I’m predicting ten runs tonight, for the Cubs, not the Reds, because frankly I don’t really care if I’m wrong, and I’m tired of watching losing baseball especially when the majority of the time the Cubs play well enough to win like sixty percent of the time, okay that doesn’t make any sense. Tonight is game one as Scott Feldman takes the mound, he will be opposed by the 54 MPH throwing Bronson Arroyo. Here are the lineups for tonight.
I think I mentioned that it was imperative for the Cubs to get off to a good start on this road trip to avoid a disaster, well that didn’t happen. The Cubs limp into this weekend series against the Reds after getting swept by the Pirates and losing five out of their last six. That’s why I said that the Mets series would have either been a step forward or a big step back, they lost that series and spiraled since, that would be a step back as they sit ten games under .500 now which is a low water mark. Things aren’t going to get any easier as the Cubs start a three game series in Cincinnati tonight, a place where the Reds are 16-6 on the season, and have won eight of their last ten overall. If there is any good news heading into this series it’s that the Cubs have played the Reds tough all year-long, that doesn’t necessarily mean wins, guess we’ll have to rely on moral victories at this point. The Reds are back to scoring runs in bunches again and have scored 225 on the season, that’s good for sixth in the majors. They hold a huge edge in the department over the Cubs and the 179 runs they have scored this season. Scoring runs isn’t the only thing the Reds do well, they are pretty good at preventing the other team from doing so. They have a 3.31 team ERA which is third best in the Majors, you add up that kind of offense, and pitching and you get a team that is 29-18 on the season. The Cubs will need a perfect series in order to take two out of three this weekend.
The Cubs were swept in Pittsburgh, three games that we should all just forget about.
The Reds are rolling as they have won three straight, and eight out of their last ten. They are coming off a three game sweep of the Mets in New York.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Friday, May 24, 2013 – 6:10 PM CST on WGN
- Saturday, May 25, 2013 – 3:10 PM CST on WGN
- Sunday, May 26, 2013 – 12:10 PM CST on CSN Chicago
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One – Scott Feldman (4-3, 2.19)
– Career vs. Reds (first appearance)
Game Two – Travis Wood (4-2, 2.24)
– Career vs. Reds (3 GS) (0-1, 4.42)
Game Three – Matt Garza (0-0, 0.00)
– Career vs. Reds (4 GS) (1-2, 3.80)
Game One – Bronson Arroyo (4-2, 3.25)
– Career vs. Cubs (28 appearances, 26 GS) (11-9, 2.99)
Game Two – Homer Bailey (2-3, 3.09)
– Career vs. Cubs (10 GS) (5-2, 5.12)
Game Three – Johnny Cueto (2-0, 3.22)
– Career vs. Cubs (18 GS) (8-6, 3.01)
The Cubs send their number four, five, and one starters to the mound in this series, and oddly enough that might be their best chance to win. Travis Wood, and Scott Feldman have been as good as any pitcher this year, not just on the Cubs either. With that said, the Reds are finding their groove and the Cubs look disinterested so I think they lose two out of three this weekend. HOWEVER, of course there is a however, I think if they can steal the first game tonight they could win two out of three, fingers crossed.
Cub to Watch:
Time for Anthony Rizzo to get back on track as he has struggled since signing his big contract extension. Could that be a product of Rizzo trying to justify his contract, I don’t think so, I think he is just pressing at the moment knowing he is a big part of this offense and is struggling. Rizzo has had success against Arroyo in the past (3-for-8), if he has a big night tonight then expect a big series as Rizzo usually parlays one big game into a torrid week or so.
Scott Feldman is pitching every bit like a man trying to prove himself to the rest of the league, and the Cubs are reaping the benefits. Feldman, who was signed to a one year deal in the off-season has been nothing short of brilliant, especially in his last five starts sporting a 4-0 record with a 1.28 ERA. Feldman got plenty of help from his offense in this one after it looked like it could be a day of missed opportunities again. After squandering a few chances early the Cubs broke through in the fourth inning as they scored four times, highlighted by a two-out, two-run double by Feldman, he does it all! The Cubs added one in the fifth on an Anthony Rizzo solo shot, and three in the eighth to put this one well out of reach. The Mets spoiled the shut out bid in the ninth inning, the Cubs still don’t have a shut out this year, but more importantly they got another victory, an 8-2 rout. Tomorrow brings an opportunity for the Cubs to win their third straight series, something that hasn’t been seen around these parts in a while.
At The Plate – An efficient, productive day at the plate for the Cubs as they pounded out eleven hits while scoring eight times. David DeJesus got things started at the top of the order going 1-for-4 with a walk, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .288 on the season. Anthony Rizzo had been locked in for a while now, he hasn’t struck out in thirty-four at bats and was 2-for-4 with his tenth home run of the season, an RBI, and a two runs scored. Nate Schierholtz had a solid day going 2-for-4 with his fifth home run of the season, an RBI, and two runs scored. The Cubs had three doubles in this one, giving them 97 for the season which is best in baseball.
