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.
Some perspective (mostly for my own benefit): Dan Straily beat MadBum 2-1 today as the Reds took 2 of 3 in SF. Giants are 2-9 since the break and their lead over LA is down to 2.5 games. So, yeah...baseball. It'll drive ya nuts.
McNutt / Archer didn't work out well for us.
The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.