Trade Tree: Matt Garza

Today’s mound opponent, Matt Garza, has been a key component of two major trades in his seven-year big league career. His stint in Minnesota was covered in last week’s Johan Santana Trade Tree, but Garza is starting for the Cubs today so let’s look at what the Cubs gave up for him.

Garza’s a good pitcher and it took a lot of talent for the Cubs to get him. Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee were top prospects then and still have plenty of shine left. In addition to that, Ray’s fans were also treated to The Legendary Sam Fuld era.

In summary, the Rays received Garza for Delmon Young, who has not panned out despite all of his talent, had Garza for his age 24-26 season, then as he got expensive spun him for a boatload of talent. The lesson? Beware deals with this Tampa Bay front office. They always seem to come out at least an extra 2% ahead.

Garza tries to help the Cubs avoid a sweep by the Pirates today at 1:35. Erik Bedard goes for the Bucs.

Series Preview: The Cubs

Current record: 20-24, 4th place in NL Central, 5.0 games back

Up Next: Chicago Cubs, 15-29, 6th place in NL Central, 10.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: First baseman Bryan LaHair is making the most of his first chance at regular playing time. He leads the team with 10 HR and a 1.020 OPS. Speedster Tony Campana and his twelve stolen bases have taken over CF since Marlon Byrd was traded to Boston. Carlos Marmol was almost removed from the closer role before going on the DL with a hamstring strain. The Cubs top three catchers (Geovany Soto, Steve Clevenger and Welington Castillo) are all hurt right now.

Familiar Faces: Paul Maholm

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Ryan Dempster (0-2, 47.1 IP, 44 K, 2.28 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (2-2, 37.2 IP, 33 K, 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Dempster has pitched much better than his 0-2 record. He’s in line to be the Cubs’ All-Star and then traded at the deadline. The trade for A.J. Burnett keeps looking better and better.

Saturday: LH Paul Maholm (4-3, 45.2 IP, 27 K, 4.73 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
vs. RH Kevin Correia (1-5, 46.0 IP, 16 K, 4.50 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)

In his first season for the Cubs, Maholm is pitching as well as he usually did for the Pirates. Correia’s WHIP is pretty good, but that’s the only stat of his that looks nice.

Sunday: RH Matt Garza (2-2, 48.1 IP, 43 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (2-5, 46.0 IP, 48 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)

Garza has also been the subject of trade rumors but he’s likely to be kept around unless someone gives the Cubs a real sweetheart deal. Bedard tries to right himself after two shaky starts since his back spasms.

No lineups yet.

Contest Results: 8 Runs Scored

With those six short characters, Matthew Peaslee guessed the correct number of runs the Pirates scored against the Astros this weekend. Matt wins the prediction contest and will be going to see the Pirates take on the Cubs on Social Media Night.

Thanks to everyone who entered. The response was good enough that I may have another contest later this season.

Mr. Peaslee is a sportswriter for The Youngstown Vindicator and has a MLBlog called The Pittsburgh Peas.

Contest: Giving Away Two Tickets to Pirates Social Media Night

6-4-3 Putout is proud to be teaming up with the Pittsburgh Pirates to give away two tickets to their first Social Media Night of the season. The game is two weeks from today, Friday, May 25 vs the Cubs. Yes, that is a free shirt giveaway night. You can also go to a pre-game reception and recieve an “@Pirates” t-shirt. For more information on “Social Media Night” visit pirates.com/socialmedia.

So how do you win? A simple prediction contest. Just guess how many runs the Pirates score in this weekend’s series versus Houston. One entry per person. All entries must be received by the end of the first inning tonight. If there’s a tie I’ll pick randomly from all winning entries. Just for point of reference the Pirates are scoring 2.87 runs/game this season and 3.44 R/G in May. You can enter the contest in the comments below, through email or via twitter (either @RDavidK or @643Putout).  Be sure to include the best way to reach you if you win.

I’ll announce the winner Monday morning. If you send me a pic of yourself from the game I’ll include it in the blog. Good luck to all!

Update 7:22pm: The first inning is complete and entries are now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday update: To everyone who entered my prediction contest: If today’s game is rained out the contest will be extended through the next game played. Everyone’s guess was based on three games being played so it only seems fair.

