Blue Jays writer Amy Swenson always will have a special place in my heart when it comes to scouting reports and previews, but this collaboration with Aerys Sports Cubs writer Julie DiCaro takes the cake.
Sheâ€™s my boss, thatâ€™s why.
In a Chicago Cubs vs. New York Yankees edition of Match Game, we take a look at the good trends, the things weâ€™d rather forget, and which players we wouldnâ€™t mind, you know, misplacing for a while.
- Both the Yankees and the Cubs enter this series having won their last series. The biggest reason for those wins, and what the Cubs need to continue to do, is not suck. No, seriously. This team has found ways to lose in spectacular fashion â€” base-running mistakes, multiple errors, terrible bullpen appearances. Bad fundamental baseball. If they can play halfway decent baseball for three games, they might have a shot.
- Injuries have been an issue for the Cubs. Missing 95 percent of the team from the lineup has really hurt because we’re basically playing with our AAA team. Well, okay, not anymore. But up until about a week ago, that was the case. That’s why it was so funny when people jumped all over Carlos Zambrano for saying the Cubs played like a AAA team. They basically WERE a AAA team! Having Alfonso Soriano back is going to be HUGE for this team.
- One word to describe the Cubs rotation would be icky. It looked so good at the beginning of the season! Then Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells went down (we still don’t have Cashner back), and the Cubs were forced to parade a bunch of mediocre middle relievers out there. Ryan Dempster hasn’t been himself, Matt Garza isn’t the â€œaceâ€ the Cubs tried to convince us we were getting, and Randy Wells still isn’t back to his old self. Thank God for Zambrano, who’s been solid all season.
- One word to describe the way this team makes me feel lately is stabby. Watching this team implode has been painful. Listening to owner Tom Ricketts blame their terrible play on injuries has been even worse. The bottom line is that this team was a .500 team at best even before half the team wound up on DL. Anything more than is over-achieving.
- If I could drop one member of this team down a well, it would be middle reliever James Russell. He’s been okay in relief, but he just might have been the worst starter in the history of baseball. He’s back in the bullpen, but still not sure Cubs fans have forgiven him for being so bad at baseball.
- The player that most frightens me on the opposing team is Mariano Rivera, because, well, doesn’t he frighten everyone?
Ashley Teatum, Spreadinâ€™ the News
- Both the Yankees and the Cubs enter this series having won their last series. The biggest reason for those wins, and what the Yankees/Cubs need to continue to do, is finding a way to score runs without the #EvilHomeRun. While Mark Teixeira hit the 20 homer mark for the ninth year in a row in the second game against Texas, and Curtis Granderson went deep in the first, those werenâ€™t the only saving graces for New York. Brett Gardnerâ€™s RBI single in the 12th inning helped the Yankees complete the three-game sweep.
- Injuries have been an issue for the Yankees. Missing Derek Jeter from the lineup has really hurt because I predicted that heâ€™d hit No. 3,000 this week in Chicago. What kind of sports writer does that make me now that my prediction wonâ€™t come true? All kidding aside, the Swankees have taken over the bottom of the order, and Eduardo Nunez has been quite the replacement in Jeterâ€™s stead. In the second game, Nuney went 2 for 4 with a solo shot â€” er, what was I saying about too many #EvilHomeRuns? â€” Â and I donâ€™t cringe as much anymore when the ball grounds to him in the infield.
- One word to describe the Yankees rotation would be complete, now that Brian Gordon has come to save the day and opt out of his contract with Philadelphia. The meat of the rotation will pitch in Chicago this week, with Freddy Garcia starting things off today. He was a little shaky in his last few starts, but a stolid defense behind him, not to mention some big offense from the Yankees, definitely helped.
- One word to describe the way this team makes me feel lately is wishy-washy, Charlie Brown. Itâ€™s like that LFO song. Sometimes theyâ€™re good, sometimes theyâ€™re bad, sometimes they wear Abercrombie and Fitch. A three-game sweep of Texas gave the Yankees a bit of a rebound, and they can just find a way to be consistent. Perhaps a Cubbies series is just the fix they need.
- If I could drop one member of this team down a well, it would be Ivan Nova. Come on, dude, you were great in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and now youâ€™ve turned into my personal Ryan Howard (hereâ€™s the joke: Ryan Howard steps to the plate. Heâ€™s got two options: Home run or strikeout. â€¦Thatâ€™s the punchline.) Nova will either turn in a stellar performance, or get pulled after four innings. Luckily for New York? Heâ€™s not pitching this series.
- The player that most frightens me on the opposing team is Carlos Zambrano because I think heâ€™s in the baseball-player-robot-conspiracy with Albert Pujols and Cliff Lee.
Today, 2:20: Yankees RHP Freddy Garcia (5-5, 3.60) vs. Chicago LHP Doug Davis (0-5, 5.90).
Saturday, 4:10 p.m.: Yankees RHP A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.09) vs. Chicago RHP Ryan Dempster (5-5, 5.48).
Sunday, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN): Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (8-4, 3.28) vs. Chicago RHP Randy Wells (1-1, 5.63).
Yankees lineup â€“ with Nick Swisher leading off once again
Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS
Brett Gardner LF