Doubleheader Preview: Chicago Cubs (4-8) at New York Yankees (7-6)

In Series Previews by berselius


Rain turned this short series into a day-night doubleheader. The two teams will meet again in mid-May, and hopefully we won’t have to get bummed out yet again by seeing Tanaka on the mound in a Yankees jersey. Aside from Tanaka, the Yankees also picked up Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason. I guess that’s an okay FA haul.

Team Overviews

(Respective league ranks in parens)


  • 2013/2014 wRC+: 87 (14th), 76 (13th)
  • 2013 BSR: -8.7 (12th)
  • 2013 UZR: 37.3 (2nd)
  • 2013 DRS: 26 (7th)
  • 2013/2014 SP FIP-: 103 (10th), 89 (2nd)
  • 2013/2014 RP FIP-: 109 (14th), 132 (14th)


  • 2013/2014 wRC+: 85 (14th), 114 (3rd)
  • 2013 BSR: -1.9 (10th)
  • 2013 UZR: 12.5 (7th)
  • 2013 DRS: 21 (3rd)
  • 2013/2014 SP FIP-: 95 (3rd), 97 (8th)
  • 2013/2014 RP FIP-: 96 (12th), 103 (8th)

The Yankees biggest problem last year was their offense, and so far it looks like they have righted that ship. Of course, their other big problem is age, and the injuries plaguing this roster aren’t that surprising in a general sense. I am a little surprised to see how well they performed defensively last year, but I’m probably just projecting Pasta Diving Jeter onto the rest of the field.


Derek Jeter has been dealing with a quad issue and missed the last two games. It sounds like he should be ready to go today, however. Speaking of day-to-day aging middle infielders, perennial Jim Hendy favorite Brian Roberts is dealing with a back issue. C/1B Francisco Cervelli suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday’s game and was put on the 60-day DL. He was filling in for Mark Teixeira, who suffered a less-major hamstring strain earlier this month and should be back in the next week or so.

For the Cubs, Kyuji Fujikawa seems to have suffered a setback in his road back from TJS, and Jake Arrieta threw 3 2/3 innings last Thursday. He still needs two or three more starts before he’ll be ready for a callup.

News, notes, blood oaths, etc.

Darnell McDonald retired a few weeks back, and the Cubs just hired him as a front office assistant. It sounds like he’ll be doing some scouting and coaching type stuff, hoping that his good-clubhouse-guy-ness will rub off on the youngsters.

Jeff Samardzija is backing the Northwestern players who are trying to form a union and generally take down the crazy NCAA system. At first glance it’s not surprising, considering how he could have made a lot more money in college off his name playing for ND, but to his credit he frames it in terms of the no-name players and guys who get injured. Of course it’s more complicated than most of the narrative we’ve seen (e.g. Jon Stewart’s excellent piece on TDS last week), but something is going to need to change at some point.

Muskat wrote a great piece about (suddenly) beloved former Cub Alfonso Soriano and his positive impact on the young players with the team.

Pitching Matchups

Projected ERA and current xFIP listed for each pitcher

Early Game: Jason Hammel, RHP (4.16, 3.74) vs Masahiro Tanaka, RHP (3.74, 1.80), 12:05 PM CT

Hammel has looked pretty good so far, going into at least the 7th inning in both of his starts and holding a 11:2 strikeout to walk ratio. He gave up a bunch of solo shots to the Pirates in his last start, but that was kind of a strange day all around. Hammel throws a sinker semi-regularly, but hasn’t gotten that many grounders this year.

Tanaka’s the guy we all wanted, but not at the price the Yankees paid for him. He’s struck out 18 and only walked one batter in his two starts, both of which went seven innings. Teams have been able to get some runs off of him, but he should have some fun with this Cubs lineup. He’s got a great splitter that he uses for his out pitch, and has averaged a little over 93 on his fastball.

Late Game: Travis Wood, LHP (3.88, 2.75) vs Michael Pineda, RHP (4.58, 3.54), 6:05 PM CT

Wood has been striking out a ton of batters this year, nearly doubling his strikeout rate from last year. Early season statistics FTW. He’s also been atypically getting a lot of ground balls. He’s had no drop in velocity from his last two years, so it doesn’t look like there’s trouble lurking on the horizon *knocks on wood*.

Pineda was excoriated by the baseball-o-sphere when cameras saw that he was probably doctoring the baseball with some pine tar in his last start. The horrors! He’s currently appealing a 50 game suspension for use of performance enhancing substances. Oh, wait. This is something every pitcher tries to do if he can get away with it, and no one in the game seems to care? Grumble. Pineda came to the Yankees in 2012 for Jesus Montero, in a trade that worked out poorly for both teams. Montero has been sub-replacement level since joining the Mariners, and Pineda promptly got hurt after joining the Yankees and missed the next two seasons. He only threw about 40 innings of pro ball last year, so hopefully the Yankees aren’t counting on him to do too much this season.


12:05 Game


  • 2B Bonifacio
  • CF Ruggiano
  • 1B Rizzo
  • RF Schierholtz
  • SS Castro
  • LF Lake
  • 3B Valbuena
  • DH Olt
  • C Baker
  • SP Hammel


  • LF Gardner
  • RF Beltran
  • CF Ellsbury
  • DH Adolfo
  • C McCann
  • 2B Solarte
  • 1B Johnson
  • SS Anna
  • 3B Sizemore
  • SP Tanaka

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