'Striking Out' With The Cubs, Volume 1.0Christopher Reina. 13th April, 2009 - 4:31 pm
1. The Cubs versus righties
The Cubs had a .628 OPS in the 2008 postseason against right-handed pitchers and so they looked to improve that mark by bringing in switch-hitter Milton Bradley, while dealing Mark DeRosa and giving the full time second base job to Mike Fontenot.
While Bradley has an OPS of just .667 against righties, the Cubs have an .871 mark through their first 181 at bats in 2009. Ryan Theriot, Fontenot, Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano each have an OPS over 1.200 against righties.
Against lefties, the sample size is small (30 at bats), but the Cubs are hitting just .581 against them; that compares to .807 in 1474 2008 at bats.
2. Kevin Gregg as closer
The Kevin Gregg as closer experiment has not been a success through the first week of the season. Gregg has a 12.00 ERA in 3.00 innings, while Carlos Marmol has a 0.00 ERA in 4.2 innings.
Gregg won't have a 3.33 WHIP for the entire season, but the logic of leaving the more effective, more explosive Marmol in the role of setup man should be abandoned. I understand the logic of wanting Marmol available for more than three outs in certain games, but losing a lead in the 9th stings a lot worse than doing so in the 7th or 8th and it's why we don't see Papelbon, Soria or Nathan in the 8th.
3. Quality starts
Surprisingly, the Pirates and Padres lead the MLB in quality starts with five each, but the Cubs are right there with four and they've played one fewer game.
Carlos Zambrano has a 3.00 ERA and 9.75 K/9 rate in his first two starts, while Ryan Dempster is at 4.50 and 8.25 K/9 in his.
Ted Lilly struggled when he gave up five earned runs in five innings, but Rich Harden was brilliant in his six innings when he struck out 10, walked two and gave up one earned run.