt Garza (0-0, -.–)
– Career vs. Pirates (3 GS) (1-1, 3.79)

Game Two – Jeff Samardzija (2-5, 3.59)
– Career vs. Pirates (14 appearances, 3 GS) (4-0, 0.92)

Game Three – Edwin Jackson (1-6, 5.76)
– Career vs. Pirates (7 GS) (4-1, 3.09)

Pirates:

Game One – Wandy Rodriguez (4-2, 3.25)
– Career vs. Cubs (23 GS) (8-7, 3.56)

Game Two – Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.64)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 6.35)

Game Three – Jeanmar Gómez (2-0, 2.78)
– Career vs. Cubs (first appearance)

Bold Prediction:

This will be the first time all season that the Cubs will trot out their number one, two and three starters.  Okay, Jackson is not quite performing like a number three yet, and Wood and Feldman have been much better, but on paper going into this year it was Garza, Samardzija, Jackson.  Garza’s return to the rotation should only make the pitching staff, bullpen included, better.  With that said, I think the Cubs lose two out of three to the Pirates.  I think Garza will be way too amped up to make his first start so I forsee command issues and a loss tonight.  Now if Garza can harness that emotion the Cubs have a great shot to win the series, but given how hot theCastro pirates preview Pirates are, and Garza “easing” back into things I think the Buccos get the best of the him tonight, and then the Cubs splitting the next two.

Cub to Watch:

I expect a big series from Starlin Castro.  Castro has had his ups and downs this year, but not too high or too low.  He has hovered around .280 for the better part of a month, I think this series is the jumping off point to a really hot stretch.

George header

Series Preview – Mets @ Cubs; May 17 – May 19, 2013

Mets preview

The Cubs are coming into this series playing their best baseball of 2013, and maybe of the last three years.  They have won two series in a row, both against contending teams in the Nationals, on the road, and the Rockies.  The Mets on the other hand are floundering as they are 3-7 in their last ten games and have fallen to 15-23 on the season.  Despite boasting one, if not the best young arm in baseball in Matt Harvey, the Mets pitching is what is doing them in.  Wright previewThey come into this series with a team ERA of 4.50, which is twenty-sixth best in all of baseball.  The Cubs hold the advantage here as they come into this series with a 3.72 team ERA which is good for twelfth in the Majors.  If you break it down even further you can see that the Mets bullpen has been a real issue in the early going, they have a bullpen ERA of 4.85, which is twenty-eighth in baseball, that won’t help you win a lot of games.  Slowly but surely the Cubs have improved offensively, they still aren’t a juggernaut but they are now twenty-third in baseball with 160 runs scored on the season.  The Mets aren’t much better as they have scored 165 runs which is good for twentieth in baseball.  The key to this series for the Cubs will be to get to the Mets pen as early as possible, not always an easy task but it would go a long way towards winning the series if they could exploit that weakness as they hold the starting pitching edge and should be able to limit the Mets offense.  To recap, get an early lead, Cubs starters shut down the Mets lineup, and exploit the Mets pen, ta-da!

Last Series:

The Cubs took two out of three from the Rockies at Wrigley earlier this week.

The Mets lost three out of four to the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, May 17, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN
  • Saturday, May 18 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on WGN
  • Sunday, May 19, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Edwin Jackson (1-5, 6.02)
– Career vs. Mets (4 GS) (1-1, 4.50)

Game Two – Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.53)
– Career vs. Mets (1 GS) (0-1, 10.80)

Game Three – Travis Wood (4-2, 2.03)
– Career vs. Mets (3 GS) (2-0, 2.55)

Mets:

Game One – Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.44)
– Career vs. Cubs (first appearance)

Game Two – Jeremy Hefner (0-4, 4.61)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 appearance, 0 GS) (0-0, 0.00)

Game Three – Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.13)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (2-1, 4.26)

Bold Prediction:

As I mentioned, the Cubs are playing well and I think this series is extremely important as we move forward in 2013.  I know that sounds odd considering we have just reached the quarter pole of the season, but hear me out.  The Cubs have shown flashes of great baseball, followed by huge let downs, it seems they take one step forward and two steps back.  Castro preview 5-17The first goal is to get back to .500 and winning this series goes a long way towards that in my opinion, if they lose this series we will see more of the same as they team hovers around 5-10 games under .500, which isn’t terrible for this group I guess.  But winning this series could put them on a really nice run, I think the Cubs will win this series, take two out of three at least, a sweep isn’t out of the question, but that all depends on what happens today as the Mets have a clear advantage on the mound.  If the Cubs win today, they sweep, if not, they take two out of three.  GO CUBS!

