Archive for the ‘ Series Previews ’ Category

Series Preview – Giants @ Cubs; April 11 – April 14, 2013

Ah, Spring in Chicago, either it’s great or horrible, usually no in between.  Hopefully the weather cooperates today, and all weekend as the Cubs welcome the defending champion San Francisco Giants to town for a four game set.  Should be some great baseball on display this weekend, hopefully for both teams.  As usual the Giants boast of formidable pitching staff that will most definitely pose a challenge for the Cubs anemic offense.

Last Series:

The Cubs split the two game series with the Brewers as the final game was rained out.

The Giants swept the Rockies in a three game series at home.

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on CSN Chicago
  • Wednesday, April 13, 2013 – 12:05 PM CST on FOX
  • Sunday, April 14, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71)
– Career vs. Giants (4 appearances, 2 GS)  (0-3, 5.54)

Game Two – Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 1.35)
– Career vs. Giants (13 appearances, 1 GS) (2-1, 4.15)

Game Three – Jeff Samardzija (1-1, 2.63)
– Career vs. Giants (6 appearances, 1 GS) (0-0, 2.53)

Game Four – Edwin Jackson (0-2, 5.73)
– Career vs. Giants (5 appearances, 4 GS) (2-2, 4.73)

Giants:

Game One – Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44)
– Career vs. Cubs (15 appearances, 9 GS)  (4-5, 5.73)

Game Two – Matt Cain (0-1, 8.38)
– Career vs. Cubs (13 GS) (6-2, 2.45)

Game Three – Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1.32)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (3-2, 2.79)

Game Four – Tim Lincecum (1-0, 4.91)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (4-4, 3.43)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

Something happened in the Brewers series, the Cubs found some offense, not only offense, but clutch offense.  In both games the Cubs mounted comebacks, one successful, and one not so successful.  Regardless, it was good to see guys having good at bats and driving the ball when they needed to.  Welington Castillo has been a consistent threat at the plate since day one for the Cubs, he’s hitting .381 on the season with two doubles, a home run, and five RBI’s.  Nate Schierholtz is also swinging a hot bat as he is hitting .304 on the season, and sports an impressive .385 OBP.  Alfonso Soriano is scuffling, he’s back to missing his pitch and then getting himself out on the pitchers pitch.  He’s hitting .194 on the season and has no extra base hits, or RBI’s.  The Cubs pitching is starting to show some dents, but for the most part the starters have been great.  Hector Rondon has been very good out of the pen, while Shawn Camp has struggled of late.

It’s a former Cub that is leading the offensive attack for the Giants, Angel Pagan is hitting .361 in the early going.  Pablo Sandoval is also swinging a hot bat hitting .345 on the season with two home runs and six RBI’s, and has only struck out once in 29 at bats.  Brandon Belt is struggling at the plate as he is only hitting .148 with only two extra base hits and no RBI’s.  The Cubs won’t see Barry Zito in this series, usually that’s a bad thing, but not this year, Zito started on his comeback trail last year, and has continued it this year as he hasn’t given up a run so far this year in two starts over fourteen innings.  Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain have been knocked around a bit as Vogelsong has a 8.44 ERA, and Cain has a 8.38 ERA, when was the last time you saw that?

Bold Prediction:

The Cubs usually play up to their competition, at home at least, I think they play well enough to split this four game series.  If they get a surprisingly solid performance from Feldman and Villanueva they might take three of four.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

Series Preview – Brewers @ Cubs; April 8 – April 10, 2013

Finally some home baseball!  There really is nothing like the home opener at Wrigley, I love watching baseball there, on TV or in person.  The Cubs welcome the banged up Brewers to town for a three game set.  The Cubs need to find some hits and more importantly runs, both have been at a premium so far this season.  The Brewers are struggling as well, I mentioned they were banged up, they are also losing, five straight in fact.

