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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.
Season Series: Chicago leads 5-4
Prediction: Cubs win series 2-1
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No rest for the weary as the Cubs stumble into San Diego for a three game series starting tonight on the heels of being swept by the Dodgers. The Cubs have lost five straight games as they are now fully immersed in the rebuilding process. Despite the losses the Cubs are becoming a lot more fun to watch as the lineup moving forward will feature Josh Vitters, Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo, Welington Castillo, and Starlin Castro, all of these guys figure to be around when the Cubs are ready to contend on a yearly basis. That’s a little ways down the road right now, the task at hand will be trying to solve the Padres who red-hot at Petco Park, winning seven of their last nine games in their spacious home field. The Padres are winning most games with pitching, as expected in that pitchers paradise, but they do have some hot bats as well. Yonder Alonso is hitting near .400 in his last seven games, if the Cubs want to be in this series they are going to have to contain Alonso and find a way to generate runs. The latter might be a little easier as the Cubs reworked lineup yielded some solid results on Sunday in LA, hopefully they can build on that and not only win a series but put an end to their five game losing streak before it gets really out of hand, again.
August 6, 2012 – August 8, 2012; Petco Park, San Diego, CA
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Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series, at the time of this preview the Cubs have yet to name a Tuesday Night starter as Matt Garza will not make the start as he has been placed on the DL.
Monday August 6, 2012
Chicago: Travis Wood (4-7, 4.90 ERA)
San Diego: Eric Stults (1-2, 3.19 ERA)
I really like this matchup for Travis Wood, a big ballpark should suit him well. The key for Travis Wood will be to throw strikes, no brainer right? The reason I mention it is that he can use the ballpark to his advantage by letting the Padres elevate without the concern of the ball leaving the yard. If Wood can stay ahead of hitters he should be able to make his pitches to get outs. Eric Stults profiles as a guy the Cubs struggle with, however the Cubs have destroyed Stults in his career. Stults is 0-3 vs the Cubs in three career starts with a 7.24 ERA, that bodes well.
Tuesday August 7, 2012
Chicago: Some Guy (?-?, ?.?? ERA)
San Diego: Ross Ohlendorf (3-2, 6.27 ERA)
I really don’t like the chances of Some Guy vs the Padres on Tuesday night. All kidding aside usually when a team is forced to use a starter that might not be ready for the Majors it doesn’t work out well. That could be the case on Tuesday as the Cubs still have not announced a starter, mainly because the candidates for that start all pitched this past weekend in Iowa. The bright side here is that the Cubs face Ohlendorf who has been awful this year, so I’m saying there’s a chance.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Chicago: Jeff Samardzija (7-9, 4.37 ERA)
San Diego: Clayton Richard (8-11, 4.01 ERA)
Game three sets up to be the best of the bunch as Samardzija battles Richard. Samardzija faced San Diego earlier this year and went seven strong innings in picking up a win at Wrigley Field. I expect much of the same from Shark on Wednesday as he looks to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season last time out. The Cubs haven’t seen much of Richard as they have only faced him one time in the last three years, and Richard got the best of the Cubs that day. I expect this one to be the lowest scoring game of the series.
Season Series: Cubs lead 3-0
Prediction: Cubs win series, 2-1
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!