“Beleagueredness”

A friend (@ryanstats) asked me last night who I cheer for when the Pirates get knocked out of contention each year. At the time I told him that I don’t cheer for anyone else, but today I was toying around one of my spreadsheets and realized that I do cheer for another team. I cheer for whichever contending team has gone the longest without winning. Maybe it’s a kindred spirit I feel with that team’s fans, maybe it’s because I like to fill in empty slots on the page.

What you see below doesn’t take into account number of titles won. It’s just a simple average of the number of years since a franchise has won the World Series, made the postseason, etc. I’ve named that average “Beleagueredness.”

There are no real shockers on this list. The Cubs are the most beleaguered and the Yankees are the least, but I think the order has some surprises here and there.

Looks like I’ll be rooting for Texas and San Diego this postseason. Good luck to my fellow beleaguered fans!

Team last title year started years since last WS app.
last LCS app.
last postseason

“Beleagueredness”
Chi Cubs 1908 1903 102 1945 2003 2008 44.00
Tex (WAS) 1961 49 1999 39.50
Was(MON) 1969 41 1981 38.00
KansasCity 1985 1969 25 1985 1985 1985 25.00
Mil (SEA) 1969 41 1982 1982 2008 24.75
Pittsburgh 1979 1903 31 1979 1992 1992 24.50
Seattle 1977 33 2001 2001 21.00
Cleveland 1948 1903 62 1997 2007 2007 20.25
Baltimore 1983 1903 27 1983 1997 1997 20.00
SF (NY) 1954 1903 56 2002 2002 2003 19.75
Cincinnati 1990 1903 20 1990 1995 1995 17.50
San Diego 1969 41 1998 1998 2006 17.25
Toronto 1993 1977 17 1993 1993 1993 17.00
Houston 1962 48 2005 2005 2005 15.75
Oakland 1989 1903 21 1990 2006 2006 12.25
Minnesota 1991 1903 19 1991 2002 2009 11.75
LA Dodgers 1988 1903 22 1988 2009 2009 11.50
NY Mets 1986 1963 24 2000 2006 2006 10.50
Atlanta 1995 1903 15 1999 2001 2005 10.00
Detroit 1984 1903 26 2006 2006 2006 9.50
Florida 2003 1993 7 2003 2003 2003 7.00
Colorado 1993 17 2007 2007 2009 6.00
Arizona 2001 1998 9 2001 2007 2007 6.00
TampaBay 1998 12 2008 2008 2008 4.50
LA Angels 2002 1961 8 2002 2009 2009 4.50
Chi WSox 2005 1903 5 2005 2005 2008 4.25
St. Louis 2006 1903 4 2006 2006 2009 3.25
Boston 2007 1903 3 2007 2008 2009 2.25
Phila. 2008 1903 2 2009 2009 2009 1.25
NY Yankees 2009 1903 1 2009 2009 2009 1.00

Shh, don’t wake them

Don’t look now but the past week has been a great week for the Pirates, winning five out of seven from the Cubs and Phillies. The offense still hasn’t been great, scoring 22 runs (3.14/game) but the pitching has really stepped up, allowing only 23 runs (3.29/g) with twelve of those coming in Saturday’s loss.

Small Sample Size fun: Pedro Alvarez has a seven game hitting streak (.333), has homered in back to back games (2) and has consecutive multi-hit games. Tim at Buccofans.com had a nice article last week about Brad Lincoln in his first four starts at a level compared to the rest of his starts there. Tonight is Brad’s sixth major league start and it comes in his hometown of Houston.

Let’s hope they can keep it up versus the hapless Astros!

Thank you, Chicago

Just when everything looked as hopeless as it has ever looked this season, the Pirates got a chance to go to the well versus the only team they’ve found any success against this year: The Cubs.

Ended: Six game losing streak. 17 game road losing streak. A Pirates starting pitcher recorded an out in the 8th inning for the first time this year.

Continued: Domination versus the Cubs (8-2). Losing a second baseman to a concussion from a collision with the right fielder in consecutive series.

Milledge has to call off Crosby for that ball. I like how he’s hitting but the mental errors are killing me and costing the team runs every game. I was very surprised to see Delwyn Young brought in to play second; it seemed like the perfect time to get Andy LaRoche into a game at 2B to get his feet wet.

Just a reminder: If you don’t already follow me on twitter @TheRealDavidK, I have an account that I use just to post updates to the blog: @643Putout.

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