Thanks to the wacky way MLB schedules are made these days, each season there is one week where all teams play a pair of two-game series from Monday through Thursday.
This is that week -- although in past years, the AL and NL have done this on different weeks. This year, all 30 teams will play that pair of two-game series this week, before their first foray into interleague play this weekend (except for the Braves and Pirates, who will play the only NL series over the weekend). It will mean that for the Cubs, from May 9-25 (17 days) they will have traveled from Cincinnati to Chicago to Philadelphia to Dallas to Chicago.
The two-game series beginning today against the Rockies is their only visit to Wrigley Field this year. The Cubs will play them only three times in Denver -- the five games between the two teams in 2010 is the fewest matchups between the Cubs and any other NL team in the history of the Cubs franchise. They'll play the White Sox more times.
In any case, this scheduling quirk benefits the Cubs this week, as they will also play a pair against the Phillies. They will not have to face Ubaldo Jimenez, who has already thrown a no-hitter this year and currently leads the National League with a 7-1 record in eight starts, a 1.12 ERA and a 412 ERA+ (that is not a typo -- he has a four-hundred-and-twelve ERA+). They also won't have to face Roy Halladay, who has a 269 ERA+ (also not a typo) and would probably be leading the NL in most pitching categories if not for Jimenez.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2010 - Randy Wells||3-2||7||7||0||0||0||0||41.1||46||22||21||3||9||36||4.57||1.33|
|2010 - Aaron Cook||1-3||7||7||1||0||0||0||40.1||44||27||26||3||20||21||5.80||1.59|
Aaron Cook has been kind of shaky this season so far; he's allowed three ER or more in six of his seven starts, though the other one was a complete-game, one-run performance vs. the Marlins. (Quick -- no cheating -- who threw the last nine-inning CG for the Cubs?) Against the Cubs he's 3-1 in six appearances (five starts) with a 3.82 ERA, a bit better than his career mark. Current Cubs are hitting .205 (17-for-83) against him, though Derrek Lee is 5-for-13 with four walks.
Randy Wells' 4.57 season ERA is still a bit skewed from that awful outing he had in Pittsburgh. In his six other starts he's thrown at least six innings in all of them and his ERA of 3.43 in those six outings is a run lower than his season total, and more in line with what he did last year. His only career start vs. the Rockies was last August 9 in Denver; he didn't pitch too well that day. Perhaps today will be better.
Both of these men redefine the term "mug shot".
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Rocky Mountain. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8, 9 and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.