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Weaver, Dodgers Open Series With Cubs

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The Dodgers start a four-game series tonight against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium, with perpetual spot starter Jeff Weaver on the mound.

Coming into this season, I didn't expect anything out of Weaver at all, other than a poor performance.  I mean:

  • He didn't pitch in the majors in 2008, but in the minors he put up a 6.17 ERA in 84.2 innings
  • In 2007, he was somehow given 27 starts despite a 6.20 ERA (but "only" a 5.11 FIP) in Seattle
  • In 2006, he did win the final game of the World Series for the Cardinals, but he was terrible during the season, split with the Angels and St. Louis.  He put up a 5.76 ERA and a 5.75 FIP
  • Over the last two seasons, Weaver was 15-27

I enjoyed Weaver's first stint as a Dodger.  He wasn't great, but he was a quality start waiting to happen, a very reliable pitcher.  Even after his signing this offseason, I expected his last positive contribution to the Dodgers to be  Bryan Morris (and Preston Mattingly), who was part of the Manny Ramirez trade.

However, Weaver has been, dare I say it, an unsung hero this season.  He has been the long man in the bullpen all year, and has also spot started on occasion.  Weaver has been effective in both roles:

Role W-L  
IP ERA  
FIP WHIP   
BB/9   
K/9 HR/9
Starter 2-1 26.1 3.08 4.19   1.443 4.10 6.49   0.68
Reliever    3-3 36.2 4.17 4.03 1.445 3.68 6.87 0.98
Totals 5-4 63.0   3.71 4.10 1.444 3.86 6.71 0.86

You will have a hard time finding anyone on this Dodger team that has exceeded expectations more than Jeff Weaver.  Tonight will be his seventh start.  It appears Weaver is expected to pitch at least five innings tonight, as potential backup relievers James McDonald (2.1 innings against the Cardinals) and Scott Elbert (2 innings with Albuquerque) each pitched last night.

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The Cubs are just 7-10 in August, but a trio of regulars are leading the offense this month:

Player BA/OBP/SLG OPS
Derrek Lee .333/.440/.683        1.123
Jeff Baker .425/.465/.650 1.115
Kosuke Fukudome      .275/.422/.549 .971

The Cubs, who demoted Kevin Gregg from the closer role earlier this week, have officially named Carlos Marmol and his 8.3 walks per nine innings as the new closer.  Here's hoping he doesn't get a save opportunity until next week.

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The clubs split a four-game series earlier this season at Wrigley Field:

May 28:  Dodgers 2, Cubs 1

May 29:  Cubs 2, Dodgers 1

May 30:  Cubs 7, Dodgers 0

May 31:  Dodgers 8, Cubs 2

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Get your guesses in for "Just A Bit Outside" here.

Game Time:  7:10pm

TV:  Prime Ticket

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