Game #64 Preview: A's @ Cubs
The A's make their second-ever visit to Wrigley Field—the Cubs are the only National League never to have played in Oakland—having been swept this past weekend in San Francisco.
The weather forecast is not promising, with Weather.com saying there is a 100% chance of precipitation through the shank of the evening. Is there a rainout-forced doubleheader in these teams' immediate future? If there's anything better than interleague play, it's an interleague doubleheader made necessary by the screwy MLB schedule...which became infinitely screwier when MLB adopted interleague play.
The A's come in Foxless, having DFA's former Cub Jake Fox yesterday. Earlier today, the A's picked up first-baseman/left fielder Conor Jackson from the Diamondbacks. Jackson is not in the A's starting lineup; not sure if he will be in uniform tonight at all.
Speaking of the lineups...
A's vs. Carlos Zambrano (2-4, 6.05; 1-0, 1.35 vs. A's)
Davis 8, Barton 3, Sweeney 9, Suzuki 2, Kouzmanoff 5, Cust 7, Ellis 4, Pennington 6, Cahill 1
Cubs vs. Trevor Cahill (5-2, 2.91; first start vs. Cubs)
Theriot 4, Castro 6, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Colvin 9, Soriano 7, Tracy 5, Hill 2, Zambrano 1
Zambrano is making his third start since returning to the rotation. Last time out, he survived five walks over five innings to beat the Brewers. A's starter Trevor Cahill is coming off one of the best starts of his career, an eight-inning, one-run effort against the Angels. He has been successful recently by keeping the ball down in the strike zone and avoiding the longball—just one HR allowed over the past 33 innings.
Things you learn about the A's and Cubs from spending way too much time on Baseball-Reference.com:
Greatest former Cub who wound up playing for the A's: Billy Williams.
Winningest former Cub pitcher who wound up playing for the A's: Kenny Holtzman, who went 80-81 for the Cubs before joining the A's in 1972 and going 77-55 in four seasons.
Most petulant player who wore both Cub and Athletic uniforms: you might rush to say Milton Bradley. But I'm going to go with Dave Kingman, who was well on his way to the Jerk Hall of Fame before Milton had even played his first Little League Game.
Note: Baseball-Reference.com doesn't rank players by petulance. That one is my call.
This one's for you, Kong.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.