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April 2017

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Series Preview: Cubs vs. Red Sox

Written by , Posted in General

The Cubs are venturing out of the NL Central to play a little interleague baseball with the Boston Red Sox in Boston, where they haven’t been since 2014.

Record over the last 10:

The Cubs come in playing solid baseball having gone 6-4 in their last 10 games and sitting atop the NL Central by 1 game over the Brewers.

Matchups:

Game 1

Jake Arrieta (3-0, 3.65) vs. Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 4.60) 6:10 PM CST

Arrieta was a winner the last time out vs. the Reds during which he gave up 4 runs in 6 innings. In his career, he is 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA against the Red Sox, but most of that came when he was a member of the Orioles’ organization. Of the current Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia is the only one to face Arrieta more than 3 times (he has faced him 9 times) and he is the only one with a hit against him.

Pomeranz has been solid against the Cubs, going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward are both hitting .500 against him (in 2 ABs for Bryant and 4 for Heyward) and Anthony Rizzo is 0 for 8 in his career against him. Pomeranz has had only 1 quality start (his first one against the O’s), so hopefully the Cubs can get to him early and often.

Game 2

John Lackey (1-3, 4.88) vs. Steven Wright (1-2, 8.66) 3:05 PM CST

John Lakey will be returning to a place where he pitched for a 5 year stretch and won a World Series in 2013. He hasn’t been sharp whatsoever this season, struggling early and then battling through to get 6 innings. He has only had 1 quality start (against the Dodgers) and it would be nice to see him put out a good effort this weekend against his former team.

Steven Wright is one of the few knuckleballers left and came into 2017 after an all-star season in 2016, but so far the results have been mixed. He has given up 7 HRs in just 17.2 innings and has just one quality start. Teams are hitting a robust .413 against him thus far, but one thing he has going for him is that none of the Cubs have faced him before.

Game 3

Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 4.50) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (1-1, 3.13 ERA) 7:05 PM CST -ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

Hendricks is coming off his best start of 2017 with a dominant performance over the Pirates. He went 6 shutout innings, giving up just 4 hits and 2 walks with 3 Ks. It was his first quality start of the year and his velocity seemed to take a step forward in his last start. The Cubs flipped Hendricks and Brett Anderson, so Hendricks could go on regular rest on Sunday.

Rodriguez came to the Red Sox in the trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Orioles in 2014. He is just 24 years old and is still finding his way, but he was a very well regarded prospect in the Orioles’ system. He is coming off a rather odd start that saw him hold the O’s to one hit over 6 innings with 7 Ks, but also saw him walk 5 batters. He has struck out 22 hitters in 17.1 innings, but also walked 17. The Cubs will need to patient against him and wait for their pitch.

Keys to the Series

On paper, I like the Cubs matchups in 2 out of 3 of these games. They never seem to do well against pitchers they haven’t seen before (Wright and Rodriguez), but if one of those guys scares me more than the other it is Rodriguez because of his swing and miss stuff. It will be good to see the Cubs against teams other than the NL Central and see how they measure up against one of the better AL teams. I think the Cubs will need to be patient (as usual) and hopefully the starting pitching can give them 3 quality starts this weekend.

Pick to Click

I think we will see Anthony Rizzo stay hot this series, but Kris Bryant has hit safely in 8 straight and has had multi-hit efforts in 2 of his last 3 games, so I  am picking him to be the big star of the weekend series. It will also be interesting to see how Kyle Schwarber does just DHing instead of also playing the field.

  • Ben

    Bold prediction schwaber will hot a homer in every game against Boston

    • Dork

      Don’t right handers do better in Fenway?

      • Bryzzo1744

        Bryant does!

  • Bryzzo1744

    I’ll be at all 3 games this weekend!

    • Dork

      nice – have fun!

    • Doug S.

      Never been to Fenway. Too many Red Sox fans.

      • Bryzzo1744

        They’re not that bad. They don’t bite.

      • cap’n realist

        So toothless morons. Got it.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Those are Cardinals fans who also wear jorts

      • Doug S.

        Prior to 2004, I recall a strange sort of bond with Red Sox fans. We were in similar boats with championship droughts. We could relate. Then they won twice in 4 years and in my opinion the fans changed, not for the better. Maybe it’s me, I don’t know.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I felt that way too, but since I moved here, my perceptions were false. They were all cheering for the Cubs and they were happy for us. When I went to the Springfield (MA) RV show in my Cubs gear, everyone was congratulating me on the World Series win.

      • Doc Raker

        Springfield MA, is that were Homer Simpson lives?

      • Bryzzo1744

        When I was a kid, I thought the Simpsons were in IL bc of all the states that have both a Springfield and a Shelbyville, IL is the only one where they’re near each other.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        It is not the bite that hurts, it is the constant whine that makes me crazy.

      • Don’t write it off because of that alone, Doug. I loved Fenway. The history, traditionalism (is that a word?) … it just screams baseball. I can’t imagine any baseball fan not enjoying a trip there. I don’t even remember who I saw, certainly not the Cubs, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And let’s be honest. Do we really like the fans of any other team? Lol.

      • Bryzzo1744

        You’re 100% right about Fenway, Lizzie. My first year here, I went to 12 Red Sox games because I loved it so much (and to see players I never got to see in Chicago)

      • Doug S.

        Thanks. I’d like to see the Yankees play there and beat the Red Sox, but I’d be real quiet about it.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I went to 4 Yankees-Red Sox games in 2013, and then another 3 in 2014. It’s awesome.

  • Dork

    It’s good that they don’t have to face Sale or Porcello.

    • Bryzzo1744

      You mean we don’t have to worry about jerseys being cut?

  • Brad Lyerla

    Fenway is a special place. If you have not been there before, you will see some ways in which the development of Yawkey Way influenced what the Cubs are doing surrounding Wrigley.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Yup! You in town for this series?

      • Brad Lyerla

        I would have told you if I could be there. But I will be in sw Michigan this weekend.

        Have fun.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I believe CAPS is really hyped up for this weekend.

    • Bryzzo1744

      I sure am! I get to see the World Series champion Cubs 6 times this year. 3 here, 3 in SD.

  • Buddy

    I can’t believe how many times I’ve read or heard “World Series preview” in the media over the last 24 hours. Take a breath folks, it’s still April!

  • Doug S.

    Good grief. No, grief is not good. Horrible start for the boys. Some lucky hits and some good hits by sox.

  • Bryzzo1744
  • Bryzzo1744
  • Bryzzo1744
  • Bryzzo1744
  • Bryzzo1744

    Every time the Cubs get a rally going, Heyward and Baez kill it.

  • Bryzzo1744

    Random thought: When a pitch is thrown in the dirt the ball is replaced, but when there’s a groundout or a base hit, the same ball is used even though it hits the dirt. What gives?

    • cap’n realist

      balls hit hard into the dirt around the plate are throw out. Balls thrown in the dirt used to often be thrown their on purpose, in an attempt to scuff the ball for a better grip. In the 70’s and 80’s, just about every inning, the last warmup pitch was a 59 foot fastball. Scuff city. A ground ball to short isn’t moving fast enough and is top spinning…no scuff.

  • Sherm
    • cap’n realist

      Lizard.

    • Doc Raker

      Maybe he can pitch

      • Eddie Von White

        Bob Costas could not reference the Cardinals enough during this game. But Smoltz was highly impressed on the Conteras to Russell caught stealing. He said there was a 2 to 5% chance they could throw Him out. Then Costas had to add “very Yadier Molina like.”

      • Doc Raker

        I just puked

    • Doug S.

      You know how there’s some things you have real difficulty unseeing……..