Gamecast: April 8, 2010- Cubs vs. Braves
Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
So much for southern hospitality. The Braves continued their trend of picking on the Cubs bullpen last night thanks to the bat of Larry "Chipper" Jones and the lukewarm display of pitching by John Grabow. In both games so far the Cubs have gotten the lead. Tonight they look to hold onto the lead and get a win on get-away day.
The starting pitchers for tonight's matchup have taken very different paths to get to where they are today. Tommy Hanson was widely regarded as one of the game's best young pitchers before his callup in June and backed the hype up with results. Armed with four "plus" pitches (including a filthy slider... look out Fonzie), Hanson carried a 2.59 ERA and averaged over a strikeout per inning over his last 20 starts last season. To say that the Braves expect great things from him for years to come is an understatement. Hanson is a strikeout pitcher that doesn't give up many home runs or walks. Despite the low walk totals, if the Cubs are going to have any success against Hanson, they are going to have to be patient at the plate and hope Tommy pitches himself into some jams.
Randy Wells was easily one of the most pleasant surprise stories in an otherwise frustrating year for Cubs fans. Wells was the first Cubs rookie since Kerry Wood in 1998 to reach double digit wins, and did so with much less hype. Wells is still a work in progress and relies a great deal on control rather than "stuff" but so far it has led to success in the majors. Wells hopes to continue the success he had against the Braves last season (1-0, 13 IP, 3 ER, 8 K over two starts). It would be nice to see Wells repeat his performance in Atlanta from last year without a bullpen implosion. One can only hope.
Brian McCann- Looks like the Braves made the right move trading away Jarrod Saltalamacchia and sticking with McCann. He's hitting .400 with a 1.000 SLG so far and has perenially been one of the league's best catchers.
Troy Glaus- Batting a whopping .143, the human windmill (or Adam Dunn Light, without the OBP) has 6 K's in his last 7 AB's, four of them coming last night for a golden sombrero. To top it off, he made a key error that (briefly) got the Cubs in the game.
Hate to bring it up, as two games in it is already a dead horse, but the Cubs will go as far as their bullpen will let them. So far the 'pen has been pretty shaky outside of Sean Marshall. Hopefully the Cubs can get rid of some of that bad mojo tonight with a solidly pitched game on all fronts tonight.