Last Series:

Cubs suffered a three game sweep at the hands of the Braves in Atlanta

The Brewers were swept in a three game series by the D-Backs at home

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Monday, April 8, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN+ (click to find your channel)

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game One – Edwin Jackson (0-1, 3.60 ERA)
– Career vs. Milwaukee (7 GS)  (3-2, 3.06 ERA)

Game Two – Travis Wood (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
– Career vs. Milwaukee (7 appearances, 6 GS) (3-2, 3.40 ERA)

Game Three – Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
– Career vs. Milwaukee (1 GS) (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Brewers:

Game One – Marco Estrada (0-0, 7.20)
– Career vs. Cubs (8 appearances, 3 GS)  (2-0, 3.86 ERA)

Game Two – Wily Peralta (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three – Kyle Lohse (0-0, 1.50 ERA)
– Career vs. Cubs (16 GS) (4-4, 5.17 ERA)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

The Cubs are coming off a tough series in Atlanta where they should have had at least one win, maybe two.  Unfortunately the bats remained cold as they rank 29th in the Majors in average, on base percentage, runs, and slugging percentage.  The Cubs best hitter right now is Welington Castillo, “beef” is hitting .357 (5-for-14) on the season.  There are a number of Cubs hitters struggling as I mentioned, Valbuena, DeJesus, and Soriano would have to be at the top of that list.  The pitching on the other hand has been outstanding, sans Carlos Marmol of course.  The Cubs have a team ERA of 3.75 which is 14th best in the Majors, and that includes the last two games where they gave up a total of eleven run.

To say the Brewers are banged up might be an understatement.  Ryan Braun has missed the last three games, and might miss the series opener today, Jean Segura is hobbled, and Aramis Ramirez is out of the lineup indefinitely, and Corey Hart hasn’t played a game yet.  The Brewers have been scoring runs, and hitting as of late, but three of the guys that I mentioned as being hurt are their top hitters so far.  Rickie Weeks is having a bounce back year so far as he is hitting .333 on the season so far.  Norichika Aoki has been on fire as well as he is hitting .370 (10-for-27) in the early going.  Pitching is an issue for the Brewers as they have a team ERA of 5.68 “good” for 28th in the Majors.

Bold Prediction:

I think the Cubs get the bats going this week at Wrigley, finally feeling comfortable being at home.  The Cubs take two out of three from the Brewers this week, winning the first and third game of the series.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

Series Preview: Cubs @ Braves; April 5 – April 7, 2013

Consider this a stiff test for the Cubs, nothing against the Pirates, but the Braves are a different animal.  The weather should be much nicer than it was in Pittsburgh so hopefully that means that Cubs bats will heat up with the temperatures as they have been cold as ice so far.  That said, the Cubs enter the series with a 2-1 record, the same as the Braves, below you will find all the important information pertaining to the upcoming series, everything you need to know in one convenient place.

Last Series:

Cubs won two out of three against the Pirates in Pittsburgh

Braves won two out of three against the Phillies at home

Game Times and Broadcast Information:

  • Friday, April 5, 2013 – 6:30 PM CST on CSN+ (click to find your channel), MLBN
  • Saturday, April 6, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN TV
  • Sunday, April 7, 2013 – 12:35 PM CST on CSN Chicago

Starting Pitchers Scheduled:

Cubs:

Game OneScott Feldman (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (1 GS)  (0-0, 2.57 ERA)

Game TwoCarlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (10 appearances, 1 GS) (1-2, 7.20 ERA)

Game ThreeJeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Atlanta (8 appearances, 2 GS) (2-0, 2.66 ER)

Braves:

Game One – Mike Minor (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Cubs (4 GS)  (4-0, 4.30 ERA)

Game Two – Julio Teheran (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)

Game Three Tim Hudson (0-0, 6.23)
– Career vs. Cubs (6 GS) (2-1, 3.44 ER)

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:

For the Cubs, the entire offense is frigid, only scoring six runs over the first three games of the season.  They aren’t getting hits either as they have the worst team batting average in all of baseball at .121, they don’t ask how, just how many when it comes to wins….or something like that.  Closest thing resembling a hot hitter would be Nate Schierholtz, Nate had a huge two-run homer yesterday, and is hitting .333 on the season.  The Cubs pitching has been fantastic, well Cubs pitching not including anyone named Carlos Marmol.  The Cubs are 8th in the Majors with a 2.08 team ERA, a big reason why they are 2-1.

