The Cubs head to Cincinnati to continue their seven game road trip, and they have a sour taste in their mouth. Although a four game series split in Pittsburgh is all you can ask for, the Cubs feel that they should have won the series. While they should have closed that one out yesterday, they probably should have lost game two, so I’ll call it even. The Cubs bullpen is reeling however, and they will need some deep starts from their best pitchers in this series. The Reds come into this series feeling pretty good about themselves as they took three out of four against a crapshow of a Milwaukee team, and sit just a half game behind the Cubs for second place in the Central.
- Friday, April 24, 2015 – 6:10 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Saturday, April 25, 2015 – 12:10 PM CST – ABC 7 Chicago
- Sunday, April 26, 2015 – 12:10 PM CST – WGN TV
- Game One: Jon Lester (0-2, 6.89) vs. Mike Leake (0-1, 3.92)
- Game Two: Jake Arrieta (2-1, 1.74) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (2-0, 0.86)
- Game Three: Travis Wood (1-1, 3.24) vs. Jason Marquis (1-1, 7.20)
Who is Hot:
- Reds: Zack Cozart is out of his mind right now, he’s putting up almost impossible numbers over his last seven games. Cozart is hitting .393 (11-for-25) with a double, FOUR dingers, and seven RBI’s, wut?
- Cubs: After a bumpy start, Starlin Castro has been scorching hot. In his last seven games Castro is hitting .387 (12-for-31) with one homer, and seven RBI’s, looks like a middle of the order guy.
Who is Not:
- Reds: It appears that Marlon Byrd is regressing to meet the levels of his Cubs career. Over his last six games he is hitting .095 (2-for-21) with one home run, and eight strikeouts.
- Cubs: The magic that Chris Coghlan had at the beginning of the season seems to be fleeting. In his last seven games he is hitting .150 (3-for-20) with one RBI, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
After having eight of their first eleven games at home the time has come for the Cubs to hit the road, and face some stiff NL Central competition. Tonight’s game in Pittsburgh starts a seven game road trip that will see the Cubs battle the Pirates for four, then head to Cincinnati for three. The Pirates are playing solid baseball right now as they have won three straight games, and sit a half game behind the Cubs for second place in the Central. The Cubs are coming off a tough series loss to the Padres, their first of the season. All three games could have went the Cubs way, but a burnt out bullpen, short starts, and lack of clutch hitting came back to bite them.
- Monday, April 20, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago Plus (Channel Finder)
- Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – WGN 9 Chicago
- Wednesday, April 22, 2015 – 6:05 PM CST – CSN
- Thursday, April 23, 2015 – 11:35 AM CST – CSN, MLB Network
- Game One: Jake Arrieta (1-1, 1.98) vs. A.J. Burnett (0-1, 2.25)
- Game Two: Travis Wood (1-1, 2.31) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-1, 2.08)
- Game Three: Jason Hammel (1-0, 5.11) vs. Vance Worley (1-1, 5.84)
- Game Four: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.10) vs. Jeff Locke (2-0, 1.93)
Who is Hot:
- Pirates: After a slow start, and a big new contract, Josh Harrison is starting to heat up at the plate. He is hitting .292 (7-for-24) over his last seven with a double, homer, and two RBI’s.
- Cubs: Anthony Rizzo was getting on base earlier in the year but wasn’t seeing too many hits dropping, that is changing. Rizzo is hitting .318 (7-for-22) over his last six games with a home run, three RBI’s, a double, and SIX walks.
Who is Not:
- Pirates: After a productive 2014, Jordy Mercer has come out of the gate struggling. Mercer is hitting just .118 (2-for-17) over his last seven games with only one walk, two strikeouts, and no runs scored.
- Cubs: Second base is an issue for the Cubs right now, as both Jonathan Herrera, and Arismendy Alcantara are scuffling. Herrera is hitting just .158 (3-for-19) over his last six games, while Alcantara comes in at a .143 (2-for-14) clip, with six strikeouts.
