Game #35 Preview: Marlins (16-17) @ Cubs (14-20)
Losers of seven of their last eight games and four in a row, the Cubs try to salvage the finale of the three-game series with the Marlins.
From my office window, I see lots of clouds, fog, and in the alley behind Mr. Beef, a couple guys who look like they're ready to start throwing punches. Forecast says there's a 70% chance of rain by 3pm. I foresee a nearly 100% probability that I'll be disgusted by the second inning.
Pitchers: Chris Volstad (3-2, 4.12) vs. Carlos Silva (3-0, 3.50)
Volstad has racked up four ND's against the Cubs but has pitched pretty well each time out. Silva, making his sixth start as a Cub, got rocked pretty hard last Friday in Cincinnati, though he was the beneficiary of that offensive explosion on Starlin Castro's debut night and collected a victory for his five-inning, ten-hit, four-run effort. Also noteworthy (?): Silva mentioned having shoulder discomfort following the game. Perhaps all of those pins that Carlos Zambrano has been sticking in his Carlos Silva voodoo doll are finally taking hold.
Good history: Silva is new meat to most of the Florida hitters, but against Volstad, Mike Fontenot is 4/11 with a home run and The Man Who Used To Be Aramis Ramirez (not in today's starting lineup) is 4/8 with a HR.
Bad history: Kosuke Fukudome has gone 1/10 against Volstad, while Alfonso Soriano is 0/9 with 4 K's and Derrek Lee, who stroked a pair of doubles last night, is 2/11 with 4 K's.
As mentioned, A-Ram, down to .159 after last night's oh-fer, is sitting, with Jeff Baker, hitting just .220 himself, starting at third. Also, Castro is hitting in the second spot in place of Theriot, who is resting with "a tight hammy, not considered serious" according to Wittenmyer.
Fish: Coghlan 7, Sanchez 3, H. Ramirez 7, Cantu 5, Uggla 4, Paulino 2, Ross 8, Carroll 9, Volstad 1.
Cubs: Fukudome 9, Castro 6, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Soto 2, Soriano 7, Fontenot 4, Baker 5, Silva 1.
Just read that when Hendricks starts the Cubs have won 33 times in his first 50 games which is the best for any Cubs starter since the 1940s. So he might not be getting a ton of wins but he's at least leaving the team in a winnable spot
That and we've had a lot of terrible teams.
I agree, but just wanted to point out that Hendricks didn't really have a significant difference between his first and second half like Hammel did. Instead he had alternating good and below average months last year, without much fluctuation in his peripherals except a BB-heavy August and some up-and-down in opp avg. Mostly the team just couldn't win games for him in the months he pitched well. His 16 starts in May, July, and Sep/Oct (in which he limited opponents to OPS+ of 88, 75, and 44) resulted in a 4-2 record.
I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.
Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.
CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.
Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.
Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.