We are two weeks into the 2013 baseball season. What do we know about the Cubs, and the rest of Major League Baseball?
- The Cubs, though not very good standings-wise at 4-7, have played (mostly) pretty tight games. They have yet to be blown out and have played three straight one-run games against the defending World Series champions.
- There appear to be several teams in the National League alone worse off than the Cubs -- the Brewers, Padres and Marlins are all off to horrid starts; the Brewers at 2-8 are off to the worst start in franchise history. Did you see that coming?
- There appear to be a couple of teams worse than the Astros (Marlins, possibly Padres).
- The Angels are, as they did last year, digging themselves a pretty big hole. It took an eighth- and ninth-inning rally for them to avoid losing their second straight to the Astros Saturday night.
- Are the Braves this good? (Hint: they might be.)
- Are the Athletics this good? (I don't think so, but then, I didn't expect them to be in last year's playoffs, either.
There are very few teams off to great or horrid starts, though; there's a huge "middle of the pack". The Cubs are still in that middle; I certainly don't expect them to get anywhere near contention this year. Nevertheless, this year's team is already playing better than last year's version; you can see signs of progress. That's always a good thing.
The team will play a man short today, as noted in this tweet:
MRI confirmed Clevenger strained his left oblique. He's out at least 6 weeks & will go on DL Tuesday when Barney is activated.— The Northwest Herald (@InsideTheCubs) April 14, 2013
That's a real shame for Steve Clevenger, who had the same injury a year ago; here's hoping it doesn't ruin his 2013 season, as it wrecked his 2012. At least we know Darwin Barney will be back; he'll have missed 12 games.
DeJesus CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Schierholtz RF, Navarro C, Valbuena 3B, Gonzalez 2B, Jackson P
The Giants lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post; check the BCB Twitter feed for the Giants lineup.
Today's Starting Pitchers
|2013 - Edwin Jackson||0-2||2||2||0||0||0||0||11.0||11||7||7||0||6||11||5.73||1.55|
|2013 - Tim Lincecum||1-0||2||2||0||0||0||0||11.0||7||8||6||1||11||11||4.91||1.64|
Edwin Jackson looks great in the uniform. He has good form on the mound. He never gets hurt. He's the kind of pitcher you wonder, "Why isn't this guy a No. 1 starter?" He never seems to be able to answer that question. In his two starts this year he hasn't been horrible... but he hasn't been really that good, either. Maybe this one will be better. He made one start against the Giants in 2012, July 4 in Washington, and... well, it looks a lot like his two starts for the Cubs this year. Current Giants have hit him hard: .352 (21-for-75) with 10 extra-base hits.
I can't stop staring at that photo of Tim Lincecum. If not for the hint of a five o'clock shadow, I'd think I was looking at a photo of a seventh-grader. Anyway... Lincecum hasn't quite been the same since the start of 2012, though he threw quite well in the playoffs last year. His two starts this year have been more of the same... mediocre, with a lot of walks (11 in 11 innings, most in MLB so far this year). Even when he was good, Cubs hitters used to figure him out pretty well, though current members of the Cubs are hitting just .235 (23-for-98) against him. I really don't know what to expect... other than it will be strange to not see that long hair flapping around under his cap.
Today's game is on WGN.
Here's the scoop on game threads for 2013. You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
As has been the case during spring training, you will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.