Series Tale of the Tape

Pitching Matchups

Matt Cain – A pair of familiar problems plagued Cain through most of his previous start: He too often threw his fastball around the letters and he didn’t attack the strike zone as much as necessary. The righty lasted six innings and gave up five runs and three walks against the Dodgers, unable to beat Los Angeles for the second time this season. Cain was brilliant in eight shutout innings against Cleveland two starts ago, but he’s struggled with his consistency all year.

  • Throws a hot, sinking fastball in the mid-90′s. Adds a strong curveball and solid change-up to his repertoire. Is fiery, smart and durable.
  • Needs to do a better job of getting ahead in the count more often, and improve his overall command. Must also avoid the big inning.
  • Is an ace starter in the making.
  • 1-1, 3.21 in last 14 IP

Jason Marquis – This will be Marquis’ first start since July 1. Because the Cubs wanted to get Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster more starts leading up to the All-Star break, Marquis ended up getting some side work done, and being a backup in the bullpen — just in case. He faced the Giants in his last outing, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks over seven innings. He’s one of the few Cubs who have fared better on the road, compiling a 3.38 ERA away from Wrigley Field as opposed to a 6.29 ERA at home.

  • Marquis has smoking 98-mph heat and is able to keep the ball in the park by inducing ground balls with his biting slider. He handles hitters equally well from both sides, keeps runners close, and doesn’t let that leadoff man do any damage.
  • While his pickoff move may keep runners from stealing, base-runners seem to preoccupy him. He loses focus on the batter and gives up an uncharacteristic number of walks when he already has runners aboard.
  • Solid mid- rotation starter.
  • 0-2, 7.36 in last 11 IP

Kevin Correia – Correia emerged with a no-decision in his last outing, although it may have been the best of his four starts since he returned from the disabled list. Correia went 6 1/3 innings and was charged with four runs before the Giants proceeded to lose to the Cubs, 6-5. Correia lamented his lack of command with his changeup, which he said was responsible for two mistakes against Jim Edmonds. The first resulted in a second-inning leadoff walk that generated a run; the second was a full-count pitch that Edmonds stroked for a two-run homer.

  • Has a good sinking fastball in the low-90′s, plus a solid change-up and slider. Pitches with good command. Is aggressive against right-handed hitters.
  • None of his pitches strikes great fear into hitters, so he needs his mechanics and command to be fine-tuned. Struggles to get left-handed hitters out.
  • A decent bottom-of-the-rotation starter.
  • 0-1, 4.59 in last 17.2 IP

Rich Harden – The hard-throwing Harden makes his Cubs debut against a National League team he is pretty familiar with in San Francisco. Harden stymied the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series last month, tossing six shutout innings of one-hit ball and striking out nine, and he holds an 0.84 career ERA against them. He last pitched on July 6 for Oakland, meaning he gets an extra day of rest following a pair of mediocre five-inning outings by his lofty standards.

  • Backs up mid-90′s heat with a deep arsenal, including a good slider and strong change-up. Is relaxed in tight spots and is capable of getting out of trouble.
  • He’s become a walking hospital ward, which threatens to limit a promising career. Doesn’t get ahead in the count enough, creating high pitch counts.
  • An ace right-hander when healthy.

 



Tim Lincecum

- Lincecum looked human in his most recent start, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings at New York. It was his first loss of the season in eight road decisions. It also marked the first time he lost following a Giants defeat. He had been 9-0 with a 2.61 ERA before encountering the Mets. The National League All-Star defeated Chicago on July 3, surrendering three runs in six innings while striking out eight.

 

  • Has excellent heat, tremendous deception and an almost picture-perfect delivery that may avoid injuries over time. Is a pure strikeout artist.
  • Has to answer durability questions, mainly due to his slight frame (5-11, 170 pounds). Needs to keep the ball in the park with greater frequency.
  • A budding star pitcher.
  • 1-1, 5.25 in last 12 IP

Ryan Dempster – Dempster is 10-0 at Wrigley Field, and he will try to finish the first half on a high note. In his last start against the Reds, the right-hander gave up one run on two hits and four walks over seven innings and struck out five. He’s the second pitcher in franchise history to win 10 wins in one season after recording at least 20 saves the year before. The only other Cub to do that was Phil Regan. In his last eight home starts, Dempster is 7-0 with a 2.08 ERA, and has gone at least six innings in each of those games. After this start, Dempster will go to the All-Star Game, his second appearance and first since 2000.

  • His slider devastates both righties and lefties and he smokes a sinking fastball past hitters at 92-94 mph. He has a deceptive delivery that helps both when going to the plate and keeping runners honest.
  • Sometimes his abundant energy gets in the way; he’ll find himself too pumped up early on and get knocked around a bit. He has some problems with his command and gets in homer trouble when he leaves his fastball dangling up in the zone.
  • Quality starter and/or reliever.
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail