Saturday, May 11, 2013

Preview for the May 11th Game

Preview for the May 11th Game
Chicago Cubs (13-22) at Washington Nationals (20-15)

The Chicago Cubs will be looking to even up their series against the Nationals by winning today’s game. The game will be played at Nationals Park and will start at 4:05pm eastern time. The probable starter for the Cubbies will be the former Nats pitcher Edwin Jackson. Jackson is sporting a record of 0-5 with an era of 6.39 and a whip 1.63. Edwin Jackson will be looking to beat his former team in which he pitched solidly for last year by going 10-11 with an era just over four and seventeen quality starts. Jackson is going to need to pitch well in today’s game because he is in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation when Matt Garza returns from the DL because Jackson has been the least effective Cubs starter so far this early season. Another reason why Edwin Jackson is going to need to pitch well in this game is that if the Cubs plan on getting a win in today’s game they need Jackson to pitch extremely well so that the Cubs can keep the game close because the Nationals starting pitcher can be dominate at times.

The Nats will be sending their ace Stephen Strasburg to the mound for today’s game. Strasburg is a young hard throwing pitcher who has a record of 1-4 with an era of 3.45 and a whip 1.15. The pitches in Strasburg repertoire are a four seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a two seam fastball that also sits in the mid-90s with great movement, a curve ball that has a deadly drop to it and a changeup that batters are struggling mightily against this year.

The Cubs hitters will be facing an extremely tough pitcher and need to bring their A game if they want to have success today. The Cubs will also need to provide good run support for Edwin Jackson because the Nats lineup has been on a tear lately. Starlin Castro suits up well against Strasburg because he is a fastball pitcher and Castro hits fastballs better than breaking ball pitchers, however Castro might need to limit his leg kick when he is batting to keep up with Stephen Strasburg’s fastball.

My prediction for the game is the Cubbies will not be able to prevent the Nationals from winning this game and taking the advantage in this series. The Nats will win with a score of 5 to 1. I just believe that the Cubs won’t be able to score against Strasburg and won't be able to prevent the Nationals from scoring. My predicted player of the game is Stephen Strasburg because I see him going seven scoreless innings against the Cubbies and will have double digit punch outs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preview for the May 8th Game

Preview for the May 8th Game
St. Louis Cardinals (20-12) at Chicago Cubs (13-20)

The Chicago Cubs will be looking to sweep the Cards in their two game series against them. The game is at 2:20pm eastern time at the friendly confines. The probable starting pitcher for the Cubbies will be tough and tricky right-handed pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva is looking to go 2-2 on this season by getting a win against the Cards and improve on his an era of 2.85 and an amazing whip of just 0.93. If Carlos Villanueva wants to have a successful game against the Cardinals he is going to need to change his pitches types well and change the location of his pitches to keep the Cardinals hitters straight footed.

The probable starter for the Cards is the sinker ball thrower Jake Westbrook. The veteran right-handed pitcher is 2-1 on the year with an excellent era of 1.07 and a terrible whip of 1.40 which is misleading because with that bad of a whip you would expect Westbrook’s era to be higher and suggests that he has been a little lucky so far this season. The pitches that Westbrook relies on are a sinker ball which is his best pitch and most used pitch, a two seam fastball that has solid movement to it, a curve ball that he will use to strike batters out, a changeup that is mostly straight and a cutter that is effective against tough left-handed batters.

The Cubs hitters will be looking to evaluate the ball in the game today because Westbrook is a sinker ball pitcher and wants to the ball to be hit on the ground. If the Cubbies want to pull out the sweep they are going to need to run up Westbrook’s pitch count and get to the Cards bullpen, which has been one of the worst bullpens this year so far. The Cubs batters will be hoping the wind is blowing out today in Wrigley so that they can take advantage Westbrook and his sinker ball.

