One thing the Cubs did very well in 2010 -- and as you know, there wasn't much -- was have good starting pitching. They led the NL in quality starts with 96 -- more than even the great Giants and Phillies pitching staffs. Last year's bullpen was pretty awful, which accounted for a fair amount of the failure.
This year, the Cubs are dead last in the NL in QS -- just 21. The next-lowest team on the list, the Astros, have 30. This year's Cubs bullpen has been pretty good, but with starters not putting up good numbers, there haven't been many leads to protect. (The Cubs are, however, 14-7 in
Now, I am well aware that the QS is not necessarily the best way to analyze starting pitching. You can, for example, put up a 4.50 ERA for the game if you simply meet the minimum requirements (six innings, three or fewer earned runs). But in Bruce Miles' blog from yesterday, there is an interesting discussion on the quality start and what it means, from John Dewan of STATS Inc. You'll be surprised at what he found.
Oh, and guess what? There's a pretty good chance of more thunderstorms in Philadelphia tonight.
And, a couple of notes in Jayson Stark's latest "Rumblings and Grumblings" indicate that neither Carlos Zambrano nor Kerry Wood are heading anywhere but the Cubs clubhouse.
Fukudome RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Peña 1B, Ramirez 3B, DeWitt LF, Soto C, Colvin CF, Zambrano P
Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Polanco 3B, Ibanez LF, Brown RF, Ruiz C, Halladay P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Carlos Zambrano||5-2||14||13||0||0||0||0||83.2||78||38||37||6||26||56||3.98||1.24|
|2011 - Roy Halladay||8-3||13||13||4||0||0||0||98.1||91||29||28||6||14||97||2.56||1.07|
Carlos Zambrano has been really, really good in his last three starts, nearly as good as he was after he returned from the restricted list last year. He's averaged seven innings per start in those three with a 1.29 ERA, walked only four and struck out 15, while allowing just one home run. He hasn't faced the Phillies since 2009; he threw six solid innings and won in that game, the only game the Cubs won in that series on July 22, 2009. (Cubs lineup in that game for amusement value only.) Current Phillies are hitting just .208 against him (20-for-96) with no home runs.
There are two facts that are indisputable about Roy Halladay. First, is that he is really, really good. In 98.1 innings this year, he has issued just 14 walks while striking out 97. He hasn't lost since May 15, and even in that game he threw eight very good innings. The second fact is that he has made three career starts against the Cubs, two while with Toronto and one with the Phillies, and lost all three. His career ERA vs. the Cubs (18 innings) is 4.50. Even last year's mediocre team beat him. Some of the Cubs who played in that July 18, 2010 game are even still on the team.
Anyway, the point is: this isn't as much of a mismatch as you might think.
Today's game is the CSN's, in both Chicago and Philadelphia. Outside the Chicago and Philly markets, the game will be on the MLB Network. here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
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Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 pm CDT and the overflow threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.