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Chicago Cubs MLB News - Cubs Baseball Blog » Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, The Playoffs by chinmusic on Wednesday 3 October 2007 at 6:50 pm

These two teams got to the playoffs in different ways.  The Cubs were the best of a poor division while the Diamondbacks logged the best record in the National League due to their fine pitching staff.  Here’s a closer look at the matchups in this series:

CATCHER:  The Cubs are going to go with rookie Geovany Soto who hit really well down the stretch for them.  Soto played in 18 games this season for the Cubs and he went 21 for 54 (.389 avg) with 12 runs scored, 3 homers and 8 RBIs.  Chris Snyder will start despite platooning all season long with Miguel Montero.  Snyder does a fine job of handling the pitching staff and he’s a good thrower.  Snyder played in 110 games for the D-Backs this season and he was 82 for 326 (.252 avg) with 37 runs scored, 13 homers and 47 RBIs.  EDGE: EVEN

FIRST BASE:  Derek Lee of the Cubs is one of the better all around first basemen in baseball.  He is an acrobatic defender that saves his teammates a lot of errors in the field.  He also is a good hitter for both average and power.  Lee played in 150 games this season for the Cubs and he was 180 of 567 (.317 avg, .913 OPS) with 91 runs scored, 22 homers and 82 RBIs.  Conor Jackson had a disappointing season for the D-Backs power wise.  He played in 130 games this season and he was 118 of 415 (.284 avg, .835 OPS) with 56 runs scored, 15 homers and 60 RBIs.  EDGE:  CUBS

SECOND BASE:  Mark DeRosa will concentrate on second base in this series despite playing all over the diamond earlier this season.  DeRose has played in 149 games this season and he is 147 for 502 (.293 avg, .791 OPS) with 64 runs scored, 10 homers and 72 RBIs.  The D-Backs will be going with Augie Ojeda in place of the injured Orlando Hudson and it’s a huge dropoff.  Hudson is one of the best defensive 2B in the league and he’s a solid hitter.  Ojeda has been bouncing between AAA and the major leagues for a while now and he has never played well enough to stick in the bigs.  He played in 57 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 31 for 113 (.274 avg, .708 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 1 homer and 12 RBIs.  EDGE:  CUBS

SHORTSTOP:  Ryan Theriot adds a dimension of speed to the Cubs lineup.  He played in 148 games for the Cubs this season and he was 143 of 537 (.266 avg, .672 OPS) with 80 runs scored, 3 homers, 45 RBIs and 28 stolen bases.  Young Stephen Drew had an off year with the bat in his first full season in the major leagues.  Drew played in 150 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 129 for 543 (.238 avg, .683 OPS) with 60 runs scored, 12 homers and 60 RBIs.  EDGE:  EVEN

THIRD BASE:  Aramis Ramirez is one of the best third basemen in the major leagues.  He played in 132 games this season for the Cubs and he was 157 of 506 (.310 avg, .915 OPS) with 72 runs scored, 26 homers and 101 RBIs.  Rookie Mark Reynolds really stepped up after the D-Backs lost Chad Tracy to injury.  Reynolds played in 111 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 102 for 366 (.279 avg, .844 OPS) with 62 runs scored, 17 homers and 62 RBIs.  EDGE:  CUBS

LEFT FIELD:  This is the position that both teams have an elite player.  Alfonso Soriano is the leader of the Cubs offense as he makes it all go at the top of the order.  Soriano played in 135 games for the Cubs this season and he was 173 for 579 (.299 avg, .897 OPS) with 97 runs scored, 33 homers, 70 RBIs and 19 stolen bases.  The D-Backs MVP of the offense this season was Eric Byrnes.  Byrnes played in 160 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 179 for 626 (.286 avg, .813 OPS) with 103 runs scored, 21 homers, 83 RBIs and 50 stolen bases.  EDGE:  EVEN

CENTER FIELD:  Jacque Jones came on strong in the 2nd half of the season for the Cubs.  They had all but traded him to the Marlins in July but they might not have made the playoffs without his hot-hitting second half.  Jones played in 135 games this season for the Cubs and he was 129 of 453 (.285 avg, .735 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 5 homers and 66 RBIs.  Chris Young might not have hit for a decent batting average this season but was a run producer for the D-Backs.  Young played in 148 games and he was 135 for 569 (.237 avg, .762 OPS) with 85 runs scored, 32 homers, 68 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.  EDGE:  DIAMONDBACKS

RIGHT FIELD:  Cliff Floyd proved that he could still swing the bat when healthy.  He played in 108 games this season and he was 80 for 282 (.284 avg, .795 OPS) with 40 runs scored, 9 homers and 45 RBIs.  Rookie Justin Upton appeared slightly overmatched with the D-Backs but he will get the call in RF.  Upton played in 43 games this season with the D-Backs and he was 31 of 140 (.221 avg, .647 OPS) with 17 runs scored, 2 homers and 11 RBIs.  EDGE:  CUBS

