Probable Pitching Matchups
Thursday – Ted Lilly (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (0-1, 4.43 ERA)
Friday – Randy Wells (2-0, 2.49 ERA) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 4.88 ERA)
Saturday – Batman (2-0, 1.73 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (3-1, 4.50 ERA)
Sunday – Tom Gorzelanny (0-3, 2.45 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (1-2, 6.67 ERA)
Things I Need to See This Series
- Derrek Lee needs to hit or move down in the order
- Geovany Soto needs to move up higher in the order than 7th or 8th
- Three wins. I came into this week with a goal of 5 wins, two series wins. Now it’s going to take a good series to make that happen.
- A freakin’ win for Tom Gorzelanny. Has anyone had worse luck that him this year and he’s facing a guy who has been shelled so far this year.
- Batman’s start. I missed the entire outing for him against the Nats due to tech problems from MASN. He’s my favorite pitcher to watch on this staff right now.
Golden Diamondbacks Nuggets
AZ Snakepit checks in to preview the series from the D-Backs perspective:
There are many differences between Cubs fans and Diamondbacks fans. Cubs fans have been going to the same park for almost a century, since Arizona was barely a state, while the Diamondbacks team is not even a teenager. Cubs fans endure winters from hell: D-backs ones, summers in hell. We have one World Series win in the past century…but I’ll move rapidly on. For there is one thing that unites us: fear and loathing for our respective team’s bullpen.
Both relief corps have lost six games so far, and we only escaped a seventh today by the offense coming back from five runs down. in Colorado. I do feel, however, that we have you beaten, since our bullpen ERA was 6.28 coming into today, and won’t be going the right way, thanks to the seven earned runs allowed this afternoon. Don’t try and beat the traffic at Wrigley by leaving early, for our bullpen has allowed 21 ninth-innings in only twenty games, resulting in this graphic.Oh, and the bullpen worked eight innings this afternoon, so you’re getting us while we gently wheeze. So, no Arizona lead this series will be safe.
However, the same might be said for our offense. The D-backs have been averaging a healthy 5.20 runs per game and are #1 the National League in home-runs. Mark Reynolds and, surprisingly, Kelly Johnson, are tied for the league lead in long-balls [edit: Johnson just his eighth], and six of our regular starting eight have posted an OPS+ above 100. Heck, and that number doesn’t even include starting pitcher Dan Haren, who is 7-for-15 this year, with a four-hit evening to his name, and has also been used, successfully, to pinch-hit.
Which bring me nicely to the Arizona starting pitching, still sadly (for us, if not for you) without Brandon Webb, whose return from shoulder surgery has had more pot-holes than the Kennedy Expressway [see, I do my local research!] – there’s no date there. The three pitchers you will see have all been up and down. Dan Haren, so good in the first-half last year, allowed seven earned runs in one start, and still got the win; Ian Kennedy is a bit of a work in progress; and Rodrigo Lopez is decent enough, but is still a back of the rotation guy.
Really, it comes down to our offense. The Diamondbacks this season have a 8-0 record when scoring six runs or more – but are 0-9 when they are held to four runs or less. How well the Cubs pitching staff – starters and relievers – do at keeping the Arizona bats in check, will likely decide how this series turns out.