Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Series Preview: Cubs vs. Pittsburghs

Once again, the dawn of a new series falls rather conveniently after an off-day, and so there is nothing of interest to report regarding the Cubs (unless Zambrano comes back from his MRI with a torn elbow before I publish this. editors note: nothing torn.). So I will preview the hell out of these here Pirates.

The "Hitting"

The Pirates are pretty terrible with the bat. As a team, they hit like your average shortstop, which is not good. Not good at all. But they obviously score some runs, so who are the big hitters?

Jason Bay - Last year's Rookie of the Year has picked up right where he left off last year (I guarantee one of the annoucers will make that exact same statement when Bay first comes to the plate) and is hitting almost .300 with 7 homers and a decent number of walks. In fact, the only Pirate that has hit better than Bay is...

Daryle Ward - who, when he hits the ball, makes it go a long way. His 9 homers pace the Pirates, and he also leads with a .928 OPS. Granted, that OPS is pretty slugging heavy, so maybe I shouldn't say that he has been better than Bay, but he has definitely been better than the Pirates final good hitter...

Craig Wilson - the Pirates model leadoff hitter (except for the fact that he is supposed to be their model slugger). Wilson, who knock 29 balls out of the park last year, has exactly one homer this year but is showing amazing patience at the plate. He is getting on base at a .436 clip despite slugging under .400. However, it doesn't really matter, as the Cubs aren't going to be seeing Wilson this series; he is on the DL with some sort of finger injury.

Rob Machowiak, Matt Lawton, and Jose Castillo have also been pretty decent for the Pirates but they are most certainly off-set by the crap-tastic Jack Wilson (hitting .173), Ty Wiggington (.192), Tike Redman(.145), David Ross (.220), and Humberto Cota (.217). These guys aren't just rounding out the roster, either; they have all received significant playing time for the Pirates.

The reason the Pirates have been winning of late is definitely not because of the offense, but rather...

The Pitching

The Cubs are getting lucky this series, as they are not encountering Pittsburgh's best pitcher, and Cub killer, Mark Redman. He has been great, posting a 2.44 ERA, despite only having a modest 2-3 record (blame the offense). Here's who they will be getting:

Josh Fogg - in general has been smacked around pretty well by the Cubs. He is a typical soft-tosser (not many strikeouts) but without the control that is necessary to make a soft-tosser successful. He has been pretty decent this year (3-2 with 3.96 ERA) but I don't really see that lasting all year. He just doesn't have the peripheral numbers to back up an above-average ERA. Hopefully the Cubs will bring their hitting shoes (you can purchase them at Foot Locker) and smack him around. I said the same thing about Livan Hernandez last series, so I'm predicting a 3 hit shutout. He opposes Mark Prior and so this should be an easy win for the Cubs. I predict we lose 3-0. After the losing streak grows to three games, we face...

Kip Wells - who has been worse than Fogg. Wells's control has been awful and he has given up a decent number of long balls, which is never a good combo. He comes in with a 3-3 record and 4.53 ERA. I expect him to have no problem with the Cubs' lineup. I will, however, make no prediction here. It is too depressing. Getting swept by the Pirates would be the final humiliation and should that take place, I'm planning on committing Harry Carey (no, not the ritualistic suicide, but rather the "drink self into insensibility by way of Budweiser").

The Bullpen - is really, really good for the Pirates. Really good. I'm not going to list all the pitchers of theirs that are doing well but, suffice to say, they most all have good ERAs and their stupid closer has 13 saves. It find it all very annoying.

The Analysis - For the first times since 2002 the Pirates are better than the Cubs. Hearing this, I can't understand why you haven't bought your Fire Dusty T-shirt yet. Only $10.99. Go. Buy one. I'm actually quite serious. It is wrong for you not to own one. &!#@*%& Dusty.

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