My prediction for today’s game is that the Cubs lose in a heartbreak with a score of 6 to 3. The Cubs got lucky yesterday because you can’t expect to beat the Cards by only scoring two runs in a game therefore they need to manufacture runs when they get the chances. I just believe the Carlos Villanueva has two consecutive bad starts and is out pitched by Westbrook. My predicted player of the game is Allen Craig, he went yard in last night’s game and I predict that he will hit another homer in this series with the Cubs because Villanueva tends  to give up the long ball too much in games.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 1st Game’s Results and Analysis

May 1st Game’s Results and Analysis
Chicago Cubs 6 – San Diego Padres 2
Winning Pitcher: Feldman (2-3) Losing Pitcher: Cashner (1-2)
Player of the Game: Scott Feldman

April 30th Game’s Results and Analysis

April 30th Game’s Results and Analysis
San Diego Padres 13 – Chicago Cubs 7
Winning Pitcher: Volquez (2-3) Losing Pitcher: Jackson (0-4)
Player of the Game: Carlos Quentin

April 29th Game’s Results and Analysis

April 29th Game’s Results and Analysis
Chicago Cubs 5 – San Diego Padres 3
Winning Pitcher: Bowden (1-1) Losing Pitcher: Richard (0-3)
Save by Gregg (4)
Player of the Game: Cody Ransom

The Chicago Cubs rebounded from their loss to the Marlins by taking their first game against the Padres in their four game series against them. The Chicago Cubs brought their bats to the game and scored enough runs to lead the Cubbies to a 5 to 3 victory over the Padres. The Cubs got great performances from their 7th and 8th hitters in the game and solid performances from other hitters in their lineup. Darwin Barney provided the Cubs with not only a great glove in the field, but also provided them with some pop in his bat by going 2 for 3 with a walk, two RBIs and two doubles. However, Barney was outshined by his teammate Cody Ransom who hit back to back homers with Scott Hairston in the second inning and in addition to his homer he went 2 for 4 in the game with two runs scored and had two RBIs which earned him the player of the game.

Impressive: The most impressive thing in today’s game was the Cubs’ bats. The Cubs hitters had five extra base hits in the game and toiled a total of ten hits in the game, seven of which came off the left-handed former Michigan football player, Clayton Richard. The Cubs hitters showed that they can hit off left-handed pitchers in their game and that they can win games for the Cubbies. Another impressive thing about this game was Kevin Gregg, who went 1.1 innings with two strikeouts and allowed no base runners on base. I believe the Cubs have found someone reliable enough to become their closer.

Surprising: The thing that caught my attention was Jeff Samardzija’s performance. Samardzija only went five innings where he threw 101 pitches, basically he was just a little too wild which can account for his four walks in the game. He allowed three earned runs, but those runs could have been avoidable if he just had a little better command on his pitches. Don’t get me wrong I believe that Samardzija is the best pitcher that the Cubs have and has elite stuff, but he needs to find the strike zone more and learn to not overthrow his pitches. I strongly believe Samardzija has enough talent to receive a Cy Young award in his career, but he needs to understand that he doesn’t need to pitch every pitch perfectly, he just needs to limit the walks.

Concerning: What I found concerning in today’s game was how Shawn Camp pitched. Camp only recorded one out, however he gave up two hits and one walk in the seventh inning and has had a difficult time getting outs so far this early season. Shawn Camp has been getting rocked out of the bullpen and needs to find a way to provide the Cubs the outs they need. Another concern of mine, which has been a concern of mine for a long time, is how poorly the Cubs hit when they have runners in scoring position. I know that I am beating this like a dead horse, but the Cubs hitters need to step up when they are given the chances.

April 28th Game’s Results and Analysis

April 28th Game’s Results and Analysis
Miami Marlins 6 - Chicago Cubs 4
Winning Pitcher: Nolasco (2-2) Losing Pitcher: Villanueva (1-1)
Save by Cishnek (3)
Player of the Game: Giancarlo Stanton

The Chicago Cubs couldn’t pull out the sweep against the Miami Marlins because of their loss on Sunday. The Cubbies couldn’t manufacture enough runs off the Marlins and their ace Ricky Nolasco in order to get the win. Nolasco had a great outing against the Cubs by going seven strong innings, just allowing three earned runs on 4 hits and two walks. Even though Nolasco put together a quality start against the Cubs he isn’t the player of the game because he was outshined by his teammate Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton went 3 for 3 with a walk, 3 runs scored, 4 RBIs and two homeruns in the game, which easily makes him the player of the game.

