Series preview: World Champions (21-16) at Chicago Cubs (16-20)

Team Overview

Team stats (and NL ranks)

wOBA: .297 (15th)
UZR: -8.1 (12th)
DRS: -6 (6th)
SP FIP: 3.22 (3rd)
SP xFIP: 3.47 (4th)
RP FIP: 2.79 (3rd)
RP xFIP: 3.14 (2nd)

Batters

Player wOBA ZiPS wOBA
CF Andres Torres .390 .337
2B Freddy Sanchez .301 .313
1B Aubrey Huff .283 .344
C Buster Posey .319 .365
RF Nate Schierholtz .334 .327
LF Pat Burrell .354 .345
3B Mark DeRosa .292 .326
SS Miguel Tejada .223 .307

A huge (dying laughing) at the Giants for not only being forced to play Aaron Rowand when Torres went down, but also for choosing to have Rowand bat leadoff in every game while Torres was down. Bonus LOLs go out to the Giants for batting Mike Fontenot third for a solid week during that stretch (and playing SS too!). Aside from Posey, Torres (when healthy), Sanchez, and the sorely missed Pablo Sandoval, the lineup is a mess, with nearly every position seeing players rotated through hoping someone will get hot. DeRosa is the latest to be in front of the 3B carousel with Panda out with a broken hand. Aaron Rowand has seen significant time at LF (!) and Huff, Schierholtz, and Cody Ross keep getting penciled in to RF. Huff’s Berkman-esque defense there forced a move back to 1b and Brandon Belt back to the minors, despite the fact that he’s pretty much the only young bat worth a damn they have not named Buster Posey. There’s a lot of age on the position player side of this roster.

Pitchers

Player FIP ZiPS FIP
RHP Tim Lincecum 2.12 2.40
LHP Jonathan Sanchez 3.47 3.60
RHP Matt Cain 3.43 3.38
LHP Madison Bumgarner 3.28 3.80
RHP Ryan Vogelsong (!) 3.58 5.13
RHP Brian Wilson‘s Played Out Marketing Campaign 2.95 2.54
LHP Jeremy Affeldt 5.07 3.57

It’s clear where this team’s talent lies. The Giants are “missing” Barry Zito, who is out with a foot injury.

Pitching Matchups

Friday Friday: Madison Bumgarner, LHP (4.21, 3.28, 3.52, 3.80) vs Ryan Dempster, RHP (7.20, 5.42, 3.70, 3.89), 1:20 PM CT

The fact that Bumgarner has a 3.28 FIP and a 0-5 record tells you both how useless W-L records are as stats and how punchless the Giants offense is. Bumgarner gets ground balls and doesn’t walk many batters, though he’s had more trouble with his control this year when compared to last year’s rookie season. Most of thos numbers are due to some struggles in his first two or three starts. Since then he’s settled down and is pitching quite well.

For Demp’s preview, I’ll just mention that he’s pitched very well in his last two starts and link this. Of course this means that the punchless Giants offense will score 8 runs on him in two plus innings.

Saturday: Ryan Vogelsong, LOL (3.05, 3.58, 3.66, 5.13) vs Doug Davis, LOL (-,-,-, 4.42), 6:10 PM CT

Unlike tomorrow’s great matchup, this is a matchup of two guys who I wouldn’t have guessed were still pitching in MLB. Vogelsong is synonymous with “failed Pirates pitching prospect”. He’s cut his walk rate down with the Giants, which leads to his great FIP, but he has an unsustainable .193 BABIP. Davis drove the Cubs nuts when he was with the Brewers. He’s always walked a ton of batters, but it seemed like every time he faced the Cubs he’d have an 8:1 K/BB ratio. Credit to him for coming back from cancer a few years ago to continue to put up production in MLB.

Sunday: Tim Lincecum, RHP (2.11, 2.12, 2.44, 2.40) vs Carlos Zambrano, RHP (4.35, 3.61, 4.09, 3.60), 1:20 PM CT

I love it when Z gets matched up against great pitchers. Lincecum has had only one bad start this year, a six run, six walk performance against the Braves. He’s getting even more ground balls than usual this year, and is still striking out more than a batter per inning. Just give him the Cy Young now, Halladay in the NL notwithstanding.

Z had another vaguely worrisome start against the Cardinals. He only struck out three batters, gave up eight line drives, and is still not getting enough ground balls. Lucky for him Carpenter also had a mediocre start, but he won’t be as lucky against Timmay

Prediction

Cubs lose two of three again, but at least we’ll see some good pitching in this series. The Giants offense is pathetic enough that the Cubs could squeak out a series winif their own offense was worth a damn.


berselius

About berselius

How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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