April 24, 2009

Two-game recap and series Preview: Cubs v Cardinals (4/24 - 4/26)

It was just my luck that the two games that I went to were some pretty lousy results for the Cubs. I'm not too upset about the offense in those games though - Cueto and Harang brought their A games, and sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other pitcher. Lilly and Z both pitched great games, and if it weren't for some shoddy defense by Hoffpauir the second game could have gone in another direction.

I had field level seats for a decent price for Z's start (yay for Bronze ticket pricing dates!) and it was pretty cool. I think I still like the upper deck boxes better though. I was hoping to be able to see more movement on Z's pitches being closer but I could not. I have much more respect for major league hitters now. I got a few pictures but my camera batteries ran out in the second inning (I forgot to replace them before I left, d'oh). I'll put up a few once I get around to dumping them off the camera. It's too bad we didn't get a lead, because I really wanted to see Marmol pitch. Samardzija's inning was a trainwreck, and I bitched good-naturedly with several fans around me about the questionable bullpen decisions over the past day or two. Samardzija was all over the place, and when he was in the strike zone he was being hit. Leaving him in the minors until he found some control was the Cubs plan all along - I just don't understand their bullpen management decisions.

For the upcoming series, it's going to be pretty similar to the last one, except we're seeing Boggs instead of Walters in Carpenter's spot. The Cards are still hot, and MB is still injured. I feel good about the matchups though

Pitching Probables
Friday: Dempster v Wainwright (7:05 pm)

Dempster's been remarkably consistent over his first three starts. He's gone six innings, struck out ~5 batters, walked ~3 players, and has given up ~4 runs. Dempster's main problem is his propensity for hte big inning; it seems like in most of his starts he's had one inning with 6-8 batters and kept people off the basepaths in the rest. My report for Wainwright is about the same as last time. He's a good pitcher, but he's had some control problems thus far in the season, and had a bad spring IIRC. Pitching-wise this seems like a pretty even matchup, so you have to think that the advantage goes to the Cards in this game, as hot as their offense has been and as cold as the Cubs has been

Saturday: Marshall v Boggs (3:10 pm, on FOX)

Marshall had a decent though unspectacular outing against the Cardinals the last time out. He went 5 innings and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks. I've never been a big Marshall supporter, even though he's a much better pitcher than he was in 2006, I keep expecting him to fail for some reason, even though I know he shouldn't. We don't have much to go on with Boggs, except that he was hit pretty hard last year as a mid-season callup, though a lot of that is skewed by a 10 run outing that seems like a take-one-for-the-team type situtation. He didn't go past 6 innings in any of his starts last year. He had decent numbers in the minors, but not the kind of K/BB rates that you expect from a really good prospect (only ~2:1). I think the Cubs squeak this one out.

Sunday: (EDIT:) Harden v Wellemeyer (1:15 pm)
Wellemeyer was hit pretty hard by the Mets in his last start (though no HRs yet this season), and seems to be having problems striking people out. Harden had a good outing last time against the Reds; though his velocity was down, he still managed 8 strikeouts. With the warm weather, we might see some balls flying out of the park, but I like this matchup for the Cubs.

Series Prediction:
2-1 Cardinals. Cards win Friday and one of the two weekend games (probably Saturday)