2008 NLDS Preview: Cubs Run Prevention vs. Dodgers Scoring

Cubs Offense vs. Dodgers Pitching and Defense

Let's finish the preview and see what the Cubs pitching can do against the Dodgers bats.

Dodgers Offense vs. Cubs Pitching and Defense

Dodgers Hitting: .264/.333/.399 .732 OPS(11th in OPS), 126 SB's at a 75% success rate (3rd and 5th respectively)

Cubs Pitching: .242/.316/.395 .711 OPS, 3.87 ERA (1st in BA, 3rd in ERA, , 2nd in the rest,)

Dodgers Hitting vs. Right Handers: .260/.326/.390 .716 OPS

Dodgers Hitting vs. Leftt Handers: .275/.350/.419 .769 OPS

Cubs Pitching vs. Right Handers: .237/.302/.385 .687 OPS

Cubs Pitching vs. Left Handers: .249/.336/.409 .745 OPS

Dodgers are 53-57 when a right-handed pitchers starts the game, 31-21 when a left-handers starts.

Cubs Defense: .706 DER (1st in NL), .832 RZR (6th in the NL)

Cubs Rotation: Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ted Lilly

All Dodgers vs. Ryan Dempster (link) : 175 AB's vs current Cubs with an aggregate line of: .303/.376/.474 .851 OPS, 2.92 ERA in 12.1 IP versus the Dodgers this year.
Best Dodgers Hiiter: Andruw Jones has a .908 OPS against him in 40 AB's

Worst Dodgers Hitter: Jeff Kent has a .688 OPS in 33 AB's.

Trend: 5-2 in his last 10 starts with a 3.10 ERA

All Dodgers vs. Carlos Zambrano (link)
: 199 AB's vs current Cubs with an aggregate line of: .221/.313/.296
.609 OPS

Best Dodgers Hiiter: Russell Martin has a 1.513 OPS against him in 13 AB's

Worst Dodgers Hitter: Rafael Furcal has a .384 OPS in 23 AB's.

Trend: 2-2 in his last 9 starts with a 7.28 ERA

All Dodgers vs. Rich Harden (link)
: 34 AB's vs current Cubs with an aggregate line of: .147/.293/.441
.734 OPS

Best Dodgers Hiiter: Manny Ramirez has a 1.519 OPS against him in 11 AB's

Worst Dodgers Hitter: Casey Blake is 0 for 8 against him in his career.

Trend: 1-0 in his last 3 starts with a 2.65 ERA

All Dodgers vs. Ted Lilly (link)
: 144 AB's vs current Cubs with an aggregate line of: .243/.315/.528
.843 OPS

Best Dodgers Hiiter: Manny Ramirez has a .959 OPS against him in 42 AB's

Worst Dodgers Hitter: Casey Blake has a .673 OPS in 21 AB's.

Trend: 4-0 in his last 4 starts with a 1.93 ERA

Cubs Bullpen: 4.10 ERA as relievers was 8th in the NL. 1.73 WPA was 5th in the NL.

Likely to See: Neal Cotts, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, Carlos Marmol Kerry Wood

September Stats for Dodgers Hitters (link):

Nomar Garciaparra: 1.403 OPS

Jeff Kent 1.375 OPS (in 8 AB's)

Andre Ethier 1.249 OPS, 8 2B's

Manny Ramirez 1.218 OPS, 8 HR's

Blake DeWitt .872 OPS, 18 BB's

Pablo Ozuna .833 OPS

Russell Martin .785 OPS

Juan Pierre .758 OPS

Matt Kemp .750 OPS

Casey Blake .711 OPS

Angel Berroa .689 OPS

James Loney .526 OPS

Rafael Furcal .522 OPS (in 4 Ab's)

Danny Ardoin .500 OPS

Some Questions:

  1. Will Ryan Dempster keep it going in the playoffs?
  2. How healthy and effective are Zambrano and Harden?
  3. Who will bridge the gap between the starters and Marmol and Wood?
  4. Can the Dodgers offense sustain their recent hot streak?
  5. How effective will Rafael Furcal be?
  6. Will the Cubs pitch to Manny Ramirez and if not, can the rest of the Dodgers lineup make the Cubs pay?

