Saturday Game Preview: Pirates (15-20) at Cubs (15-21)
Cubs try to even up their series with the Bucs after losing the first four matchups of the season series. It's the first time the Cubs have dropped their first four games against Pittsburgh since...well, I refuse to look it up because it would depress the crap out of me.
The lefty Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.91) starts this afternoon against Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44). This was the pitching matchup back on 5/4 at PNC when the Cubs clung to a 2-1 lead with two out in home 6th. Dempster then told Lou Piniella that he had enough left in the tank to retire Ryan Church with the tying run aboard, at which point Church crushed a pitch into the rightfield bleachers, and all of everybody's premonitions about how Lou should have yanked Dempster in favor of Sean Marshall were proven right.
Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.
Saturday's starting lineups:
Iwamura 4, LaRoche 5, McCutchen 8, Jones 9, Church 7, Doumit 2, Clement 3, Cedeño 6, Maholm 1
Theriot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soto 2, Soriano 7, Nady 9, Castro 6, Dempster 1
With all of the attention on the struggles of Lee and Ramirez, I don't think Xavier Nady has gotten due notice for how much of a non-factor he has been. For the record, he has started in 11 games and in those games, he's hitting .222/.310/.361. In the 13 games he has come in off the bench, he's 0-for-10 with a couple walks.
It was understood he was coming into the season at less than 100% physically and it's not like he has been in the lineup on any sort of regular basis, but still, on a team that is playing so poorly, every contribution is important and so far, 'X' hasn't contributed anything.
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.