The Padres come to town for a three game set this weekend, and look who will great them…. KRIS BRYANT!! That’s right, it’s Bryant time on the Northside as the phenom will make hi major league debut today. Both teams come into this series playing solid baseball as the Padres sit at 6-4 on the season and just took two out of three from the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have played one of the toughest schedules in baseball, and have yet to lose a series, the Padres are another great test.
- Friday, April 17, 2015 – 1:20 PM – ABC 7 Chicago
- Saturday, April 18, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Sunday, April 19, 2015 – 1:20 PM CST – WGN 9 Chicago
- Game One: Jason Hammel (1-0, 4.50) vs. James Shields (1-0, 2.08)
- Game Two: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 10.38) vs. Tyson Ross (1-0, 3.75)
- Game Three: Jon Lester (0-1, 7.84) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-2, 4.09)
Who is Hot:
- Padres: Newcomer Justin Upton is paying dividends right away for the Padres. Over the last seven games Upton has been unreal, he’s hitting .450 (9-for-20) with a double, two dingers, and four RBI’s.
- Cubs: The Cubs are starting to swing the bats much better, and it’s Jorge Soler leading the charge. Soler has been pounding the ball as of late, he’s hitting .360 (8-for-22) over his last seven games, during that span he has two dingers, and seven RBI’s with an OPS of 1.081, loud noises!
Who is Not:
- Padres: Jedd Gyorko is still terrible, sorry. Gyorko has been really bad again this year, and he’s only hitting .091 (1-for-11) over his last seven games with zero walks, and four strikeouts.
- Cubs: Miguel Montero is still looking for some solid footing on his new club as he has struggled out of the gate. Montero is hitting .143 (2-for-14) over his last seven games with just two RBI’s.
The Cubs are flying high after a dramatic win yesterday in Colorado thanks to Dexter Fowler‘s two-out, two-strike bomb. Waiting for the Cubs at Wrigley Field is a Reds team that was feeling the same way heading into this past weekend, not so much now. The Reds beat the Cardinals on Friday to push their record to 4-0 on the season but lost the last two games of said series. It’s still been a solid start for the Reds as they have thrown the ball well, and been able to get big hits when needed. The Cubs have a great opportunity to get a bit of a winning streak going as they will turn to Lester and Arrieta in games one and two of the series.
- Monday, April 13, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Tuesday, April 14, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 15, 2015 – 7:05 PM CST – WPWR
- Game One: Jon Lester (0-1, 6.23) vs. Mike Leake (0-0, 4.76)
- Game Two: Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00) vs. Anthony DeSclafani (0-0, 3.00)
- Game Three: Travis Wood (0-1, 5.79) vs. Jason Marquis (0-0, 4.50)
Who is Hot:
- Reds: It appears that Joey Votto has once again found his power stroke, the Reds’ first baseman has blasted three dingers so far this season. He is hitting .333 (8-for-24) on the season with said three homers, eight RBI’s, four walks, and two stolen bases.
- Cubs: Dexter Fowler had a rough first few games in a Cubs uniform, but he put that well behind him over the last two games. Fowler had a monster series in Colorado, registering two triples, and a monster home run to give the Cubs a comeback win yesterday. On the season he’s hitting .238 (5-for-21) with a double, two triples, a home run, four RBI’s, two walks, and a stolen base. He fills up the box score.
Who is Not:
- Reds: After a breakout year last year, Devin Mesoraco is having a rough start to the season. Mesoraco is hitting just .095 (2-for-21) on the season, with five strikeouts, he can stay in that slump until about Friday of this week.
- Cubs: It’s been a rough go of it for Arismendy Alcantara as far as getting hits, he has none. He has been having really good plate appearances though, he’s just struggling to find that first hit of the 2015 season (0-for-12).
Two games in five days so far for the Cubs as the descend upon Coors Field for a three game set with the Rockies this weekend. The Rockies spent their first week in baseball embarrassing the Brewers pitching staff to the tune of twenty(!) runs in three games, good for a sweep. By comparison the Cubs have scored just twice this season, but they have only given up three while splitting a rain shortened series with the Cardinals. The weather is actually supposed to be pretty nice in Colorado, and I would expect that translates to a few more runs being scored, hopefully by the Cubs.