On The Mound – Scott Feldman was outstanding again, he worked 6.2 scoreless innings giving up seven hits while walking one and striking out six. The win improved Feldman’s record to 4-3 on the season, coupled with a 2.19 ERA and wow, couldn’t ask for better. James Russell was solid out of the pen as usual, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.54 on the season. Hector Rondon struggled a bit, he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits, including a two run homer.
Up Next – The rubber game of the series as the Cubs go for their third straight series win. The Cubs send Travis Wood to the mound, he’s been just as good as Feldman if not better. The Mets will counter with Dillon Gee, first pitch scheduled for 1:20 PM CST on WGN.
Another frustrating one run loss for the Cubs, just when you thought they might be starting to win these close games today happens. It was a stiff test as the Cubs were facing off against all everything Matt Harvey, and he was as good as advertised, well, after the first inning. After falling behind 1-0 on a David Wright home run in the first the Cubs answered right back with two runs in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead. Edwin Jackson pitched right with Harvey for the whole game until Harvey got in his way, with the bat. That’s right, not only did Harvey get the win on the mound, but he got the game winning hit in the seventh inning. The Cubs still had a chance in this one, but a questionable send by third base coach David Bell took the Cubs out of the eighth inning. Bell has been fine all year, so I’m not going to pin this on him, but it hurts to have the game tying run cut down at the plate for the second out of the inning when it could have been first and third with one out with Castro and Rizzo coming to the plate.
At The Plate – The Cubs didn’t have much going against Harvey, but did have a very good first inning, and threatened late. The Cubs could only manage six hits on the day, but were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Starlin Castro had a solid day going 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .287 on the season. Anthony Rizzo was 1-for-4 with a double, his twelfth of the season, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, and Darwin Barney recorded the other hits in the game.
On The Mound – Edwin Jackson was solid, but ended up registering his sixth loss of the season. Jackson worked 6.2 innings giving up three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. James Russell was solid out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two. Kyuji Fujikawa was continues to string together good outings going one scoreless inning while striking out two.
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!
The Cubs are usually on the other end of these games, I like winning these games WAY more than losing them. The Cubs had nothing going all day as they were being no hit through five innings, then they started to chip away at Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs loaded the bases in the sixth only to come up empty, but it signaled that the Cubs might be ready to make things difficult for the Nats. Gonzalez rebounded nicely in the seventh inning, but Nats manager Davey Johnson decided to pull Gio after only 86 pitches on the day, the Cubs thank you Davey. The Cubs went to work in the eighth as they played some small ball. Navarro singled to lead off the eighth, he was then moved to second on a sac bunt by Barney. Travis Wood pinch ran for Navarro and made a great base running play to tag up on a foul ball behind first base to make it to third with two outs. Starlin Castro delivered as he took a Drew Storen pitch back up the middle for game tying base hit. The Cubs used some aggressiveness in the ninth to take the lead an ultimately win the game. They put the first two guys on in the ninth then Ryan Sweeney struck out, I know I’m not the only Cubs fan to think here we go again. But on the very next pitch Soriano and Borbon executed a double steal and the Cubs finally got a break. Kurt Suzuki‘s throw to third hit Welington Castillo‘s bat and went down the third base line allowing Soriano to score the game winning run. Kevin Gregg was perfect in the ninth to secure the Cubs win, and the series win over the Nats.
At The Plate – As I mentioned the Cubs had nothing going all day long, but woke up just in time. Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a game tying RBI from the lead-off spot. Cody Ransom had a solid day from the two spot going 2-for-4 with two singles. Dioner Navarro was one of the few guys who were locked in at the plate, he was 2-for-3 in the win.
On The Mound – Another really solid start for Scott Feldman, he had to settle for a no decision but that was better than an undeserved loss. Feldman went six innings giving up one run on five hits while walking three and striking out six. Kyuji Fujikawa was solid, and healthy for the second time this series. Fujikawa worked a scoreless inning while striking out one, very encouraging to see his velocity up near 93-94 MPH. James Russell worked a scoreless eighth inning while walking one to earn his first win of the season. Kevin Gregg was lights out yet again, what else would you expect? Gregg worked a scoreless ninth while striking out two earning his sixth save of the season.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there! Today the Cubs look to win the series from the Nationals as they continue to play right with the National League contenders despite their record. Scott Feldman has been outstanding as of late and he will try to build on that today as he opposes Gio Gonzalez who has struggled in the early going this year. Starlin Castro is back in the lead-off spot for the Cubs and Bryce Harper makes his return to the Nats lineup, here is how both teams will line up today.