Series Preview: Cubs vs. Dusty Baker's Reds (Aug 6-8, 2010)
This is just another set of 3 games in a season that's lost pretty much all meaning. I'm convinced Lou has thrown in the towel, and most of the veterans are just playing out the string. The only thing this season has left for me value-wise, is the development of our young players. Colvin, Castro, Cashner, Diamond, even young veterans like Soto, Wells, Marmol, Gorzellany, and DeWitt. They need to play as often as possible, and it wouldnt hurt to take a look at some other guys in AAA. I'm thinking Jay Jackson, John Gaub, Wellington Castillo (backup C next year?), and yes, even Jeff Samardzija. His contract is running out, and with him out of options next year, we won't be able to send him back to AAA without him clearing waivers, which he won't. I'd like to see him again before too long. However, that's getting a little far ahead of ourselves. Here are the matchups for the upcoming series against the first place Cincinnati Reds.
Friday: Bronson Arroyo (11-6, 4.01) vs. Tom Gorzellany (6-5, 3.48)
Gorzo the Magnificent made his last start on Saturday against the Rockies, and didnt pitch well (shocking, no one pitched well in Coors last weekend, except Silva - he only allowed 2 hits). He allowed 11 baserunners in 6 1/3, as well as 5 ER in a game the Cubs ultimately lost 6-5. Despite that, he's been pretty solid for the Cubs as a starter this year, keeping the club in most games, despite his penchant for wildness, as he's walked 46 batters in 93 innings, far too many. Arroyo is doing his smoke and mirrors act again this year for Dusty Baker's Reds, only this year, he's getting wins out of the deal since the team behind him is winning games. He's hittable, he's beatable, and I like the Cubs chances this afternoon.
Saturday: Edinson Volquez (2-1, 6.35) vs. Randall T Wells (5-9, 4.40)
The up and down season for Wells took another sharp down on Monday night as he was the starting pitcher for the 26 hit debacle against the Brewers. He gave up 10 of those hits in just over 4 innings. He'll be looking to bounce back on Saturday - which is an early 12:05 start. I love those games. Early afternoon baseball as I wake up from my brown-bottle induced malaise is the best. Volquez has taken a sharp fall since he was one of the hottest pitchers in baseball in early 2008 after joining the Reds in the Josh Hamilton trade. He wasn't as good in the second half of '08 or in the first few months of '09, and then he had to have Tommy John surgery. Then he was suspended for violating the drug policy, which he got to serve while he was rehabbing. Now that he's back, he's been hit hard. He did get his 2nd win of the season last time out, despite being all over the strike zone, walking 5.
Sunday: Travis Wood (2-1, 2.42) vs. Thomas Diamond (0-1, 4.50)
Couple of rookies highlight the finale of the series. Wood's been very good for the Reds, and was dowright dominant in a start against the Cubbies in early July. He's held up pretty good since then, as his sparkling 2.42 ERA shows. Diamond will be making his 2nd start. He had a perplexing first start. His fastball wasn't overwhelming, but his changeup looked good and he had his breaking pitch moving as well. But he fell behind too many hitters and gave up some unneccesary hits to the 8 and 9 hitters, as well as walking too many. But he K'd 10, which was impressive. I'm intrigued by him.