Series Preview: The Cubs

Current record: 58-43, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Up Next: Chicago Cubs, 42-58, 5th place in NL Central, 14.5 games back

Season Series: 4-2 (3-0, 1-2)

Notes: After taking 3 of 4 from the last place team in the Central, the Bucs climb one rung up the ladder to face the Cubs. Chicago is known to be looking to make trades, so the make up of their team could chage in a big way before Tuesday night’s game. Rookie 1B Anthony Rizzo has an .884 OPS since his call up.

Familiar Faces: Paul Maholm

Probable Pitchers
Monday: LH Erik Bedard (5-11, 100.0 IP, 93 K, 4.32 ERA, 1.45 WHIP)
vs. RH Justin Germano (0-1, 8.2 IP, 8 K, 1.04 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)

Germano will be making his first start of the season. Bedard had his turn pushed back two days so that Wandy Rodriguez could take his normal turn on Saturday.

Tuesday: RH A.J. Burnett (12-3, 115.0 IP, 94 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH Ryan Dempster (5-5, 104.0 IP, 83 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)

Tuesday is the trade deadline, so it’s possible that Dempster could be gone before he pitches against the Pirates. The word is that he’ll only accept a trade to the Dodgers.

Wednesday: RH Jeff Karstens (3-2, 51.0 IP, 38 K, 3.88 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. LH Travis Wood (4-6, 77.2 IP, 54 K, 4.98 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

No lineups yet.

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.

Searage Shaves Standings

Over to the right, you’ll notice a new feature here on 6-4-3 Putout: The Searage Shaves Standings. Before the season starter James McDonald made a bet with pitching coach Ray Searage. If five Pirates’ starters win ten games each, Ray has to shave his mustache and eyebrows. There are 44 games left so each starter should get about eight more starts. Kevin Correia has already done his part. Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton should be able to reach the goal fairly easily too. It will be tougher for McDonald and Paul Maholm but the real key here is that the offense needs to score more.

Its unknown what would happen to the bet if another starter like Ross Ohlendorf or Brad Lincoln gets put in the rotation. Both have made starts for the Bucs this year.

Searage has a mighty fine soup strainer, but here’s hoping it bites the dust. He can always grow a new one.

Image courtesy of Bucs Blog (http://bucsblog.mlblogs.com/tag/ray-searage/)

Monday morning UPDATE: If the offense keeps up their current pace I’ll never have to update this for the rest of the season. Sheesh.

 

End of year update: Injuries and lack of scoring wrapped this one up early. Here are the final standings.

Quick Notes

Thanks to everyone who voted for me in the haiku contest over at The Platoon Advantage. I ended up winning the contest. Unfortunately my local Dick’s doesn’t carry any Pirate gear so I’ll probably get some new shoes.

Pedro Alvarez has been called up. Hopefully he keeps hitting like he did in Indy and is the lift this offense needs.

The Bucs start a four game set in Atlanta tonight. By no coincidence at all, I’ll be in attendance for all four games. The pitching matchups are brutal, so escaping with a split would be just fine.

Game 1: McDonald vs Hudson
Game 2: Karstens vs Hanson
Game 3: Maholm vs Jurrjens
Game 4: Correia vs Lowe

Rain is in the forecast tonight, so let’s hope this one gets in without too much delay. Follow my twitter feed for pics and thoughts as they come.

Jason Bay’s ex-mates

Listening to the Pirates game last night I head the announcer say that this was Jason Bay‘s first appearance versus his old teammates. Certainly it was his first time facing the Pirates since the July 31, 2008 trade, but how many current Pirates were on that team that he left behind?

Just three*: Paul Maholm, Evan Meek and Ryan Doumit.

Meek pitched the 7th inning last night but didn’t face Bay. Doumit is on the DL and out for a month. Maholm is scheduled to pitch Thursday’s day game. Unless there’s a Meek/Bay matchup tonight, that will be Jason’s first appearance against an “ex-mate.”

*Jeff Karstens was acquired five days earlier but didn’t make his Pirates debut until August 1. Karstens won’t pitch in this series.

OK, Wake ‘Em Up Already

Getting swept by the Astros was not exactly what I had in mind after my last post. Same story as the rest of the season, just not enough offense to win, even when the pitching is decent to good. Now they go back to Milwaukee for the final series before the break.

Scheduled Pitchers: Maholm, Karstens and Lincoln vs Doug Davis, Dave Bush and Randy Wolf. There’s no reason the Pirates shouldn’t be able to hit these guys but also no reason to expect them too. Very blah matchups. But I’m busy all weekend so I don’t expect to be able to watch the games anyway.

What you should watch on Sunday is Netherlands vs Spain in the World Cup final. No, the US isn’t playing. Yes, the MLS is a substandard league and pretty boring. So take advantage of the chance to see world class players actually giving their damnedest to win a game. That’s what sports is all about.

One last All-Star Rosters note: Nice to see Joey Votto get voted in. He never should have been left off in the first place. Now if only one of the OFers would get “injured” and Cutch named to the squad I’d be very happy.

There’s not a lot to say

“There’s not a lot to say,” – Vince Vaughn, “Couples Retreat

I never saw this movie, but the former Swingers star says this in the ads after his son pees in a display toilet in a store. I think it sums up last night’s game very well. Something awful happened and we were powerless to stop it from happening. All that can be done is to apologize, clean up and move on.

Paul Maholm was awful. Dana Eveland was worse and was DFA’d after the game.

And that’s it. I’d rather not rehash the whole thing. Here’s to hoping tonight is better. Go Bucs.

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