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Invasion of the Barley Snatchers
by Derek Smart
The Cubs open at home today against the up-and-coming team from Beertown, so Alex and I took a moment to discuss the series and some of our expectations.
Derek: Here's a quick peek at the matchups for the weekend:
Game 1: Capuano (0-0, 0.00) vs. Wood (0-0, 0.00)
Game 2: Sheets (1-0, 2.57) vs. Zambrano (0-0, 5.79)
Game 3: Santos (0-0, 0.00) vs. Maddux (0-1, 9.00)
At first glance I see one game that could go 1-0, 13-12 or anything in between, one smokin' fun pitching matchup, and one potential bloodbath.
Alex: I think that about nails it. Capuano and Wood could both be very good or very bad. The pessimist in me, though, figures that the score of game one is more likely to be 8-2 Brewers than the reverse.
I had a moment of angst this morning, where I thought for some inexplicable reason that the Cubs' starting pitching this season was going to be a huge disappointment--not because of injuries, but because of performance. There is absolutely no reason to really think this would be true. Other than the fact that I'm a freak.
I think of Sheets as a Cub Killer, but truth be told, the Cubs performed better against him than any other team in baseball last year:
2004 Inn ERA W-L vs Chc 34 4.50 1-3 vs Stl 31.7 3.70 1-3 vs Pit 38 3.08 1-3
Sheets had an ERA below 3.00 against everyone else. He roolz.
Santos is one of the most frustrating pitchers the Cubs face. He just isn't very good... except against the Cubs.
Derek: I still have daily angst about the performance of the pitching staff, which is partly a holdover from 2003 when every outing needed to be nearly perfect because the offense was so bad.
I totally agree about Santos: possibly the most frustrating games the Cubs played last year were the four when they had to face him. Of all the teams he started against in 2004, he only had a better ERA against Seattle (2.08 vs Cubs, 0.00 vs Mariners) - but it was only one start, and the Mariners' offense was abysmal last year. Although, for a little comfort it's fun to note that the team he was second best against was St. Louis, sporting a 2.70 ERA against them.
Alex: It's just that with Sheets, any struggles by the Cubs are completely understandable. With Santos, it's a bit embarrassing.
Will Dubois get much action this series?
Derek: Don't I wish. Logic certainly dictates that he start today, what with the lefty on the mound and Hollandsworth generally looking as befuddled as a five year-old at a quantum physics lecture against his like-handed brethren.
Still, I'd be shocked if he does, unless Baker wants to play Hairston at second to get Walker out of there too. My guess, Walker plays, Holly sits, and Hairston is in left. Now, assuming Hairston's in the lineup, will Dusty hit him leadoff or leave Corey in there?