The Cubs are slowly becoming fun to watch thanks to the promotion of Anthony Rizzo. Finally something to watch and look forward to in an otherwise lost season for the Cubs. The Astros have the fewest road wins in all of major league baseball(9) so that bodes well for the Cubs this weekend. Nothing really jumps off the page that impresses you about the Astros, but they have been able to score some runs as they sit 9th in the NL. Where they struggle is on the mound as their team ERA is good for 14th in the NL, just ahead of the Cubs. The Cubs are going to have to take advantage of the poor Astros staff because you know the Astros hitters are going to score some runs as its projected to be in the mid 90’s all weekend, which usually means the ball with be flying all over the park. The Cubs should have some extra incentive to stick it to the Astros as they swept the Cubs earlier this season in Houston. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
It seems like the most interesting news surrounding the Cubs is what is happening off the field than on, that’s probably true. This is what most Cubs fans have waited for all year, the arrival of Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo will not be a savior, and he might struggle, but if most Cubs fans are like me, just seeing Rizzo play is a welcome departure from watching a lifeless team go through the motions game after game. Nothing is official yet, but it sounds like Anthony Rizzo could be in the Cubs lineup as early as Tuesday night. The team he and the Cubs will be facing is one of the early season surprises, the New York Mets. The Mets are currently five games over .500 and are in second place in the East, just 3.5 games behind the Nationals. The Cubs will get a look at a big reason Monday night as they face a rejuvenated Johan Santana, but they will avoid knuckleball sensation R.A. Dickey. The Cubs, per usual, are struggling, they can’t score runs, a big reason is a dreadful stretch with guys in scoring position (3-25 over the weekend in Arizona). Maybe a Rizzo promotion will help in that department, stay tuned. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
It’s still odd to me that the Cubs and White Sox face off on a Monday, usually it’s a series reserved for a weekend in June, but not this year. The Cubs are looking avenge a sweep by the White Sox earlier this year at Wrigley which marked the beginning of the end of the 2012 season for the Cubs. The Cubs have been playing decent baseball of that but it’s not resulting in wins, and ultimately that’s what matters the most. Just ask the White Sox, who are getting their fair share of wins lately as they sit atop the AL Central. No one expected the White Sox to be where they are right now, but thanks to the Tigers struggling out of the gate that’s where they sit. The Sox sit near the middle of the pack in runs scored and ERA in the American League, they are 6th in runs scored, and 8th in ERA. The Cubs have not had any success at US Cellular Field, losing nine of their last twelve games there. Full preview and breakdown after the jump.
Both teams come into this series not living up to 2012 expectations, the Red Sox more than the Cubs. In an odd year in the East, meaning the Yankees and Red Sox are not one, two in the standings in June, the Red Sox sit fourth in the all of a sudden competitive division. The Sox have struggled in Bobby Valentine’s first season at the helm, and it starts and ends on the mound, of course the laundry list of injuries doesn’t help either. The Red Sox are scoring runs with the best of them as they sit 2nd in the AL in runs scored, but they can’t stop teams from scoring as their ERA is “good” for 12th in the AL. The Cubs are coming off a series loss to the Tigers, but they played pretty well in doing so. The Cubs are going to have to continue to be patient at the plate and knock around the Red Sox pitching, because the Sox are going to hit, the Cubs have to keep up. It’s going to be scorching all weekend, 90 degrees everyday, the ball will be jumping at Wrigley. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Coming into the season the Detroit Tigers were one of the favorites to not only come out of the Central but maybe represent the AL in the World Series, that was on paper of course. Things haven’t gone as planned so far for the Tigers as they currently sit in 3rd place in the Central five full games behind the White Sox. Given the expectations, this year has been a disaster for the Tigers, and a big reason has been the pitching staff as they sit near the bottom of the American League in ERA. Enough about the Tigers problems as the Cubs have plenty of their own. The Cubs are coming off a road trip that was ugly, and they currently sit 20 games under .500 as their “record-breaking” season continues. There should at least be a buzz at Wrigley, not only because the Tigers are in town for the first time since 2006, but the this will be the first game after the Cubs signed Jorge Soler. Obviously Soler is nowhere near ready for the Major League level, but it is something Cubs fans should be excited about. Full preview and breakdown after the jump.
