Series Preview: San Diego Padres (7-8) at Chicago Cubs (7-8)

Despite the fact that the Cubs lost the series (as expected), I came away mildly impressed with the team’s performance in Colorado. Part of that could be due to the fact that I did not see them get shut out by Jhoulys Chacin (I had more pressing things on my mind). But that doesn’t bother me that much, Coors of no Coors. Chacin is a good pitcher. But the next day’s game was nice to watch. Coleman had a nice bounceback from his disastrous first start, and the offense piled it on (including HRs from Castro and Soriano) against a guy they should score some runs against. Castro continued to hit and even drew a walk in yesterday’s game, and while they didn’t get as many runs as I thought they would they still hit Johnson like the replacement level starter he is. Even Samardzija had a good outing. The Cubs lost in typical Cubs fashion in the 8th, but Mateo nearly got out of it. After an infield single that would have been an out had it not deflected off his glove, Fukudome misjudged a bloop hit to RF that lead to runners at second and third with nobody out in a tie game. Mateo struck out the next two batters before the Rockies broke through with the game winners.

The Cubs continue their stretch of 19 straight games against the NL west with a homestand versus the Padres. I wonder how often something like this occurs – from a quick look at it they’ll be done with the Rockies, D-Backs, and Dodgers for the season after this stretch.

Team Overviews

Padres projected record: 77-85, 4th in NL West, 2% chance of making playoffs

Cubs projected record: 78-84, 4th in NL Central, 5% chance of making playoffs

(NL rank in parens)

Padres Cubs
wOBA .277 (16th) .338 (6th)
SP FIP, xFIP 3.81 (7th), 4.02 (9th) 4.21(11th), 3.79 (5th)
RP FIP, xFIP 3.13 (3rd), 3.73 (6th) 3.56 (5th), 3.50 (8th)
DRS 4 (5th) -11 (12th)

Not a lot of surprises here for the Padres. Given their cavernous park you expect to see this kind of FIP-xFIP split (though small sample sizes still apply etc etc). You also expect putrid offense, but maybe not this putrid.


Player wOBA ZiPS wOBA Player wOBA ZiPS wOBA
RF Wil Venable .187 .317                      SS Starlin Castro .454 .334
SS Jason Bartlett .223 .312 2B Darwin Barney .354 .296
2B Orlando Hudson .371 .321 CF Marlon Byrd .301 .333
1B Brad Hawpe .160 .309 3B Aramis Ramirez .399 .355
LF Ryan Ludwick .229 .331 1B Carlos Pena .288 .371
3B Chase Headley .359 .338 LF Alfonso Soriano .371 .344
CF Cameron Maybin .360 .315 RF Kosuke Fukudome .384 .336
C Nick Hundley .439 .315 C Geovany Soto .318 .358

I hope I never have to watch a Padres-Astros game at Petco. I think it would take those teams 20 innings to score a run between them. A few Padres have minor injuries but nothing serious to report.


Player FIP ZiPS FIP            Player FIP ZiPS FIP
RHP Mat Latos 5.33 3.39 RHP Ryan Dempster 4.66 3.78
RHP Tim Stauffer 3.99 3.85 RHP Carlos Zambrano 5.32 3.82
LHP Clayton Richard 3.26 3.82 RHP Matt Garza 1.18 3.95
RHP Dustin Moseley 4.23 4.79 RHP Casey Coleman 6.25 4.95
RHP Aaron Harang 2.12 3.79 LHP James Russell 1.06 5.31
RHP Heath Bell 2.77 2.63 RHP Carlos Marmol 2.11 2.72
RHP Mike Adams 2.93 2.77 RHP Kerry Wood 4.80 3.56

Latos is coming off of some shoulder problems suffered in spring training and is still knocking off the rust. Too bad the Cubs won’t see him this series. I’m excited to see Harang too. He was one of the underrated pitchers in baseball before his career was derailed by injuries, which may or may not be blamed on Dusty Baker running him out for, if I recall correctly, 4 innings on one day’s rest in an extra inning game a few years ago. ZiPS seems to think he’s still got plenty left in the tank.


Pitching Matchups

ERA, FIP, xFIP, ZiPS projected FIP in parens

Monday: Tim Stauffer, RHP (4.80, 3.99, 4.22, 3.85) vs Carlos Zambrano, RHP (6.11, 5.32, 4.84, 3.82), 7:05 PM CT 

Every time I see Stauffer’s name listed in a box score it brings to mind the taste of crappy stuffing mix (dying laughing). Stauffer’s been in and out of the league since 2005, and not surprisingly he has a home/away split of nearly a point in FIP. He doesn’t blow anyone away with his fastball, so he encourages batters to put the ball in play in their cavern of a ballpark and gets plenty of ground balls.  Teams have hit him fairly hard this year and he didn’t get through the 5th inning in his last two starts.

Z has continued his “winning streak” from last season, going 2-0 despite not having his best stuff. He’s still a little wild around the strike zone, and his ground ball problem has persisted. We’ll see if he can go deeper into this lineup, but he had trouble with Houston’s banjo-hitting squad his last time out.

Tuesday: Dustin Moseley, RHP (1.83, 4.23, 4.40, 4.79) vs James Russell, LHP (7.20, 1.06, 2.70, 5.31), 7:05 PM CT

Moseley was a swing man with the Angels and Yankees before coming over to the Padres this year. He’s another guy who basically strikes no one out, even when he was a reliever. He’s another ground ball type, but not quite as good of one as Stauffer. The Cubs should be able to get to him.

Russell was not surprisingly hammered by the Astros in his first start, though the Keystone Kops behind him certainly gave them a lot of help. He’s better than that, but not that good. Hopefully he’ll take some inspiration from yesterday’s sacrificial lamb and merely pitch poorly, rather than shittily (laughing).

Wednesday: Aaron Harang, RHP (1.50, 2.12, 3.48, 3.79) vs Matt Garza, RHP (6.27, 1.18, 1.94, 3.95), 1:20 PM CT

Harang was never a capital G Great pitcher but he was a pretty good one, especially given the park he pitched in. For some reason I’ve always remembered him as a ground ball pitcher when he never has been in his career. He gets plenty of strikeouts (he led the NL in 2006) and is stingy with walks (led the NL in K/BB in 2007). His main problem was not surprisingly HRs, given the bandbox that is GAB. San Diego should be a great match for his skillset, assuming he can stay healthy.

Garza had another lousy start against Colorado, and this time it seemed he wasn’t being BABIPed to death like he was in his first start. The classifications are crude, but opposing hitters are hitting 35% of his balls in play for line drives. Maybe something is up. I know there was some news a few days ago that suggested that noted pitching genius Mark Fucking Riggins was trying to change his approach. If Garza changed back to however he pitched before, it certainly didn’t show up in his last start.


The Cubs are at home, the Padres offense sucks, and I’ll say the Cubs move back to .500 after this series.


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We're gonna make it.