Series Preview: August 23-25, Cubs at Nationals
After a tearful goodbye to Sweet Lou, and a game that caused even more tears, the Mike Quade Era will hit the ground running. It appears that the beginning of the era itself speaks volumes about how the Cubs feel about certain others on their coaching staff. In particular, it appears that the selection of Quade to serve as interim manager was a big "screw off" to Alan Trammell. I don't know the reasons why he has already been eliminated, but at least he has taken the classy route and chosen to stay as the bench coach through the end of the season.
Outside of that, nothing is new. Our middle relief is atrocious. Starlin Castro is close to qualifying for the batting title, and we get to see if Colvin can regain his bearings at first base tonight. On the Nationals front, uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg was placed on the DL today in what many assume will end his season with a strained flexor-tendon.
Now here are the matchups for the series:
Casey Coleman (0-1, 7.82) vs. Livan Hernandez (8-8, 3.06)
In a shocker to most, Livan is still making a living in the majors. Even more surprising was the early season success he had for the Nats. Despite cooling down from his hot start early on, Livan has put up a pretty respectable stat line. In 21 career starts against the Cubs, Livan is 11-6 with a 3.84 over 140 2/3 innings. He tends to have success against the Cubs as a whole, and this year should be no exception.
Coleman got his first shot at a rotation spot last week against the Padres. Despite starting off with a grueling 37 pitch first inning, he settled down and got in somewhat of a groove but only lasted 4.1 innings. The spot is his to lose right now, so it'd be nice to see a good audition from here on out.
Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 4.97 ERA) vs. John Lannan (5-5, 5.13 ERA)
Lannan used to be the "ace" of the staff for the Nats. While he's never really featured dominant stuff, he has a knack for getting groundball outs when he needs to, and sometimes that is good enough. After struggling quite a bit this year, Lannan had a nice outing against the Braves last week where he picked up a win after going 5.1 innings. He'll be very successful if the Cubs are over-eager and beat the ball into the ground
Z has been such an interesting study since coming back to the rotation. While he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA, he has been a free-pass machine. Going forward, I'd like to see a lot fewer walks. If he keeps walking batters, its gonna get even uglier than I thought possible.
Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.56) vs. Marquis De Suck (0-6, 11.39 ERA)
Yay, we have a chance on this one. True to form, Marquis has been flat out terrible this season. His "best" outing of the season came this past start when he pitched his first five-inning game. I'm sure everyone will welcome him home with open arms.
Well, the new era starts tonight. Maybe Quade will light a fire under their asses like Showalter did in Baltimore... and we can fend off those Pirates for last place.