Impressive: I was impressed by a few hitters for the Cubbies. One of them was Starlin Castro who went 2 for 4 in the game with two RBIs and double, however he did strikeout once in the game. I was also impressed by Anthony Rizzo who went 2 for 3 with a walk, a RBI and a double however he also stuck out once in the game as well. The other Cubs hitter that I was impressed with was Dioner Navarro, who hit a solo shot in the ninth inning off the Marlins closer Steve Cishek. Navarro has been impressive at the plate for the Cubs this year, which is kind of surprising because he isn’t known exactly for his bat. Overall, he was a good addition for the Cubbies this off-season and is an above average backup catcher.

Surprising: I was surprised with Carlos Villanueva struggles in this game. I was expecting Villanueva to just cruise by this one because he has pitched amazingly this year and was going up against one of the weakest lineups in the majors. However, Villanueva collected his first lost in the season by going six innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits and three walks. The three walks is what I find most shocking because he has shown great command in his first few starts as a Cub and these walks could have been prevented. Although, Villanueva did strikeout eight Marlins and kept the game in reach for the Cubs.

Concerning: The Cubs just couldn’t score enough runs to pull out a win and that has happened too much in this season so far. The Cubs batters really need to step up when they have runners in scoring position. Even though the Cubbies took their four game series against the Marlins, they could have done better at the plate. The Cubbies are getting great outings from their pitchers and solid performances from the bullpen lately, which means it is time for their hitters to step up and do their part to win games.

April 27th Game’s Results and Analysis

April 27th Game’s Results and Analysis
Chicago Cubs 3 – Miami Marlins 2
Winning Pitcher: Wood (2-1) Losing Pitcher: Sanabia (2-3)
Save by Gregg (3)
Player of the Game: Travis Wood

The Chicago Cubs took the series against the Marlins by winning their third straight game against the Fish and will be looking for the sweep in tomorrow’s game. The Cubbies didn’t score a lot of runs, but scored enough for Travis Wood to get his second win on the year. Wood pitched another quality start for the Cubs by going six innings, allowing two earned runs on just three hits and one walk. Travis Wood was the player of the game because he put together another stellar outing on the hill for the Cubs and led them to a solid victory in a low scoring game. The Cubs also got a great performance from centerfielder David DeJesus, who went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a RBI and double.

Impressive: I’m impressed with Travis Wood’s outing in this game and his performances in this early season. Wood looked dominate in the game by just giving up three hits and two of those hits left the yard, which means Wood really only made two mistakes in the game. Travis Wood also had five punch outs in the game, which is his second most in a game so far this year and probably had enough in the tank to pitch one more inning in the game if it hadn’t have been a one run ball game. Wood has been great for the Cubs so far this season, by pitching a quality start every time he goes to the mound and having a low era of 2.25. I believe Wood has shown that he is a reliable starter for the Cubbies and that the Cubs can rely on him in the upcoming years.

Surprising: I’m most surprised with Kevin Gregg and his success in the ninth inning for the Cubs, even though manager Dale Sveum has not yet admitted that Gregg is the closer for the Cubs. Gregg threw a perfect inning in the ninth to collect his third save of the year and got one punch out in the game. I will say I was kind of against the idea of the Cubs adding Kevin Gregg to their bullpen, but so far he has proven me wrong.

Concerning: Once again, there wasn’t a lot that concerned me about the Cubbies except that they didn’t have any timely hits when there were runners in scoring position. The Cubbies went 2 for 8 when they had ducks on the pound and will need to step it up in those scenarios if they want to try to get a .500 record this year.