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.
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.