George header

Series Preview – Rockies @ Cubs; May 13 – May 15, 2013

Rockies preview

  The Cubs are ready to go on a run, I really believe that considering it’s been about two years since they put together an honest to God winning streak.  I think they have the opportunity to build on their last two wins in Washington, the next test won’t be easy, but the chance is there for the Cubs to reel off some wins here.  The Rockies come to town for a three game series starting tonight, and it all starts with their offensive attack.  The Rockies have scored 177 runs, that’s good for seventh best in the Majors, yeah Helton previewI know, the Rockies always score runs as they play in a launching pad.  While that’s true the Rockies have been equally as good on the road this year as they have scored 86 runs on the road compared to 91 at home, that’s not a normal Rockies attack.  The Cubs starters will be tasked with shutting down that Rockies attack, and that plays a huge role in whether or not the Cubs will be successful in this series.  The Cubs starters have an ERA of 3.50 which is sixth best in the Majors, that is where the Cubs hold the advantage in this series as the Rockies have a team starters ERA of 4.20 which is nineteenth best in baseball.  Based on the numbers the Cubs have a really good chance to get late into the game with a lead, that is where the Cubs pen has to step up because if the Rockies have a lead late they usually don’t let it go.  The Cubs bullpen ERA is 4.13 which is twenty-fourth best in  baseball, the Rockies on the other hand have a bullpen ERA of 2.73, which is third in all of baseball.  The Cubs need to get out to a quick lead, and hope their starters get deep enough to eliminate as much of their own bullpen as possible, if they do that it could be a very successful series.

Last Series:

The Cubs took two out of three games from the Nationals in Washington over the weekend.

The Rockies lost two out of three to the Cardinals in St. Louis, and have lost four out their last five.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Monday, May 13, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WCIU
  • Tuesday, May 14, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Travis Wood (3-2, 2.33)
– Career vs. Rockies (3 appearances, 2 GS) (0-1, 2.77)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02)
– Career vs. Rockies (11 appearances, 0 GS) (0-1, 10.05)

Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-5, 3.70)
– Career vs. Rockies (5 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.25)

Rockies:

Game One – Juan Nicasio (3-0, 4.72)
– Career vs. Cubs (first appearance)

Game Two – Jeff Francis (1-3, 6.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (1-0, 7.67)

Game Three – Jon Garland (3-3, 4.83)
– Career vs. Cubs (12 appearances, 8 GS) (4-4, 3.61)

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs should carry the momentum they generated in Washington over the weekend into this series, at least I hope so.  I really think they will, and I like the match ups on the mound to favor the Cubs.  As long as the Cubs can play solid defense they have an outside shot to sweep this series, and I think that’s what they will do, sweep the Rockies.  As in Washington, the only game the Cubs dropped was the one where they shot themselves in the foot defensively, that’s the only way I see the Cubs losing a game in this series.

George header

Series Preview – Cubs @ Nationals; May 10 – May 12, 2013

Nats preview

The stretch of facing contenders continues for the Cubs this weekend in Washington as they take on the exciting Nationals.  The Cubs last trip to Washington didn’t go so well as they were swept in a four game series, well swept is to kind of a word, they were embarrassed in a four game series.  There was also a bench clearing incident between the two clubs which centered around Steve Clevenger and at the time third base coach of the Nats Bo Porter, Harper previewneither will be in Washington this weekend.  Here’s a fun fact that you probably were not aware of, the Cubs have actually scored more runs this year than the Nationals.  That’s right, the Cubs have scored 128 runs, and the Nats have scored 121, both teams are near the bottom of baseball in that category, however the Nats are above .500 and the Cubs, well, aren’t.  The Nationals get it done with pitching, but still are not that much better than the Cubs.  The Nats have a team ERA of 3.47 which is good for seventh in the Majors while the Cubs sit at thirteenth with a 3.77 ERA.  The difference is the Nationals bullpen more times than not gets the job done, they have a team ERA of 3.57 which is fifteenth best in baseball while the Cubs are twenty-fifth best with a 4.57 bullpen ERA.  Too many game this year have been lost by the Cubs pen, a failing bullpen will not be good enough against good teams, as evidenced by the Reds, and Cardinals series.  Should be a fun weekend, and hopefully we see a better showing than last year, nothing could be worse really.

