Ryan Dempster takes the ball today in what could be his last start as a Chicago Cub, of course we will say this every time he pitches between now and the July 31st trade deadline as a Chicago Cub. The Cubs are red-hot, and look to keep things going at 12:05 PM CST on WGN against Joe Saunders and the Diamondbacks. Here is how the Cubs will line up.
Finally Cubs baseball is back on Friday, and with the way the Cubs have been playing that is actually a good thing. The Cubs are red-hot, winning nine of their last fourteen games which has moved them out of last place in the Central Division. The Diamondbacks have taken a step back this season after being one of the surprise teams last year. Sub par years from Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy have contributed to that fall from the top of the West. Mediocre is a word that should be used in describing the D-Backs season to this point, they are 6th in runs scored, and 10th in ERA in the National League respectively. The Cubs still sit near the bottom of the league in both runs scored and ERA but this has been a different team since Anthony Rizzo got the call near the end of June. In order for the Cubs to be successful this weekend they are going to have to get a lead early against the D-Backs starters as they rank near the bottom of the NL, 14th to be exact, in starter ERA with a 4.26. While the pen for Arizona is 6th best in the National League, full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Continue reading “July 13 – 15, 2012; vs. Diamondbacks – Series Preview”
Over the course of a season certain games stand out, whether it be bad or good, for some reason you remember them, tonight was one of those games. It all started before the game even got underway when D-Backs starter Joe Saunders couldn’t get loose warming up in the bullpen and had to be scratched from his start, so Josh Collmenter was forced into duty. Now Joe Saunders is a left-handed pitcher so Dale Sveum went with his super sweet, and really awesome, and special “left-handed-pitcher” lineup, which featured Reed Johnson leading off, and Jeff Baker hitting fourth. This really neat approach has been used all season long, to the tune of a 3-14 record against left-handed pitchers, so it’s obviously working. Dale Sveum had the opportunity to change his lineup before first pitch, because Josh Collmenter is right-handed, Sveum declined, and the Cubs lost 6-1.
Things started well enough as Geovany Soto hit a 450′ bomb to center field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Jeff Samardzija has been perplexing as of late, breezing through the early innings, then struggling to the point of having to come out in the 5th or 6th because of pitch count. Samardzija was great in the first three innings tonight then his command went out the window as did the Cubs lead. Samardzija gave up two runs in the 4th, one in the 5th, and two more in the 6th en route to his 6th loss of the season. Geovany Soto who looks like a new man since coming off the DL had another solid night at the plate going 2-for-4 with his 5th home run of the season. The Cubs couldn’t come through with the big hit all night, as they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 guys on base, including the bases-loaded two different times. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
Continue reading “Road and Offensive Woes Continue for Cubs”
Finally a new team! The Cubs head to Arizona to take on the D-Backs over the weekend, and the Cubs are riding high coming off of a series win at US Cellular Field over the White Sox. Sure it’s just a series win, but considering it happened on the road it’s a big deal as the Cubs have a lot of trouble away from Wrigley. The Cubs will battle a D-Backs team that is trying to find their way after being a pleasant surprise last season. The D-Backs currently sit one game below .500 and in third place in the West, 7.5 games behind the Dodgers. The normally potent Arizona lineup is good but it usually is so much better, a down season so far from Justin Upton, an injury plagued year from Chris Young, and a missing (injured) Stephen Drew all contributed to the less than stellar numbers, up until the last series. The Cubs need to hit to stay in these games, the last two games against the Sox won’t be good enough in Arizona because I have a feeling they are about to explode, check that, continue their recent pace, as they scored 30 runs in a three game series against the Mariners. Maybe the addition of one Anthony Rizzo might help, rumor has it that June 23rd is the day Rizzo could be called up and not lose a year of eligibility, nothing confirmed obviously, but stay tuned. Full preview/breakdown after the jump.
Continue reading “June 22 – 24; @ Diamondbacks – Series Preview”