The Braves have as many home runs as the Cubs do runs (six).  Freddie Freeman is on a mission in the early going, hitting .500 (5-for-10) with one double, one home run, and six RBI’s.  One of the Braves newcomers isn’t finding things so easy, B.J. Upton has been slow out of the gate going 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts.  The Braves are hovering around the middle of the pack when it comes to team ERA with a respectable 3.00, surprisingly Tim Hudson isn’t helping as his only start was a rough one where he gave up three runs in 4.1 innings of work.

Bold Prediction:

Look for the Cubs bats to get healthier in this series despite having to face two young stars in Minor and Teheran, and one solid veteran in Hudson.  Unfortunately the Braves will continue their hot hitting and take two out of three from the Cubs this weekend.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

September 28 – 30; @ Diamondbacks – Series Preview

After getting swept by the Rockies, the Cubs will now travel to Arizona to finish up the road part of their schedule.  The Cubs went into the Colorado series looking to put themselves in a good position to lose less than 100 games, unfortunately after the sweep it is starting to look very bleak.  The Cubs will attempt to not only win their first road series against a western division team, but unbelievably their first road win against the division.  They are currently 0-16 and according to Stats Inc no team has ever gone winless against one division on the road in a single season.  It will be tough for the Cubs as we have seen there is basically no pitching left and the offense has been rather quiet, even after going to Colorado.  Hope we see the Cubs play hard these last six games and maybe, just maybe win the last two series of the season.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Record:  78-78 (Home 38-37); 3rd in West
Runs Scored:  705 (5th NL)
Team ERA:  3.98 (10th NL)
Last 10:  6-4
Last Series:  Lost two of three to the Giants

Chicago Cubs
Record:  59-97 (Road 22-56); 5th in Central
Runs Scored:  596 (14th NL)
Team ERA:  4.92 (14th NL)
Last 10:  1-9
Last Series:  Swept by the Rockies

Broadcast Information
Friday, September 28 – 8:40 PM CST – CSN
Saturday, September 29 – 7:10 PM CST – WGN
Sunday, September 30 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN

Pitching Matchups for the weekend.

Friday, September 28
Cubs:  Travis Wood (6-12, 4.23 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Ian Kennedy (14-11, 4.14 ERA)

Saturday, September 29
Cubs:  Justin Germano (2-9, 5.65 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Trevor Cahill (12-12, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday, September 30
Cubs:  Chris Rusin (1-3, 7.30 ERA)
Diamondbacks:  Josh Collmenter (5-3, 3.80 ERA)

Prediction:  Cubs lose series 2-1

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

September 25 – 27, 2012; @ Rockies – Series Preview

It’s a battle for second worst!  Okay, that doesn’t sound so great but this series will go a long way in determining who gets the number two pick in the draft next year behind the Astros.  Coming into this series the teams are deadlocked at 59-94, and the winner of this series has a great shot at losing out on the second pick.  I for one would prefer to play as hard as you can and if you lose, you lose, no tanking it here.  The Cubs, to their credit, have done just that as many players and front office staff have made it quite clear that they do not want to lose 100 games.  It’s nice to have goals, but as a team you really never want to say that your goal is to stay under 100 losses, but it is what it is right now.  The Cubs tend to struggle in Colorado regardless of the record of the Rockies, and this series might be more of the same as the Cubs don’t exactly have a lights out staff, but you never know.  Of course the Rockies can score runs in this park, the Cubs will have to keep up if they want to win this series, I’m expecting a lot of offense over these three games.

Here are the pitching matchups for this week.

