Giant Killers(?)- Giants at Cubs May 13-15

Just as one diminutive former LSU infielder leaves town, one comes in for the weekend with the 2010 World Series Champion Giants.  The Champs are leading the NL West by a slim one-game margin, but are on a blistering six game winning streak.  Much of their success on this streak has been due to timely hitting, quality starts out of their starters, and the fact they faced the Diamondbacks this week.  Basically, they have been beating the teams they are supposed to... a strategy that the Cubs are yet to fully comprehend.

 

The Cubs put their best-ish foot forward in terms of starters this weekend, and look to cap this homestand on a positive note (read: series win). 

 

 

Friday, May 13
Madison Bumgarner (0-5, 4.21 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (1-4, 7.20 ERA)

 

It's Friday the 13th and that can only mean one thing: the Cubs are bound to have timely hitting today.  Well, that or a hockey mask wearing monster is going to terrorize the inhabitants of a lakeside camp.  I'm really pulling for the former.

 

Everyone's favorite redhead (not named Matt Murton) is coming off his second quality start in two outings.  Dempster is executing his pitches with more confidence and control than earlier in the season and the results are showing up on the field and in the boxscore (as AJ alluded to earlier).  As it always is with Clownsevelt, he needs to keep the ball in the yard to have success.

 

Madison Bumgarner is searching for his first win of the season despite putting together three straight quality starts coming into this series.  In his last 19 IP, Bumgarner has struck out 19 batters.

 

Scouting Report: Bumgarner was brought up in 2009 and there was a lot of talk about the drastic drop in velocity in his pitching repertoire in his debut.  In 2010, Madison answered those questions by picking his velocity up.  Bumgarner features a middle of the road fastball in the low 90s that can touch 94-95.  This is his primary pitch (about 59% of the time).  His preferred secondary offering is a mid-80s slider (29%).  He also features a low-80s changeup with heavy sink and a sweeping curveball in the mid-70s.  The slider is his best "swing and miss" pitch but he primarily only features it consistently against lefties, preferring to throw occasionally inside against righties.  Bumgarner is a control pitcher that prefers to work away from hitters, especially when he's in a pitchers count.  Walks have been a bit of an issue this year with a 3.47 BB/9, meaning a lot of hitters have been laying off his outside breaking stuff.  If the Cubs can stay patient and not swing at every breaking ball in the dirt, they could have decent success.

 

Saturday, May 14

Ryan Vogelsong (2-0, 3.05 ERA) vs. Doug Davis (N/A)

 

If you happen to have an urge to watch baseball on Saturday and have about 5 hours to kill, this will be your "Game of the Week."  The crafty lefty Doug Davis makes his triumphant return to the mound and will be in no rush to get the game moving.  Davis, deliberate in almost a Trachsel-esque manner, works slowly, steadily, and with no real awareness of his surroundings.  This game will likely be one of the longer contests we see this year (assuming Davis only gets one start... HURRY ON YOUR REHAB CASH AND WELLS!)

 

Vogelsong is another journeyman that has had a rash of success for the Giants thus far.  In his most recent start he threw 6.1 shutout innings against the Rockies and has picked up two wins in three starts since rejoining the rotation.

 

Scouting Report:  Honestly, I don't know much about Vogelsong.  Until last year, he last pitched in the majors in 2006 for the Pirates and then went over to Japan.  He features four pitches: a low 90s fastball, a cutter, a curve and a changeup.  He walks about 3 batters per nine innings and doesn't have a particularly high strikeout rate.  It appears a lot of his success this season has been due to his defense as hitters only have a .193 BABIP.  At some point this will likely regress to the mean of his .300 career mark, leading to some rough starts ahead for him.  Hopefully Saturday will be one of them.

 

Sunday, May 15

Tim Lincecum (3-3, 2.11 ERA) vs. Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 4.35 ERA)

 

Zambrano likes facing the Giants.  He is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA in about 70 IP.  He looks to get his first home win of the season the hard way by facing off against Tim Lincecum, soon to be of Head and Shoulders fame (I mean, look at that mane!). 

 

Lincecum enjoys dominating hitters when he's not fielding questions about toking up or who he's voting for in the Teen Choice Awards.  In his last start, Big Time Timmy Jim took a no-hitter into the sixth against the Diamondbacks.  He also has a 17 inning scoreless streak going into his start on Sunday. 

 

Scouting Report: Tim Lincecum is very, very good.  That is all you need to know.  End.

 

Ok, fine.  He warrants more than that.  The kid already is a Cy Young machine, has one of the most unique deliveries in baseball, and is already a perennial All-Star.  Timmy Jim has a long stride and straight  over-the-top delivery which allows him to get as much leverage on the ball as his frame can handle.  He features three plus pitches: fastball, a curve, and a change.  The fastball sits in the low 90s and he now features a two-seam fastball some of the time.  His changeup might be the best in baseball right now and he throws it for a strike 75% of the time.  He gets a lot of swings and misses out of the zone which helps him maintain his high 10.73 K/9 and keeps his K/BB rate greater than 3.7.  This kid is sick.  He's mortal at times, but he's sick.  Exactly the type of ace you want to have on your staff.  We can only hope the Cubs get to him early and don't allow him to settle in.

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