scroll down for the latest: game 2 preview
The Cubs and Diamondbacks get together for a four-spot in Phoenix on Thursday. Both teams are 10-13 and looking a little shaky. If there's anything beyond home field advantage working for the Diamondbacks, it will be the four right-handed pitchers they'll send out during the series. The Cubs will miss the only Arizona left-hander, Joe Saunders, who they faced earlier this month.
The Cubs have managed a 5-11 record against right-handed pitchers in 2011, with the same number of wins against southpaws in nine fewer games. Small sample sizes are one thing, but that's becoming downright scary. It speaks to the lack of production from Carlos Pena and Tyler Colvin. Kosuke Fukudome is hitting and getting on base, but the Cubs other lefty bat, Blake DeWitt, is mostly MIA.
The rain out on getaway day allows the Cubs to move Casey Coleman into the slot that would've been filled by James Russell, or facsimile thereof.
We'll go one game at a time.
Game 1: Ryan Dempster vs. Barry Enright
Enright has been consistently meh this season. Into the fifth each time, but no more than 18 outs a game, he's giving up 4+ runs a game and got tagged for 12 hits in his most recent start.
Here's refresher (and a previous preview) on the fastball/sinker/slider/change/curve throwing righty.
His overall pitch mix for your enjoyment, but we'll get into some more recent, granular and relevant numbers, too.
Gotta click these, no squinting (all of the images click-to-enlarge in the same window).
Enright is able to hit the low-and-away corner against righties (his glove side) regularly.
Zooming in on 2011, Enright's pitch selection seems to be trending. Check-out the splits by game.
Here's how he approached the Cubs, and each time through the order (2+).
Notice the change-up pattern, expect an inversion of the splits from April 5 if the trend holds. The curveball may be back in play, too.
Taking a look at Dempster the same way, who threw against the snakes the day after the Enright game.
More on game day.
Game 2: Carlos Zambrano vs. Armando Galarraga
Game 1 was awful. Demspter got one out, had no control and got lit up for seven runs.
Let's put that out of mind (for now) and start thinking about Armando. He beat the Cubs in Wrigley on April 6, so we can dive into that as the day goes on (trickling the updates when I have time, so keep coming back, oh loyal reader). I didn't run a preview for that start, so let's begin with what he throws. Sinker/slider in a nutshell.
Click to enlarge, as usual.
Pitch selection, through the years.
Looks to be chucking more four-seamers this year. It's early, though.
Hitters should take the Dixieland approach. Look away.
Here's how Galarraga approached the Cubs last time. He faced Fukudome four times, with nothing but a four-seam fastball that Kosuke went after on the first pitch.
I love how he threw six straight sliders to Sori on the first go-round.
More later, mabye.
Game 3: Matt Garza vs. Ian Kennedy
Game 4: Casey Coleman vs. Daniel Hudson