Tuesday September 25, 2012
Cubs:  Chris Rusin (1-2, 6.00 ERA)
Colorado:  Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 12.27 ERA)

Wednesday September 26, 2012
Cubs:  Jason Berken (0-1, 1.80 ERA)
Colorado:  Drew Pomeranz (1-9, 5.30 ERA)

Thursday September 27, 2012
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.22 ERA)
Colorado: Jhoulys Chacin (2-5, 4.73 ERA)

Season Series:  Cubs lead 2-1

Prediction:  Rockies win series, 2-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

September 21 – 23, 2012; vs. Cardinals – Series Preview

Another series, and another contender heads into Wrigley Field as the Cubs look to finish their 2012 season strong and play spoiler.  The Cardinals are hitting their stride once again as they have won four straight and currently hold a 2.5 game lead over Milwaukee for the final wild card spot in the National League.  It also sounds like they will be getting a boost to their rotation as Chris Carpenter is slated to make his 2012 debut against the Cubs in game one of the series.  Up until the last series against the Reds the Cubs were playing pretty solid baseball, but the bats have gone cold, and the pitching has followed.  It should be a good atmosphere at Wrigley all weekend as these games are usually close regardless of the record, and these games mean everything to the Cardinals.  I’m expecting an awful lot of Cardinals fans at Wrigley, hopefully the Cubs can keep Wrigley quiet, wait, that doesn’t sound right at all.

 

Here are the pitching matchups for the series.

Friday September 21, 2012
St. Louis: Chris Carpenter (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 6.26)

Saturday September 22, 2012
St. Louis:  Adam Wainwright (13-13, 3.97 ERA)
Cubs:  Travis Wood (6-12, 4.25 ERA)

Sunday September 23, 2012
St. Louis:  Kyle Lohse (15-3, 2.71 ERA)
Cubs:  Justin Germano (2-8, 6.17 ERA)

Season Series:  Cardinals lead series 8-6

Prediction:  Cubs win series 2-1

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George

September 18 – 20, 2012 vs. Reds – Series Preview

 

The Reds come to Chicago for a three game series starting Tuesday, September 18.  The Reds have all but locked up the division, but are just 5-5 in their last ten, including losing series’ to both the Marlins and the Astros.  The Reds have gotten Joey Votto back since we last saw them, but Aroldis Chapman has been shut down for a little bit and the Cubs will not face him this weekend.  The Cubs on the other hand have been playing good baseball as of late going 7-3 in their last ten and splitting their most recent series against the Pirates.  The Cubs can’t really play spoiler against the Reds, but they can postpone the Reds clinching the division for a few days and hopefully against somebody else.  Alfonso Soriano went over the 100 RBI plateau last week and he will look to hit his 30th home run this series against the Reds.

Record:  88-59 (road, 41-31) 1st in Central
Runs Scored:  627 – 8th in NL
Team ERA:  3.44 – 2nd in NL
Last 10:  5-5
Last Series:  Lost two of three to the Marlins

Record:  58-89 (home, 36-36) 5th in Central
Runs Scored:  565 – 15 in NL
Team ERA:  4.46 – 14th in NL
Last 10:  7-3
Last Series:  Split with the Pirates

Here are the pitching matchups for the series.

Tuesday September 18, 2012
Cincinnati: Homer Bailey (11-9, 3.93 ERA)
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-7, 5.60)

Wednesday September 19, 2012
Cincinnati:  Mike Leake (8-9, 4.69 ERA)
Cubs:  Chris Rusin (1-2, 5.06 ERA)

Thursday September 20, 2012
Cincinnati:  Johnny Cueto (16-9, 2.92 ERA)
Cubs:  Jason Berken ( 0-1, 7.20 ERA)

Season Series:  Reds lead series 9-4

Prediction:  Cubs lose series 2-1

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

September 14 – 17, 2012; vs. Pirates – Series Preview

The Pirates comes to town looking very much like the 2011 version of the club that collapsed down the stretch and finished with a below five hundred record yet again, and nothing like the surging contender earlier in the year.   The Pirates sit just two games over five hundred now and are losers of six straight games, three of those against the Cubs in Pittsburgh last week.  The Cubs on the other hand are playing solid baseball, winning five out of their last six games, all on the road which is really saying something given how bad they have been away from Wrigley this year.  Solid starting pitching and the long ball have paced the Cubs in September as they have ten home runs, 5th most in the National League this month.  No one has contributed more to that total than Alfonso Soriano as he has five home runs in just 12 games this month.  After being pulled in the third inning two nights ago, and missing yesterday’s game it sounds like Anthony Rizzo will be back in the Cubs lineup tomorrow, that collision could have been much worse.

Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.

Friday September  14, 2012
Pittsburgh: James McDonald (12-7, 3.93 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Rusin (0-2, 5.73 ERA)

Saturday September 15, 2012
Pittsburgh: Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.11 ERA)
Cubs: Jason Berken (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Sunday September 16, 2012
Pittsburgh: Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.72 ERA)
Cubs: Chris Volstad (3-10, 5.99 ERA)

Monday September 17, 2012
Pittsburgh: Kevin Correia (10-9, 4.29 ERA)
Cubs: Travis Wood (6-11, 4.23 ERA)

Season Series:  Series Tied 6-6

Prediction:  Cubs win series 3-1

Thanks for reading,
– George

September 10 – 12, 2012; @ Astros – Series Preview

The Cubs are heading into this series on a high note coming off a three game sweep in Pittsburgh, a sweep that put a major dent in the Pirates playoff hopes.  It will be quite the different atmosphere in Houston as this three game set will be a battle for the first pick in the draft.  Huge crowds usually don’t turn out for these types of series, couple that with the NFL season getting underway and it could be a very empty ballpark.  The Cubs shouldn’t worry about that, they should worry about going out there and getting better with each game, and trying to win a job for next year.  Two guys that have jobs locked up for next year, Starlin Castro, and Anthony Rizzo, are leading the Cubs charge as both are red-hot at the plate.  Castro is hitting .333 in September, and Rizzo is hitting a whopping .382 during the month, unfortunately that hasn’t translated to many win as the Cubs are a less than stellar 3-6.  If the Cubs want to extend their winning streak this week they are going to need the starting staff to step up as it will now be without Samardzija for the rest of 2012.

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Here are the pitching matchups for the four game series.

Monday September  10, 2012
Cubs: Chris Volstad (2-10, 6.23 ERA)
Houston: Dallas Keuchel (1-7, 5.54 ERA)

Tuesday September 11, 2012
Cubs: Justin Germano (2-6, 6.95 ERA)
Houston: Jordan Lyles (3-11, 5.55 ERA)

Wednesday September 12, 2012
Cubs: Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42 ERA)
Houston: Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30 ERA)

Season Series:  Chicago leads 5-4

Prediction:  Cubs win series 2-1

Thanks for reading,
– George

September 7 – 9, 2012; @ Pirates – Series Preview

Let’s hope the Cubs have some fire left over from yesterday as they could use some of that on the field this weekend against the Pirates.  The season is becoming historically bad, and facing another contender on the road is not going to make it any better.  The Cubs come into this series losers of six straight with only two wins in their last ten games.  Anthony Rizzo is one guy that has been earning his paycheck of late as he is hitting .423, with a double, three home runs and three RBI’s in his last seven games.  The pitching staff on the other hand should give their money back to the organization.  The Cubs staff has a record of 0-6 with a 7.20 ERA, such is life in September with a bunch of guys basically trying out for next season.  The Pirates have been mediocre as of late as they try to summon the energy for one final push for the postseason, they trail both Atlanta and St. Louis in the race for the Wild Card by 1.5 games.

Friday September 7, 2012
Cubs:Travis Wood (4-11, 4.64 ERA)
Pittsburgh: A.J. Burnett (15-5, 3.63 ERA)

Saturday September 8, 2012
Cubs: Jeff Samardzija (8-13, 3.91 ERA)
Pittsburgh: James McDonald (12-7, 3.90 ERA)

Sunday September 9, 2012
Cubs: Chris Rusin (0-2, 9.00 ERA)
Pittsburgh: Jeff Locke (0-1, 4.82 ERA)

Season Series:  Pirates lead 6-3

Prediction:  Cubs Win Series 2-1, how do you like those apples?

Thanks for reading,
– George

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