STARTING PITCHING:  Carlos Zambrano is the ace of the Cubs but he must throw strikes to be effective.  He started 34 games this season for the Cubs and he was 18-13 with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.  Veteran lefty Ted Lilly was worth every dime the Cubs paid him this season.  He started 34 games for the Cubs this season and he was 15-8 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.  Young lefty Rich Hill will be the #3 starter in the first series for the Cubs.  He has outstanding stuff and he turned in a solid season for the Cubs.  Hill started 32 games this season for the Cubs and he was 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.  If the Cubs use a #4 starter it will be Jason Marquis.  Marquis started 33 games this season for the Cubs and he was 12-9 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.  Brandon Webb is the numero uno starting pitcher for the D-Backs.  Webb started in 34 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 18-10 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.  #2 in line will be veteran lefty Doug Davis.  Davis started 33 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 13-12 with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.  He must throw strikes in this series or the Cubs will make him pay.  Livan Hernandez is a money pitcher in the post season and he will pitch well against the Cubs.  Hernandez started 33 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 11-11 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.  Rookie Micah Owings will be the #4 starter if the D-Backs decide to use one.  Owings started 27 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.  EDGE:  SLIGHT FOR DIAMONDBACKS

BULLPEN:  Ryan Dempster is one of the most unreliable closers in baseball and it could hurt the Cubs in this series.  He pitched in 66 games this season and he was 2-7 with 28 saves, a 4.73 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.  Bobby Howry is the top setup man for the Cubs and he could fill in at closer if Lou Piniella gets upset with Dempster in this series.  Howry pitched in 78 games this season and he was 6-7 with 8 saves, a 3.32 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.  Carlos Marmol was the big find in the bullpen for the Cubs and he’s unhittable when he’s on his game.  He pitched in 59 games this season and he was 5-1 with 1 save, a 1.43 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.  In 69.1 innings this season Marmol only allowed a measly 41 hits while whiffing 96 batters!  Scott Eyre will be the main lefty out of the pen.  He was awful in the first half of the season and outstanding in the 2nd half of the season.  Eyre pitched in 55 games this season and he was 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.  Mike Wuertz also had a solid season as he worked in 73 games and he was 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  The bullpen is one of the biggest reasons for the Diamondbacks’ success this season.  Closer Jose Valverde was incredible this season!  He pitched in 65 games and he was 1-4 with 47 saves, a 2.66 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.  He whiffed 78 hitters in only 64.1 innings this year.  Brandon Lyon also turned in the best season of his major league career.  He has worked in 73 games this season and he was 6-4 with 2 saves, a 2.68 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.  Fireballer Tony Pena was also very good this season.  He worked in 75 games this year for the D-Backs and he was 5-4 with 2 saves, a 3.27 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.  Lefty Doug Slaten did a good job of handling lefty hitters as he worked in 61 games and he was 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.  Bob Wickman also could pitch in against the Cubs.  He worked in 57 games with the D-Backs and Braves this season and he was 3-4 with 20 saves, a 3.58 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.  Juan Cruz also had a outstanding season for the D-Backs as he worked in 53 games and he was 6-1 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.  He whiffed an amazing 87 batters in only 61 innings.  EDGE:  DIAMONDBACKS

BENCH:  The Cubs have a very talented bench.  Daryle Ward has turned into one of the best pinch hitters in all of baseball.  Ward played in 79 games for the Cubs this season and he was 36 for 110 (.327 avg, .963 OPS) with 16 runs scored, 3 homers and 19 RBIs.  Jason Kendall will be coming off the bench in this series as the Cubs are going with Soto as the starter.  Kendall played in 57 games with the Cubs and he was 47 of 174 (.270 avg, .718 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 1 homer and 19 RBI.  Matt Murton will probably platoon in right field with Cliff Floyd.  Murton played in 94 games for the Cubs this season and he was 66 for 235 (.281 avg, .790 OPS) with 35 runs scored, 8 homers and 22 RBIs.  Backup infielder Mike Fontenot also had a solid rookie season for the Cubs.  He played in 86 games for the Cubs this year and he was 65 for 234 (.278 avg, .738 OPS) with 32 runs scored, 3 homers and 29 RBIs.  Tony Clark is a huge weapon off the bench for the Diamondbacks because of his power.  He played in 113 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 55 for 221 (.249 avg, .821 OPS).  Outfielder Jeff Salazar will also probably get some playing time in this series.  Salazar played in 38 games this season for the D-Backs and he was 26 for 94 (.277 avg, .734 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 1 homer and 10 RBIs.  Young catcher Miguel Montero will also likely get some PT in this series as he shared the job with Chris Snyder this season.  Montero played in 84 games for the D-Backs and he was 48 for 214 (.224 avg, .689 OPS) with 30 runs scored, 10 homers and 37 RBIs.  Veteran Jeff Cirillo will provide a good bat off the bench despite his poor play with the D-Backs after they acquired him from the Twins.  Cirillo played in 28 games for the D-Backs and he was only 8 for 40 (.200 avg) with 6 runs scored and 6 RBIs.  Alberto Callaspo might get to share 2B with Augie Ojeda.  He played in 56 games this season with the D-Backs and he was 31 for 144 (.215 avg, .536 OPS) with 10 runs scored and 7 RBIs.  EDGE:  CUBS

PREDICTION:  The Diamondbacks lack of offense will hurt in this series as the Cubs also have a pretty good pitching staff.  Look for the Cubs to win this series in 4 games.

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1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Dillion Godard — February 29, 2008 @ 4:27 am

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