May 09, 2010

Series Preview (and a Castro-inspired trip down memory lane) Marlins (14-17) at Cubs (14-18)

Since I've pretty much given up on this season already, I (mostly) enjoyed this series. We were talking about it in the comments a few days ago, but Friday's game was the most exciting Cubs game any of us could remember going back to 2008. Honestly I can't pull out a specific game memory out of any of the 2009 games, but I can list off four great ones from 2008 that were just as memorable:

Sep 20, 2008: Cubs 5 - 4 Cardinals . The greatest Cubs team any of us will see in our lifetimes capped off a fantastic season at home over their biggest rivals. Of course, they were also nice enough to do it in the one game I attended all year (dying laughing)

Sep 18, 2008: Cubs 7 - 6 Brewers, 12 innings. The Cubs were down by 4 runs and facing Brewers closer Salomon Torres. With 2 outs the Cubs rallied to score 4 runs, including a game-tying 3-run HR by Geovany Soto. The Cubs went on to win it in extras on a Derrek Lee walkoff single

July 28, 2008: Cubs 11 - 4 Brewers. The Cubs went into a big 4-game series at Miller park tied with the surging Brewers. The Brewers sent Sabathia to the mound in the first game, who had been mowing down the National league since being traded to the Crew. The Cubs eked out a win in this game, and went on to utterly embarrass the Brewers in their own park, outscoring them 31-11 in the 4 games.

And, of course Sep 14, 2008: Cubs 5 - 0 Astros.

After all that I'm too lazy to write much of a preview (dying laughing)

The Marlins have a pretty crummy offense (.318 wOBA), but then again so do many teams at this point in the season. It's strange that their two best hitters (Ramirez and Uggla) are their middle infielders. Go figure.

They're below average on the field as well, as their defense has cost them roughly half a win thus far. As per usual though, their pitching staff has put up a respectable 3.92 FIP, and it's not all smoke and mirrors as their xFIP is 4.14. I guess it's not that surprising given the pitchers' park they play half their games in.


Monday Nate Robertson, LHP (5.55, 5.59, 4.56) vs Ted Lilly, LHP (5.44, 4.06, 4.06), 7:05 PM CT

Robertson is a guy that I wished the Cubs had gone after when they were shopping Milton Bradley. The Tigers pretty much dumped him on the Marlins, paying all of his salary minus the league minimum. For some reason I thought he was right-handed. I thought that the transition to the National League would have helped him (he moved from one pitchers' park to another one), but so far not so much. Lilly just had one of those games in his last outing. It's still spring training for him, and he's a flyball guy. He had a few blowout losses in April last year too. I'm not too worried. One nice thing about Lilly is that he tends to (or at least seems to, I'm being lazy today) give up runs in bunches, so overall he's more helpful to a team than a guy like Silva who you can pretty much count on for 6 innings and 3-4 runs every time. Lilly either gets hammered or shuts them down.

Tuesday Ricky Nolasco, LHP (4.37, 3.90, 3.63) vs Randy Wells, RHP (2.60, 3.44, 4.09) , 7:05 PM CT

Speaking of Cubs pitchers getting hammered, Wells was hit hard in his last start. Though seeing how it didn't make a dent in his FIP numbers some of it was bad luck - his BABIP skyrocketed to .383....but that's right in line with the ridiculous 25.5% LD rate he's posted so far. Nolasco turned in a great 2009 despite his 5+ ERA. He struck out more than a batter an inning, walked 2.14 per nine and had a reasonable HR rate of 1.12 HR/9. He had some bad babip luck (.336), and presumably some bad defense behind him too. Maybe the Cubs could trade Lee for him and move him to the bullpen?

Wednesday Chris Volstad, RHP (4.25, 4.42, 4.47) vs Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (2.71, 3.34, 3.93), 1:20 PM CT

I seem to remember Volstad shutting down the Cubs in their first look at him last year. But my memory is usually pretty faulty. He doesn't strike out very many, but gets a fair number of ground balls. Expect a WAG-fest. Gorzelanny is the 2009 Randy Wells of this season - he just can't get any run support. Huge props to the Cubs for landing him for two guys who are on the DL with torn labrums. Even bigger props to the Cubs and Rothschild in particular for jacking up that K rate - he's struck out more than a batter an inning ever since he joined the team. That was a real steal by Hendry.

I'm out of the prediction game, but I do like the fact that the Cubs face two lefties. Go Castro Go!