Last Series:

The Cubs split a two game series with the Cardinals at Wrigley.

The Nats swept a two game series at home against Detroit, they have won four straight heading into tonights game.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, May 10, 2013 – 6:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Saturday, May 11, 2013 – 3:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Sunday May 12, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on WGN TV

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.09)
– Career vs. Nationals (9 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 1.48)

Game Two – Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39)
– Career vs. Nationals (2 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 1.13)

Game Three – Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70)
– Career vs. Nationals (First appearance)

Nationals:

Game One – Ross Detwiler (1-3, 2.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (2-1, 2.60)

Game Two – Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.45)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 1.29)

Game Three – Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.97)
– Career vs. Cubs (3 GS) (1-1, 5.74)

Bold Prediction:

The Nationals have gotten hot recently, winning four straight games heading into this series.  The Cubs will need to play error free baseball and get improved performances from their bullpen if they want to compete in this series.  I still think the Nationals will take two out of three this weekend.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Cardinals @ Cubs; May 7 – May 8, 2013

Cardinals preview header

Bring on the Cardinals.  The Red Birds and their fans descend on Wrigley Field tonight for a quick two game series against the Cubs.  The Cubs haven’t seen the Cardinals all year, but they know what to expect.  The Cardinals are scoring runs, as they usually do, they have scored 150 runs so far Cardinals previewthis year which is good for seventh in all of baseball.  The Cubs on the other hand have scored just 122 runs and sit twenty-second in the majors, but they are steadily improving.  The Cubs typically have the pitching advantage as they have started out so well this year, well that’s not the case in this series.  The Cardinals pitching is a big reason why they have the second most wins in the Majors (20-11), they have a team ERA of 3.09 which is tops in all of baseball. The Cubs are no slouch when it comes to team ERA as they sit at 3.82, good for eleventh in the Majors.  It should be a good series featuring some good pitching.  The team that makes the fewest mistakes will have the most success, that usually holds true throughout baseball, but it’s even more clear in this series.  Coming into this one the Cubs have committed a league worst twenty-seven errors, the Cardinals have only committed thirteen, fifth fewest in the Majors.  Pitch, hit, field…. win.

Central standings 5-7

Last Series:

The Cubs lost two out of three to the Reds at home, and beat the Rangers yesterday in a make up game.

The Cardinals swept the Brewers in Milwaukee, it was a three game sweep, and the Cardinals have won six straight.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Travis Wood (2-2, 2.50)
– Career vs. Cardinals (6 GS) (2-2, 5.36)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 2.85)
– Career vs. Cardinals (25 appearances, 7 GS) (5-3, 3.10)

Cardinals:

Game One – Lance Lynn (5-0, 2.75)
– Career vs. Cubs (5 appearances, 4 GS) (4-0, 2.73)

Game Two – Jake Westbrook (2-1, 1.07)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 GS) (5-2, 4.14)

Bold Prediction:

The Cardinals are playing their best baseball of the year, winning six straight heading into tonight.  The Cubs have shown flashes of brilliance yet still find ways to lose games because of themselves.  The result, I think the Cubs split with the Cardinals in this brief series.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Reds @ Cubs; May 3 – May 5, 2013

Reds preview

The Cubs come into this series playing well, okay, play well for most of the game I guess.  The Cubs could have very easily taken three out of four from the Padres, or two out of three from the Reds last month, but they just can’t get out of their own way.  Today the Cubs welcome those Reds to Wrigley Field for a three game weekend set, and hopefully some revenge as well.  The Reds took two out of three from the Cubs in Cincinnati the last time these two teams met.  chapman previewIt was a great series, and the Cubs pitchers shut down the Reds vaunted lineup, but couldn’t find a big hit the whole series, or a closer the whole series and ended up losing two out of three.  It will be another challenge this weekend for the Cubs pitchers as the Reds continue to hit and score runs, they have scored 128 runs, good enough for sixth in baseball compared to the 100 runs the Cubs have scored which is 26th in baseball.  The Reds team ERA is also impressive, currently they sit fourth in the Majors with a 3.32 ERA, the Cubs are not too far behind though, they have a team ERA of 3.72, that’s good for twelfth in the Majors.  This should be a good series, hopefully the results are better this time around.

