Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) at Chicago Cubs (1-2)

In Series Previews by berselius

Cubs HOF Ryne Sandberg returns to Wrigley for the Cubs home opener. The Phillies opened the season with a 14-10 win against the Rangers in which included a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Cliff Lee picking up a win for giving up eight runs in five innings.

Team Overviews

These are 2013 numbers, NL rank is in parens


  • wRC+: 87 (14th)
  • BSR: -8.7 (12th)
  • UZR: 37.3 (2nd)
  • DRS: 26 (7th)
  • SP FIP- : 103 (10th)
  • RP FIP- : 109 (14th)


  • wRC+: 89 (13th)
  • BSR: -11 (14th)
  • UZR: -65.9 (15th)
  • DRS: -102 (15th)
  • SP FIP- : 102 (9th)
  • RP FIP- : 107 (13th)

Looking at the numbers, it’s kind of amazing that the Phillies won seven more games than the Cubs last year. Now they’re another year older, with the only major acquisitions being A.J. Burnett and Marlon Byrd, who aren’t exactly young themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish behind the Marlins this year.

Injury Report

SP Cole Hamels is dealing with tendinitis in his biceps, and it looks like he won’t be back for a month or so. Freddy Galvis is down with MSRA, but should be back in a week or two. The Phillies are probably lucky that he’s the only one on the roster with the problem.

Nothing much new on the Cubs side. Jake Arrieta traveled with the team and was supposed to throw a simulated game this week. He’ll make a rehab start with the Smokies on Sunday.

News, Notes, Blood Oaths, etc.

Complainers gotta complain. As a part of their deal with the city on the Wrigley renovations the Cubs had to expand their parking options (and make it free). So they rented a lot west of the park off of Irving Park, and the nearby residents are kinda pissed. I for one know that if I live next to a gigantic parking lot I would get very annoyed if people were parking in it. The very idea!

Tom Ricketts must have been hanging out in Green Bay this offseason, because the team is now considering selling ‘minority shares’ to help finance the Wrigley renovation. Needless to say, they would be non-controlling shares.

Former Cubs prospect, and centerpiece of the first Matt Garza deal, Chris Archer signed a long term extension with the Rays yesterday. I know Myles was a big fan of this but I still remain skeptical of Archer for the same reasons that I did at the time of the trade. He’s posted BB/9 in the 4-5 range over his whole minor league career and he also vastly outperformed his strikeout rates. I think he’s most likely just okay, but at least the Rays won’t be on the hook for *too* much money if his numbers get hit with the regression bat even harder than I think they will.

Junior Lake grabbed the wrong uniform before the game yesterday:

He realized it not long after Len and JD did – you could see him figuring it out on camera. He just saw two gray jerseys in his locker and grabbed one, an understandable mistake.

This happened yesterday, and I’m still laughing (and can’t figure out how to embed a vine, apparently)

Pitching Matchups

Projected ERA and FIP listed for each pitcher

Friday: Roberto Hernandez, RHP (5.02, 4.77) vs Travis Wood, LHP (3.88, 4.18), 1:20 PM CT

Previously known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez is hoping for a bounce-back year with the Phillies. He burst on the scene in his first full year as a starter in 2007, going 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA and a zillion ground balls, but since then he hasn’t come close to those numbers. He posted a 5.25 ERA in 2011, starting the year with a 10-run outing on opening day, and missed most of 2012 with visa issues and suspension related to his identity fraud. He made 24 replacement level starts with the Rays last year. For a guy who generates so many ground balls, he has a relatively low BABIP. Something tells me pitching in front of the Phillies defense is not going to help that number.

Wood gets the home opener start after a solid season. Wood’s xFIP last year was 4.50, and time will tell if he can maintain his crazy low BABIP (career .264) and keep the ball in the park.

Saturday: Cliff Lee, LHP (3.04, 2.91) vs Jeff Samardzija, RHP (3.56, 3.45), 1:20 PM CT

As mentioned above, Lee had a rough opening day for the Phils but came away with a win anyway. Lee is a strike throwing machine and leads all starters by a wide margin in BB% over the past 4 seasons. The Rangers roughed him up, but this Cubs lineup is not quite the Rangers.

Shark pitched seven shutout innings in the Cubs opener, walking two and striking out three. Shark mentioned in interviews this week that he’s focusing on efficiency, so we might see him work deeper into games with lower strikeout totals this year.

Sunday: A.J. Burnett, RHP (3.94, 3.81) vs Carlos Villanueva, RHP (3.79, 3.90), 1:20 PM CT

Villanueva ended up on the mound at the end of both extra inning games against the Pirates, and finds himself 0-2 before his first start. He’s still slated to start the game but he’ll probably be on a short leash. Renteria and the coaching staff planned to meet with the FO today to decide if they want to make other plans, but from the looks of it he’s probably ok. According to Muskat he threw a bullpen session today and says he feels good to go.

Burnett’s first outing turned out much better than Lee’s – he gave up one run in six innings. It’s still kind of puzzling why he was so indecisive this offseason about wanting to re-sign with the Pirates or retire, and then out of nowhere signed on with this trainwreck of a team. There were 16 million reasons for him to go to Philly I guess, but it’s not like the Pirates were offering him league minimum.



  • CF Bonifacio
  • SS Castro
  • 1B Rizzo
  • RF Schierholtz
  • 3B Valbuena
  • C Castillo
  • LF Sweeney
  • 2B Barney
  • P Wood


  • CF Revere
  • SS Rollins
  • 2B Utley
  • RF Byrd
  • 1B Howard
  • C Ruiz
  • LF Brown
  • 3B Asche
  • P Hernandez



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