Series Preview: Worst Record vs Third-Worst Record

In Series Previews by berselius


As you might have heard, it’s the 100th anniversary of the opening of Wrigley Field this week. Seeing how the two teams that are playing are in the bottom five of the standings right now, it’s no wonder that the Cubs have been using “Party of the Century” as their main marketing gimmick this season. On Wednesday the teams will don Federal League jerseys to play each other, and I’m guessing they picked AZ to be the “Kansas City Packers” for peripheral rooting-against interests. Also, WTF is up with the Cubs marketing department? You couldn’t lean on MLB to make this a series with an actual old franchise, like the Cardinals or the Reds or something? This is pretty much the only marquee game they have this year.

Team Overviews

2014 numbers and NL rankings listed


  • wRC+: 75 (15th)
  • BSR: 0.6 (5th)
  • UZR: 2.6 (5th)
  • DRS: 5 (9th)
  • SP xFIP: 3.79 (12th)
  • RP xFIP: 4.51 (14th)


  • wRC+: 82 (12th)
  • BSR: -0.6 (11th)
  • UZR: -3.3 (12th)
  • DRS: -9 (15th)
  • SP xFIP: 4.15 (15th)
  • RP xFIP: 3.83 (9th)

1914 numbers and FL rankings listed (not as much data in B-Ref)

Federals (87-67)

  • OPS+: 100 (1st)
  • FIP: 2.81 (2nd)
  • Fld%: .962 (2nd)

Packers (67-84)

  • OPS+: 100 (2nd)
  • FIP: 3.00 (5th)
  • Fld%: .957 (5th)

News, notes, injuries, blood oaths, etc.

Jake Arrieta has a rehab start tonight with Daytona, and it will probably be his last one. Carlos Villanueva hasn’t done much to make Arrieta worried about getting the fifth starter spot. Rizzo left Saturday’s game with back spasms, but was back in the lineup the next day.

The Dbacks had a rough start to the year, even aside from their record. Planned opening day starter Patrick Corbin ended up on the operating table and is out for the year with TJS, along with sometime relief ace David Hernandez.

The Angels had a bit of cubes in them yesterday.

There was a big fight (in the baseball sense, at least) in yesterday’s Pirates-Brewers game after Carlos Gomez bat flipped and admired a triple that he thought was a HR. Gerrit Cole got into it with him, then things got out of hand, some punches were thrown, and Gomez and Travis Snider got ejected. No word yet on suspensions for anyone, but I have a feeling it’s going to be more than just Gomez.

Probable Pitchers

projected FIP, current xFIP listed for each pitcher.

Monday: Bronson Arroyo, RHP (4.52, 4.79) vs Travis Wood, LHP (4.1, 3.13), 7:05 PM CT

The fact that Arroyo was one of the more sought after pitchers on this year’s FA market says a lot more about the market than it does about Arroyo. I don’t think there’s any other pitcher that I hate watching the Cubs lose to more than this junkballer. At least I remembered he’s a RHP this time. He’s been hammered in his starts so far, most recently giving up 9 runs to the Mets vaunted offense.

I wonder if Wood and Samardzija have a side bet going as to who will get less run support this season. According to ESPN, Samardzija is in the lead with 1.75 runs per start, with Wood coming in a close second at 2 runs. I’m not sure if they count total runs scored that game or runs scored while in the game. I’d lean towards the former from what I remember of their starts.

Tuesday: Brandon McCarthy, RHP (3.96, 3.37) vs Jason Hammel, RHP (4.17, 3.87), 7:05 PM CT

Hammel hasn’t had much in the way of run support either (3.33 per start, ‘top’ 20 in the league). He’s pitched into the seventh inning in all of his starts, and looked pretty good against the Yankees but took the loss due to an outbreak of Cubes defense. Still, if he keeps this up the Cubs can probably get something half-decent for him at the deadline.

McCarthy has also been hit hard this year, though given the Dbacks record I could probably say that about all their pitchers. He’s managed to go into at least the 6th inning in all of his starts, but has given up 6 HR already on the season. He hasn’t walked many batters, so he will likely continue that trend this week.

Wednesday: Wade Miley, LHP (3.85, 3.80) vs Jeff Samardzija, RHP (3.42, 3.36), 1:20 PM CT

Miley ended up as the Dbacks surprise ‘opening day’ starter in Australia after Patrick Corbin’s elbow broke. He’s been fairly credible so far this year (incredible if you compare his stats to the rest of the staff), and is coming off a five-walk outing. Miley is mostly a sinker-slider guy, and has good-but-not-Brandon-Webb GB rates. Though to be fair, few other sinkerballers are that good either.

As mentioned above, Shark has had next to no run support this year. His split is probably the best pitch on the staff. It would be fun to see him bust out an eephus or something in honor of the throwback uniforms day.

Thursday: Mike Bolsinger, RHP (4.23, 3.22) vs Edwin Jackson, RHP (3.71, 4.51), 1:20 PM CT

Bolsinger was recently bumped up to the rotation following Trevor Cahill‘s demotion, and his first start of the year was a shelling by the Dodgers last week. We don’t have a lot of pfx data on him, as this is his first season, but so far he has mostly thrown fastballs (~90 mph), along with cutter and a curve.

Jackson finally had a start that didn’t spark another round of OMG JACKSON SUCKS BIG MISTAKE on twitter, which was nice to see. His fastball velocity looked pretty good, and looking over his pfx numbers the drop in his mph over the past 2-3 years wasn’t as bad as I remembered. He has a 32.8% LD percentage and another super low strand rate, which explains his ERA. I still think he’ll turn it around this year and eat some innings for the team.

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