Probable Pitchers

Courtesy of MLB.com

Monday at 7:05pm EDT – Jeff Samardzija vs. Eric Bedard

Samardzija needs to keep his pitch count down. In his last start against the Marlins, he was pulled after throwing 97 pitches over five innings. He has one win in his last eight starts. Bedard came out of the 11-day layoff surrounding the All-Star break sharp on Tuesday, holding Colorado to two runs in the longest (6 2/3 innings) of his last six starts. Remarkably, a sixth win would match his most since 2007.

Tuesday at 7:05pm EDT – Paul Maholm vs. James McDonald

Maholm, who pitched seven seasons with the Pirates before signing with the Cubs this offseason, makes his second start in Pittsburgh this year. He took a no-decision on May 26, but is riding a four-game winning streak in which he has an 0.89 ERA. After not giving up more than three runs in any of his first 16 starts, McDonald has allowed four-plus in three of the last five. He hasn’t had his putaway slider of late, but he has become a fierce competitor who doesn’t give in.

Wednesday at 12:35pm EDT – Ryan Dempster vs. Kevin Correia

Dempster’s scoreless-innings streak was snapped in an eight-pitch span in the first inning vs. the Cardinals on Friday as they scored three quick runs. He recovered, and gave up three hits after that. He’s 0-1 vs. Pirates this year. The righty, who could win only on the road last season, has a superior record (4-3) at PNC Park. Correia will try to add on to his career-long streak of five straight wins. But he has needed support for that: He has a 4.05 ERA across the stretch.

How to Pitch to the Big Boys

Each series we’ll take a look at the top power hitters in the opposing team’s lineup to establish how to get them out and minimize the damage. Power doesn’t always mean home runs. It can also mean doubles and triples. To examine that, we’ll focus on Isolated Power. The heat maps show each player’s isolated power based on area of the zone. If you’re not familiar with the stat, Isolated Power or ISO is a sabermetric baseball statistic which measures a batter’s raw power. The formula is Slugging Percentage minus Batting Average, which removes all the singles that are included in SLG%. The final result measures how many extra bases a player averages per at bat. By limiting extra base hits, you drastically increase your chance to win the game.

Our Take

by Jeremiah Johnson

The MVP of the weekend was an easy choice. Vicki Santo was eloquent, funny, charming, and gracious as she gave Ron’s Hall of Fame speech on his behalf Sunday. I assumed the honor/duty would fall to Pat Hughes, but after listening to her speech yesterday, I’m very glad she spoke for both Ron and his family. I’ll spare you a long-winded description, but let me recommend you check it out for yourself (you can view her speech here). Just know that as the cameras panned the crowd for Cubs fans, there weren’t many dry eyes to be found.

These three games against the Pirates are the figurative chance to get back on the horse after a no-show weekend in St. Louis. The Pirates could use a little more pitching for the run to the postseason, and they have been scouting Paul Maholm. Don’t be surprised if he makes his start Tuesday from the other dugout.

No further word on the Dempster rumors, but while he’s playing a game of Trade or No Trade with the Braves, the Dodgers look like they’re ready to move on Matt Garza.  Losing two of those guys would be a major shakeup–losing all three would constitute a full-on midseason overhaul. We’ll see what we get back in the deals, but we can probably expect that one of the periodic strengths of this team (the starting pitching) is going to change significantly over the course of the week.

Check back here regularly for the latest trade news.

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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