Last Series:

The Cubs split a four game series with the Padres at Wrigley.

The Reds lost two out of three to the Cardinals in St. Louis

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, May 3, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Saturday, May 4, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Sunday, May 5, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Carlos Villanueva (1-1, 2.29)
– Career vs. Reds (21 appearances, 6 GS) (2-2, 3.72)

Game Two – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.35)
– Career vs. Reds (17 appearances, 3 GS) (1-2, 4.09)

Game Three – Edwin Jackson (0-4, 6.27)
– Career vs. Reds (3 GS) (1-0, 2.57)

Reds:

Game One – Mike Leake (1-1, 4.34)
– Career vs. Cubs (11 GS) (4-2, 3.46)

Game Two – Tony Cingrani (2-0, 1.50)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 2.57)

Game Three – Mat Latos (2-0, 1.83)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.58)

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs are playing better baseball, but it’s still not good enough to win games consistently at the Major League level.  I think too many mistakes pop up again this weekend and the Cubs lose two out of three to the Reds.  Prove me wrong….please?

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Padres @ Cubs; April 29 – May 2, 2013

Padres preview

The Cubs are playing better baseball of late, and they were finally rewarded with a few wins in Miami as they took three out of four.  The Cubs starting pitching really didn’t miss a beat this past weekend as they continued to turn in quality start after quality start.  The pitching has been better than anyone could have imagined up to this point in the season.  Currently the Cubs team Padres 4-29ERA is 3.42 that is ninth best in all of baseball.  Breaking that down even further, just looking at the starters the Cubs ERA is 3.14 which is good for fifth in the Majors, impressive.  The Cubs staff should have continues success this week against the Padres as they are twenty-sixth in all of baseball in runs scored, part of that has to do with where they play their home games, the other part has to do with their sub par lineup that has been slow to get going.  The Padres pitching hasn’t taken advantage of the comfortable surroundings of Petco Park however,  as they have a team ERA of 4.39 which is “good” enough for twenty-sixth in baseball.  All signs point to a successful series for the Cubs, but they still have to execute, if they do they should be able to win this series.

Last Series:

The Cubs won three out of four in Miami over the Marlins

The Padres swept a three game series from the Giants in San Diego

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Monday, April 29, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
  • Tuesday, April 30, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WCIU, MLBN
  • Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Thursday, May 2, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Jeff Samardzija (1-4, 3.03)
– Career vs. Padres (4 appearances, 2 GS) (2-1, 2.20)

Game Two – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.76)
– Career vs. Padres (8 appearances, 6 GS) (0-3, 4.32)

Game Three – Scott Feldman (1-3, 3.92)
– Career vs. Padres (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-1, 5.40)

Game Four – Travis Wood (2-1, 2.25)
– Career vs. Padres (5 appearances, 4 GS) (0-1, 4.21)

Padres:

Game One – Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.94)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 GS) (2-0, 0.57)

Game Two – Edinson Volquez (1-3, 6.39)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (4-0, 2.21)

Game Three – Andrew Cashner (1-1, 3.26)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances) (0-0, 9.00)

Game Three – Eric Stults (2-2, 5.67)
– Career vs. Cubs (4 GS) (1-3, 5.21)

Bold Prediction:

I like the direction of the Cubs right now, I know it’s hard to say that with a straight face, but this team could easily be contending in the Central without bullpen blow ups.  I think the good vibes continue in this series and the Cubs take three out of four again.  Committed is the Cubs slogan, maybe I should be with all my positive thoughts, go Cubs!

Thanks for reading,
– George

Series Preview – Cubs @ Marlins; April 25 – April 28, 2013

Marlins Preview Header

Well, based on the records, this could be an ugly series as the Cubs come in at 6-14 with the Marlins sporting a 5-16 record, that’s a lot of losses.  As one could imagine, it hasn’t gone well of late for either team as the Cubs are 2-8 ion their last ten games, of course at least half of those losses could be wins, and the Marlins are 3-7 in their last ten.  The Marlins struggles are similar to the that of the Cubs, they can’t score runs.  The Marlins have the worst team batting average in all of baseball (.221), the Cubs aren’t much better at .229 (26th in MLB).  The Marlins are also dead last in runs scored with 54, eleven fewer than the Cubs on the season.  The Cubs also hold the edge in the pitching department as they sport a 3.44 team ERA which is 9th best in all of baseball, think about that for a second, the Cubs have the 9th best ERA yet sit eight games under .500 this year.  The Marlins team ERA is a full run worse than that of the Cubs, they sit 26th in the Majors at 4.50.  All signs point to a successful weekend in Miami for the Cubs, but they still have to go out there and perform.

Cubs Standings 4-24

Marlins Standings 4-24

Last Series:

The Cubs left Cincinnati wanting more, they lost two of three and could have easily won two of three.

The Marlins split a rain shortened series in Minnesota.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Thursday, April 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WCIU
  • Friday, April 25, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Saturday, April 26, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on CSN+ (Channel Finder)
  • Sunday, April 27, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-3, 4.84)
– Career vs. Marlins (8 appearances, 7 GS) (1-6, 6.69)

Game Two – Scott Feldman (0-3, 4.50)
– Career vs. Marlins (First appearance)

Game Three – Travis Wood (1-1, 2.08)
– Career vs. Marlins (2 GS) (0-2, 16.88)

Game Four – Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.53)
– Career vs. Marlins (10 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 5.79)

Marlins:

Game One – Kevin Slowey (0-2, 1.90)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (1-0, 4.50)

Game Two – Wade LeBlanc (0-3, 6.27)
– Career vs. Cubs (2 appearances, 1 GS) (1-0, 2.08)

Game Three – Alex Sanabia (2-2, 5.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-1, 3.18)

Game Three – Ricky Nolasco (1-2, 3.81)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 7 GS) (4-2, 2.85)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

The Cubs have struggled all season long with runners in scoring position, even more troubling is their inability to get runners in from third base and less than two outs.  That is a situation where contact needs to be made and the run needs to score.  So far this season the Cubs have had twenty-three at bats with a runner at third with less than two outs, they only have two hits, that’s a .077 average.  They have only scored eleven times in those twenty-three chances, David DeJesus, Starlin Castrofor one, they need more chances, and two they need to capitalize starting yesterday.  Anthony Rizzo is having better at bats as of late unfortunately that is not yielding better results.  Over his last six games Rizzo is hitting .185 (5-for-27), he does have three home runs and five RBI’s during that stretch.  Darwin Barney has struggled mightily at the plate since returning from the DL, he is hitting .174 (4-for-23) in his last six games, but does have a game winning homer.  David DeJesus has been lighting it up of late, he is hitting .368 (7-for-19) over the last six games with a double, a triple, two home runs, three RBI’s, and four walks.  On the mound, Carlos Villanueva has been outstanding in his last two starts going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA only giving up seven hits in 15.1 innings.

The Marlins glaring issues are scoring runs, and then preventing them once the bullpen comes into the game, sounds familiar, eh?  I mentioned the Marlins offensive woes above, but their bullpen ERA is just as bad.  The Rob Brantly 4-24 previewMarlins sit 28th in the Majors in bullpen ERA with a 4.98 ERA, which is worse than the Cubs if you can believe that.  Get ready for a lot of names that you probably don’t know, starting now.  Not much has gone right at the plate for the Marlins, but Rob Brantly has been a bright spot lately.  Over the last five games Brantly is hitting .313 (5-for16) with three doubles, four RBI’s, and two walks.  Justin Ruggiano on the other hand has been awful in the last seven games hitting .207 (6-for-29), of those six hits two have left the park.  Ryan Webb has been one of the few bright spots out of the Marlins pen of late as he has tossed six innings over the last seven days giving up only one run.  Jon Rauch has been stupid bad in his last two appearances, giving up five runs on four hits in 1.2 innings.

Bold Prediction:

These close games are bound to start going in the favor of the Cubs, and I think that starts now.  The way the Cubs staff has been throwing the ball I like their chances against a weak Marlins line up.  I also think the Cubs will start getting some timely hits and take three out of four this weekend….please??

Thanks for reading,
– George

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