Series Preview: Oklahoma City Redhawks of Houston (51-98) at Iowa Cubs of Chicago (65-85)

Can’t yoiu just feel the excitement in this matchup? There’s a good chance that the Cubs will be the team to push the Astros over the 100-loss threshold this weekend, just in time for their banishment to the time zone abyss of the AL West. Maybe the Cubs can even pass the Pirates, which completely validates the season, saves Cuey’s job, and results in the re-hiring of Jim Hendry!

Team Overview

NL Ranks in parens

Astros Cubs
wOBA .305 (12th) .316 (8th)
UBR -4.1(14th) -13.1 (16th)
UZR -15.8 (13th) -14.1 (11th)
SP FIP 4.36 (14th) 4.28 (12th)
RP FIP 4.21 (16th) 3.87 (12th)

Summing up the Astros: Bud Norris (1.9) and Wandy Rodriguez (1.5) are the only Astros pitchers with > 1 WAR, while offensively their team is led by the likes of Clint Barmes and the Ghost of Carlos Lee. They made the right moves in shipping out Oswalt, Pence, and Bourn but time will tell if they got anything worth a damn in return. Too bad for them that Myers had a lousy year or he would have been shipped out too. This team is going to be bad for a long time. Too bad for the Cubs that they likely won’t be able to take advantage of them going forward.

Matchups

Friday: Wandy Rodriguez, LHP (3.51, 4.09, 3.62, 4.50) vs Matt Garza, RHP (3.54, 2.97, 3.22, 4.02), 1:20 PM CT

I was pleasantly surprised to see Wandy’s numbers look so good. I remember that he was struggling early in the season (probably with injuries), which didn’t look great for my fantasy baseball teams in that one month window that I still pay attention to him. He’s had some bad luck with home runs this year but his strikeout and walk rates are spot on with last year’s.

Garza has been hit surpringly hard lately, if you believe the accuracy of the LD/FB classifications. He’s given up seven line drives in three of his last four starts. He’s still getting a decent number of ground balls but the rate has been ticking downward since the beginning of August.

Saturday: Henry Sosa, RHP (5.02, 4.69, 4.39, 6.22) vs Rodrigo Lopez, LOL (5.04, 5.73, 4.52, 4.14), 12:05 PM CT

I don’t know much about Sosa, but his blurb in the mlb.com Probable Starters page mentioned that he was acquired for Jeff Keppinger. That tells me pretty much all I need to know.

Sunday: Brett Myers, RHP (4.52, 4.46, 3.81, 4.08) vs Ryan Dempster, RHP (4.66, 3.80, 3.57, 4.09), 1:20 PM CT

Myers’s saw his strikeout rate get hit with some age-related regression but the biggest culprit in his poor year was home runs, which increased by 50% over last year’s numbers. It’s hard to believe that it’s only his second year with the Astros – it already seems like he’s pitched for them forever.

Not surprisingly Dempster is going to fail to drag his final ERA to a better than respectable level on the season, but with this start and a likely final start to the season in Petco he could at least bring it below 4.5. Given how awful the season started that would be quite an accomplishment/

Prediction

Cubs sweep this miserable team to 101 losses.


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