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.
deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.
Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?
NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.
If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
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.