April 22, 2010

Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (4-10) at Milwaukee Brewers (8-7)

The Cubs just lost consecutive series to the worst team in the NL (Astros), and the worst managed/GM-ed team in the NL (Mets). Now the Cubs and their ice-cold offense head into Milwaukee, who are fresh off a sweep of the Pirates in Pittsburgh, outscoring them 36-1. As you can see below, the Brewers are all offense, no pitching. Unlike the Cubs, who have had great starting pitching, but shitty, shitty offense. In the last 7 games Cubs starters have given up 2,1,2,1,1,2, and 0 earned runs over a total of 41 1/3 innings, for an ERA of 1.95. And the team has only 2 wins in those games.

I feel pretty good about the starters matching up with the Brewers potent offense (power meets power), but the failpen is another story. If Z (I still can't believe I'm saying this), Marshall, and Marmol get all the extra work, then the Cubs will only lose these games 3-1 instead of 7-1.

Brewers lineup (current wOBA, CHONE wOBA, chone UZR)

  1. 2B Rickie Weeks, RHB (.348, .374, -5.2)
  2. CF Carlos Gomez, RHB (.325, .323, 11.4)
  3. LF Lloyd Braun, RHB (.486, .404, -4.9)
  4. 1B Prince Fielder, LHB (.309, .412, -3.0)
  5. 3B Casey McGehee, RHB (.479, .324, -3.4)
  6. RF Jim Edmonds, LHB (.371, .334, -6.2)
  7. C Gregg Zaun, BHB (.149, .315, -1.2)
  8. SS The Most Exciting Player Ever, RHB (.368, .322, 0.9)

Pitchers (FIP, xFIP, CHONE FIP)
  1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP (3.98, 3.30, 3.62)
  2. Randy Wolf, LHP (4.50, 4.01, 4.22)
  3. Doug Davis, LHP (5.61, 3.73, 4.57)
  4. David Bush, RHP (4.47, 4.32, 4.79)
  5. Jeff Suppan, LOL (7.20, 7.23, 5.23)
  6. Trevor Hoffman, RHP (10.23, 6.52, 3.84)
  7. LaTroy Hawkins, RHP (2.40, 3.47, 3.97)
  8. Todd Coffey, RHP (4.60, 5.77, 4.10)

Not much new on the Cubs front. Lilly comes back in Saturday's game. Caridad was supposed to start throwing this week but I haven't heard any news on him. For the Brewers, the only injury of note is to "3b" prospect Mat Gamel, who has a shoulder tear and should be out a few more weeks.

Players to watch
Don't look now (or I guess, look now), but Soriano has started looking pretty good at the plate. He's been locked in the past few games, and was taking a ton of pitches in Thursday's game. Look for him to break out against this weak pitching, especially Suppan and Davis. For the Brewers, how can you not go with The Most Exciting Player Ever? Fireworks go off whenever he handles a routine grounder to SS.

Friday Ryan Dempster, RHP (2.83, 3.34, 3.89) vs Jeff Suppan, LOL (7.20, 7.23, 5.23), 7:10 PM CT
Demp's having a great season. He didn't bring great control against the Brewers in his last start, but the Cubs' bats actually woke up, so he was pitching to contact for most of the game, including a towering HR by Lloyd Braun. Jeff Suppan, is, well, Jeff Suppan (dying laughing). Just look at those FIP and xFIP numbers.

Saturday Ted Lilly, LHP (-,-,4.10) vs Doug Davis, LHP (5.61, 3.73, 4.57), 6:10 PM CT
Ted had a nice outing in his last rehab start on monday and should be ready to go. He struck out 9 over 7 innings and threw strikes, which is what he's best at. He's a fun guy to watch pitch. Davis has been hammered pretty hard in all three of his starts this year, and hasn't made it out of the 5th inning in any of them. The Cubs hit a pair of homers against him last week, and with the righty-heavy lineup they can throw out there, hopefully they can do the same again.

Sunday Randy Wells, RHP (2.43, 3.69, 4.27) vs David Bush, RHP (4.47, 4.32, 4.79), 1:10 PM CT
Bush painted the corners in his last start against Pittsburgh, inducing a ton (14) ground balls over 7 innings. He's had a lot of BABIP luck (.220) and is doing a shitty job of striking out batters (4.82 K/9), so hopefully the Cubs get to see a little regression here. Wells, on the other hand, has posted great numbers despite being very unlucky (.362 BABIP). So far the main source of his success is a higher K rate and a lack of HRs. That streak will probably end in this series.

Though this should be a boring series, since both teams strengths match up well. But the Failpen should be worth at least two losses. Cubs lose 2 out of 3. It's too bad Cubs Ace Carlos Silva won't pitch in this series.