- Friday, April 10, 2015 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN TV (Local 9)
- Saturday, April 11, 2015 – 7:10 PM CST – CSN+ (Channel Finder)
- Sunday, April 12, 2015 – 3:10 PM CST – WGN TV (Local 9)
- Game One: Travis Wood (0-0, 0.00) vs. Tyler Matzek (0-0, 0.00)
- Game Two: Jason Hammel (0-0, 0.00) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 0.00)
- Game Three: Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 0.00) vs. Jordan Lyles (1-0, 3.00)
Who is Hot:
- Rockies: All of them? Seven regulars are hitting over .385 on the season, and they started on the road. Nolan Arenado is picking up where he left off last year, he’s hitting .462 (6-for-13) with three doubles, a dinger, and five RBI’s. Corey Dickerson is not impressed, all he has done is hit .417 (5-for-12) with two doubles, two dingers, and has six RBI’s so far this season.
- Cubs: I’m not going to talk about anyone that has to use a bat regularly here. It’s the Cubs pen, they have been brilliant so far, they have yet to allow an earned run in 6.2 innings, and have only allowed three hits.
Who is Not:
- Rockies: I found someone! Justin Morneau is one of just a couple of guys not to join the party so far. Morneau is hitting .077 (1-for-13) in the early going, he’s only struck out once so he appears to be a victim of BABIP (Batting average on balls in play).
- Cubs: The whole offense, the Cubs are hitting .125 (7-for-56) as a team, and have walked just three times while striking out 23 times. It’s super early, and the conditions were not great for hitting, so I’m not worried, yet.
The 2015 season is finally here, and the Cubs get a golden opportunity on National television to serve notice that they are a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central. Sure, I think winning the NL Central in 2015 is a reach, but that doesn’t mean the Cubs can’t make some noise, and turn some heads. A revamped roster, and a confidence that hasn’t been seen here in the better part of a decade should help the Cubs compete, something they actually did last year when facing the Cardinals. Despite another down year in 2014 the Cubs finished the season 9-10 against the Cardinals, all things considered that is not that bad seeing as the Red Birds won 90 games and the Central a year ago. Speaking of things that are new this year…. the video board.
Yes, Wrigley Field is undergoing a massive face lift, and the video board will be on full display Sunday night, it’s extra-mongus, just like the 2015 expectations. The other thing about the Wrigley construction is that it’s not done yet, and I’m sure ESPN will cover it extensively tonight. There was a rumored plan to place Ernie Banks memorial tarps over the construction in the bleachers, I wasn’t thrilled about it, but it came out great, looks like it belongs.
2014 – (20 – 9, 2.42 ERA)
Career vs. Cubs [36 G/ 27 GS] – (11 – 7, 4.09 ERA)
2014 – (16 – 11, 2.46 ERA)
Career vs. Cardinals [1 G / 1 GS] – (0 – 0, 2.45 ERA)
2014 – (15 – 10, 2.74 ERA)
Career vs. Cubs – [11 G / 10 GS] – (6 – 3, 3.18 ERA)
2014 – (10 – 5, 2.53 ERA)
Career vs. Cardinals – [5 G/ 5 GS] – (2 – 0, 0.92 ERA)
2014 – (14 – 10, 3.82 ERA)
Career vs. Cubs – [3 G / 3 GS] – (1 – 1, 2.70 ERA)
2014 – (10 – 11, 3.47 ERA)
Career vs. Cardinals – [4 G / 4 GS] – (1 – 2, 6.10 ERA)
Cubs win two out of three games, and Jorge Soler does bad things to Cardinals pitching.
** 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 **
** PITCHING MATCHUPS **
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)
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)
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)
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 —
— Pitching Matchups —
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)
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)
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 —
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. Tonight 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.
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:
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)
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)
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 the 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.
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. They 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!
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:
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)
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)
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. The 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!