Thoughts: The only reason this series has any chance of being interesting is because questions linger on whether Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden are healthy enough to be at the top of their games.  That and the fact that Lou might use Bob Howry in a game. Nonetheless, the Dodgers offense certainly did improve with the addition of Manny Ramirez, going from 4.14 Runs Scored per game to 4.70, which if they had done that all year would be good for the 6th best offense rather than 13th. I already brought up my concerns that the Dodgers hot streak was inflated by a soft September schedule, but there's no doubt they are a better team than their full season numbers show.

Unfortunately no one but Zambrano and Harden (and maybe Lou) really know if they're at full strength and if they're not, there isn't much any Cubs or their fans can do about it. Sure, Lou could move Lilly up earlier in the series, but the Dodgers have had a lot more luck against lefties than righties, so there isn't much to gain.

The only real concern I have is if the starters can go at least six and hopefully seven innings. The bridge between the starters and Marmol and Wood is the weak link of this team and every pitch made by someone other than Dempster, Zambrano, Harden, Lilly or Marmol is a going to be a dangerous one. 

Defensively, the Cubs probably have been pretty solid all year. Lee and Fukudome are probably the two best defenders but there really isn't a weak member in the entire group. Soriano can be a little adventurous, but he also keeps teams from even thinking of taking an extra base and Ramirez's little bout of wild throws seems to have ended. 

Final Prediction: Cubs in 4.  They split at Wrigley and the Cubs take both at Dodger Stadium.

 

Comments

...

I'm hoping the Cubs can take the two at home. I have over 40 years of horrid memories of late nights watching the Cubs blow games on the west coast. (actually I lived in LA for over a decade so a quarter of the bad memories are first hand) Just so many games where the Cubs held what was often an anemic Dodger offense down for eight innings only to have someone like Ken Landreaux (sp?) beat them with a two-out two run bloop double just inside the line. I remember many times turning off the TV before Brickhouse or Harry could even finish saying the game was over.

Dodger Stadium is a great example of what's wrong with Los Angeles. It, like too many major gathering places in LA, is a suburban entity with zero public transportation set down in the middle of a city. But it's the Cubs losing too many heartbreakers there that really makes me hate it. And everyone always saying how great Dodger Dogs are. And the fans who come late, leave early and don't make a peep until the scoreboard or music on the PA tells them to.

Me too, actually. I remember a lot of nights up until one or two in the morning only to watch the Cubs lose to the Rockies or the Giants on WGN. Not good times.

Well, it's official. The fingernail-gnawing has begun.

The fingernail-biting began Monday for me. Thank goodness there actually were baseball games to watch and not a whole lot of nothing.

I think the most relevant question for Dodger run production less whether Furcal contributes, but whether the hitters batting before Manny Ramirez get on base. Before the last week of the season and Furcal's return, the 1-2 hitters had been Martin and Andre Ethier, who did a nice impression of Pujols in August and September. But in last week it had adjusted to Kemp and Martin, Furcal and Kent, or Furcal and DeWitt, with the occasional dose of Juan Pierre thrown in.

Keeping the Dodger 1-2 hitters off base, no matter who they are, will be the key to this series. Do that and take pitches from Derek Lowe tonight and we should be fine. Should be.

I believe the Cubs website has been updated with the active roster for the playoffs: http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp...

It has Pie active and hoffpauer non-active....The thing that pisses me off is that Howry is still active...The only way that guy should be used is in the 9th inning if we are down 10....which should be never.

Recent comments

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  • I think you're very much overvaluing Schwarber if you think he can fetch Sale by himself. An unproven rookie with demonstrable offensive flaws he hasn't had the chance to show he can overcome and with no defensive upside will never fetch an ace of the quality of Sale in today's market where pitchers are fetching insane prices, especially with Sale's team friendly contract. You'd for sure need to throw in a pitching prospect in return at least.

    johann 4 min 25 sec ago view
  • best relievers in baseball tend to not be the best relievers for very long though...

    also, when you start just trading away guys for marginal benefits, that window will shrink. The window is easily through 2021, just have to look how long Rizzo is signed for and how long they have rights to Bryant, Russell and so on down the line.

    Can't say I'm too worried about the SP, they've done nothing but land guys on the cheap and on the expensive since they've arrived. TheJedi will figure that out.

    Rob G. 41 min 11 sec ago view
  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 3 hours 23 min ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 3 hours 35 min ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 3 hours 44 min ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 3 hours 55 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 4 hours 23 sec ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 4 hours 41 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 5 hours 1 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 7 hours 56 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 8 hours 14 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 8 hours 19 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 41 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 19 hours 23 min ago view