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.
I am once again reminded why I am happy that Theo is running the organization.
if not they can just intentionally tank the team for 3-4 years and rebuild.
Hopefully after the Cubs complete their sevenpeat :)
They're the best in the business and have been for 12 years running now. The only question is when they'll get bored of it.
I was right here. I don't require my GM's to be perfect, but I would like them to understand what wins baseball games (IMO controlling the strike zone and creating/avoiding outs), and knowing where the organization is in the success cycle.
Theo and company have made and will make plenty of mistakes, but they seem to understand those two items pretty well.
Now we're all Theo-believers, where were you when he signed Edwin Jackson? Or how about trading away DJ Lemehaiu? And not signing Samardzija to an extension? Or not pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols? Or signing Lester? Or trading away Cashner, Dempster, Feldman, etc?...I think I'm losing the narrative here.
So his deal runs through 2021? Which pretty much coincides when all these guys are due to hit free agency.
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.