Series Preview: Cubs v. Pirates (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1 2010)
So much for that glimmering hope of optimism. After sweeping the Nats under new manager Mike Quade, I'll admit - I was a little intrigued by the Cubs again. Not in a "we're gonna go on some sick run and get back in it somehow", but in more of a "well maybe we'll be frisky down the stretch and be passable September viewing". After a weekend spent in the Queen City, I feel the needle has been jolted back in the other direction. Shaky pitching, shaky defense, not a ton of hitting in big spots. Most importantly, perhaps another month's worth of baseball without a ton to look forward to (non-Starlin Castro division). The Cubs are now back home against the team they can not beat, the Pittsburgh Pirates. This will be the last time the Cubs face the Buccos this year, whom they have a stellar 3-9 record against in 2010. Here's your series preview and the first post on Goatriders in over 2 days..guess everyone hates the Cubs.
Monday August 30th - Paul Maholm (7-12, 4.82) vs. Carlos Zambrano (5-6, 4.64) - Maholm, like a lot of the Pirates, is having a rough year, and his stats are all pretty much off what they've been throughout his career. He hasn't notched a victory since early August either, though perhaps that's not surprising with the struggles the Pirates themselves have been having. Big Z looked REALLY good against Washington, but then immediately flew out to Venezuela to deal with a family issue. I'm seriously hoping Carlos can build on that great start and string together some good outings as the season winds down. For his sanity, for Cubs fans' sanity, for his trade value, for everything.
Tuesday August 31st - Jeff Karstens (2-10, 4.98) vs. Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.42) - Karstens fits the mold of the majority of the Pirates starters the last couple of seasons: former highly touted prospect from another organization who scuffled and then ended up in Pittsburgh. The former prospect sheen Karstens had with the Yankees is now long gone, and he's had an uneven 2010. He'll go up against Dempster, who continues to be the consistent cog in the Cubs 2010 rotation. Being paid well, Dempster has delivered again in 2010. He only went 79 pitches in a win against Washinton last week, so he should be good to go deep into the game Tuesday if needed...and with Z going the night before, he might be.
Wednesday September 1st - James McDonald (2-3, 4.97) vs. Tom Gorzellany (7-8, 3.98) - James McDonald fits the same profile as Karstens. McDonald is now out of the Dodgers organization and into the Pirates one (what an upgrade!). He's shown flashes since he's become a regular starter, but just like about everyone pitching for Pittsburgh currently, he's been up and down from a performance perspective. Long term though, I like McDonald. Gorzo the Great will be opposing his former team here. He got rocked pretty good Friday night against the Reds and had a fairly shaky month of August overall. Here's hoping for a better finish for Tom.