Two bad teams go head to head in Minnesota this weekend, and it could be a battle for who receives the first pick overall in next years player draft. Obviously not something you want to “play for” but it is what it is right now, both teams are threatening for that spot. The Twins however have been playing solid baseball of late as they have won seven out of their last ten. Odds are these games will be close, and that usually spells disaster for the Cubs as they have lost 11 straight one run games. The Cubs only have seven wins all season on the road, this might be their best chance to win a series on the road for the first time all year. At least we will get to see Target Field, seems like a nice place. Go Cubs! Full preview and breakdown after the jump.
After a promising series against the Padres at home the Cubs came crashing back down to Earth in San Francisco as they lost four straight against the Giants. The only positive thing I can say about it is that the Cubs are in every game, I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of hearing that too. Eventually a team has to learn how to win, and it might not even be that, it might be that the Cubs just don’t have the types of players needed to win close games, it’s probably a little bit of both.
With Dale Sveum’s threat to bench Castro hanging over the team they begin a three game set in Milwaukee tonight. The Cubs have lost 11 straight on the road and show no sign of ending that streak anytime soon. The Brewers are coming off a series loss to the Pirates but have been playing better ball of late as illustrated by their four game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles. For the Cubs to be successful someone is going to have to come through late in a close game, or shut the door in a close game, because it will be a close game, almost all of them are. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Normally I would preview this series as the Cubs taking on a lesser opponent in the Pirates, only because that’s how it’s been forever, unfortunately the shoe is on the other foot right now. The Cubs are the worst team in baseball, and that’s just by looking at their record, sure the Pirates haven’t been good either, but the Cubs are a low scoring soccer team right now, that’s not a compliment, and I hate soccer so that’s hard for me to say. The Cubs offense wasn’t very good in the early part of the season, but it has reached a new level of bad during this nine game losing streak. If the Cubs are going to get out of this slide they need to explode, I’m talking 6-9 runs in one game… I know, crazy. Maybe if they do that the pressure will be off and they can all relax, until then they will continue to squeeze the saw dust out of the bat and lose. It won’t be easy because one, it never is with this team, and two, the Pirates boast the 3rd best team ERA in the National League. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Usually whenever the Astros show up on the schedule (surprised they haven’t yet) you could expect to take two out of three, maybe even sweep, that’s probably not the case right now. For one, the Cubs are struggling, starting pitching, bullpen, offensively, you name it the Cubs are bad at it right now. Conversely the Astros are playing well at home as evident by their 13-10 record so far this season. If the Cubs are going to get things turned around here they are going to have to do it on the road as they are going to spend a lot of time away from the Friendly Confines. That has not been a good thing for the Cubs as they are 6-11 on the road so far this year. So it’s imperative that they get off to a good start on this trip and this upcoming stretch of games tonight. In order to do so the Cubs bats are going to have to get going, and looking at the Astros pitching that might be harder than expected. Regardless of how well the starters and bullpen pitch, or how poorly they pitch, if the Cubs can’t score they aren’t going to come out with a favorable result. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Aside from playoff baseball this is the most intense series of the year at Wrigley, I’m not saying that Wrigley will see playoff baseball this year, but you know what I mean. That’s right, here come the hated Chicago White Sox. Heading into this series I would think that both the Sox and Cubs are playing better baseball up to this point of the season than many thought they would at the beginning of the year. Now, that does not mean that either team is good, it just means that this should be a highly competitive series, and it usually is every year. For the Cubs to be successful they are going to have to contain Adam Dunn. Okay, when you stop laughing, continue reading. Dunn has had a resurgent season to say the least, and is now a big weapon in the middle of the Sox lineup. Konerko is always there, but if you can get around Dunn then you can manage the game so Konerko doesn’t beat you. If the Cubs can work through that part of the order, and THROW STRIKES out of the pen they should be in good shape, but that’s a big if given the bullpen’s recent “success” go Cubs! Behave yourself this weekend Cubs fans…. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.