Crazy Cubbies Coming At You

With an early game tomorrow thought I'd get this up on the board.

Season Series: Dodgers won 2010 series 4 -3
Manager:  Mike Quade (9-9) Lifetime (33-22)

The Cubs come into this series doing as expected, but the competition so far in the NL Central is also playing at their level, so even playing .500 ball they are in the mix. The Cubs were off on Thursday after splitting a pair of one run decisions on Wednesday against the Padres. With the day off the bullpen should be rested.

Key Additions:  Carlos Pena, Darwin Barney, Reed Johnson, Matt Garza, Casey Coleman, Kerry Wood

Key Subtractions: Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva

Position Breakdown:

1st Base- Carlos Pena signed a one year deal worth $10,000,000 to provide some power but so far has provided only yucks with one double in 60 plate appearances. His ten walks are the only thing of note he's done so far but he's not getting paid to get to first base.

2nd Base- Somehow Darwin Barney beat out Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker to become the Cubs starting 2nd baseman. Barney at the moment is holding his own, but it won't last and once again the Cubs will have a below league average 2nd baseman. Barney is like Ivan DeJesus Junior.

Shortstop- I love Starlin Castro; the 21 year old prodigy is a good reason to watch the Cubs. He's hitting way over his head right now at .375, leads the league in hits, but even when he settles down this guy is their franchise player.

3rd Base- Aramis Ramirez is healthy and doing his normal good work. At 33 he might never see a full season OPS of .900 again but he should still be an above average offensive 3rd baseman for them this year.

Catcher- The 2008 ROY Geovany Soto had a big bounce back season in 2010 and didn't seem to get much attention. He's struggling so far in 2011and Cub fans have to hope he's not going to start doing that odd/even crap.

Left Field -Alfonso Soriano has a joke of a contract but he is hitting home runs again, knocking out six so far in the young season.  At 35 years old Soriano has hit 320 career home runs. With 54 Million still to run on his contract after the 2011 season, Cub fans have to hope he's got a lot more left in him.

Right Field- Kosuke Fukudome and Tyler Colvin split time here. Fukudome is off to his typical fast start  but has yet to garner an extra base hit in 41 plate appearances. Colvin was the 13th player picked in the 2006 1st round and came up last year to quickly became a fan favorite by pounding 20 home runs in only 394 plate appearances. They are both left handers, so I do not know how Quade decides who will play and who won't. Colvin got a few games in at 1st base when Pena was out.

Center Field- Marlon Byrd evolved from one of the better platoon center fielders into a solid all around full time center fielder. A little more power against LHP is the only thing differentiating his splits. One of the better bargains in baseball, he is signed through 2012.

Bench: Should be familiar to Dodger fans as it is riddled with old friends. We have Blake Dewitt chewing up splinters as his bat was not deemed good enough to offset his below average defensive skills at 2nd base. Reed Johnson fills in around the outfield and pinch hits. Koyie Hill is still their backup catcher. Moving on from ex-Dodgers we have Jeff Baker who can handle 2nd/3rd and this is it.

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game 1: Casey Coleman moved fast after being a 15th round pick in 2008. He's made two starts in 2011 and did a fine job in his second start to limit the Rockies to only one run at Coors. He has four pitches and he needs them all because his fastball comes in around 89MPH. He also features a slider, curve and change up. This will be the first time the Dodgers have faced him.  He doesn't strike out anyone and this is what baseball hq had to say about him.

4-2, 4.11 ERA in 57 IP at CHC. Helpful GB% punched his ticket to the show, but that GB level isn't elite enough to cover for the intolerable Dom and Cmd. He just goes out there and waits for his fielders to make plays.

Game 2: Ryan Dempster has been a mainstay of the Cub rotation for a few years now. His ERA says he's off to a rocky start (6.84) but  his tERA says it ain't that bad (4.48).

Game 3: Carlos Zambrano is more fun to watch hit then pitch. He now has hit 22 career home runs. Pitching wise he still is a force but he's never been as good a pitcher as his rep. Don't get me wrong he's good but that walk rate has kept him from being great. According to FanGraphs he's only hitting 89 on his fastball but he's got five different pitches he uses, and he uses all of them.

Bullpen: Carlos Marmol is the closer and is the true three outcome pitcher. Last year Marmol struck out 138 in 77 innings while walking 52. Clearly hitters have trouble making contact against him. Not as exciting but just as effective is Sean Marshall. The 6'7 lefty came into his own last year and is now the main setup man for Marmol. This year Marshall has been even better with one walk so far this year. The big name in the bullpen is Kerry Wood but he's a far cry from the Kerry Wood who showed up here in 1998 and wowed the baseball world as a hard throwing 21 year old.  He's ditched his nasty slider for a cutter; the velocity of the fastball is stil intact, but he still has control problems.  By this time Jeffrey Alan Samardzija was supposed to be in the rotation but he's barely doing the job in the bullpen. Over the last two years he's walked 34 in 30 innings. Scott Elbert is Greg Maddux compared to him. Other than Sean Marshall, Cub relief pitchers love the walk. Filling out the bullpen are Marcos Mateo, Jeff Stevens, and lefty John Grabow.

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