Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Invasion of the Barley Snatchers
2005-04-08 10:10
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:

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?

Alex: We'll find out in an hour.

2005-04-08 10:38:15
1.   Alex Ciepley

The Lineup:

1. Hairston Jr.
2. Patterson
3. Garciaparra
4. Ramirez
5. Lee
6. Dubois
7. Burnitz
8. Barrett
9. Wood

2005-04-08 10:39:46
2.   Doug

I remember you mentioning in your Brewers preview that Brooks Kieschnick was becoming one of your favorite ex-Cubs. Just thought you might be interested to know that after the Brewers released him a little over a week ago, he just signed with the Astros. He'll start with their AA club.

2005-04-08 11:10:58
3.   Derek Smart

Thanks for the heads up. I saw that a day or two ago, and it's going to make things very difficult for me, as I hate me some Astros something awful!

2005-04-08 11:29:30
4.   Scotty Mac
That lineup is great! Only complaint is maybe to move Korey down--switch him with DLee, but I'll take him at #2. Dubois gets a start, I was worried that Dusty might keep Holly in there. Go Cubs, and Go Wood!
2005-04-08 11:51:22
5.   dbt
And DuBois knocks in two with two out. Sweeeeet.
2005-04-08 12:43:31
6.   The Boar

You said that you be surprised if Dubois played, unless Dusty also played Hairston instead of Walker. What guided that thinking? I'm curious -- I still am a novice at this lineup construction thing.

I definitely wanted Dusty to start Dubois (good job Dusty) but I did feel a little bad for Walker that, after waiting all last year to be the starting 2nd baseman, he didn't get to play the home opener. Thoughts?

2005-04-08 13:32:46
7.   Derek Smart
The Boar,

Well, actually I said it, but close enough. ;-)

Anyway, my thinking there is less about what makes sense to me, and more what I believe makes sense to Dusty. I've seen very little in Dusty's public statements that make me think he's even remotely fond of Dubois, so I thought he was very unlikely to use him unless he had too.

They've also made it pretty clear that Holly would be sitting against most lefties, but they've said nothing to that effect about Walker. Therefore, I felt like Holly would sit for sure, and that Dusty's apparent lack of love for Dubois would result in a start for Hairston, and that, therefore, the most likely way for Dubois to be in the lineup was for Dusty to decide to sit two lefties instead of just one.

To put it more simply, I think Dubois is #2 on Dusty's right-handed platoon depth-chart, and that Holly is #1 on the list of lefties to be replaced against lefties, so that it would take two lefties sitting to create a lineup spot for Dubois.

2005-04-08 16:41:33
8.   Patrick85
Wuertz for closer! Coming in with the bases loaded in the 6th close to, if not the same, amount of pressure as coming in with a one-run lead in the 9th. I can't imagine that he would be worse in that role than Hawkins.
2005-04-08 17:00:58
9.   Bleeding Blue
While Dubois did get the start, Dusty's unabashed loathing of anyone with under 3 years of major league experience was still oh so evident.

Can anyone give me anything close to a rational explination for why Dubois was pulled in the double switch. It put Holly out in left, who made a key error, it let Macias get an at bat in the 8th, instead of letting the pitchers spot come up in the 9th, and it forced Dusty to pull Nomar from the game because instead of leaving the pitcher to bat 9th, he was now batting 6th.

But at least Dusty didn't try a hit and run with a lefty pitcher at the plate and a catcher as the lead runner at 2nd.

2005-04-08 18:46:17
10.   The Boar
Great explanation, Derek. Sorry for confusing you with Alex.

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