THE VIEW FROM THE CROWS NEST
We don't put much faith in ST numbers around here as any kind of tell, so there's not a lot to speak to other than the accomplishments of last year and the heightened expectations for this year. As of this writing, they've already blasted the Angels twice and as such, their hurlers have quieted the Angels bats and Trout and Pujols have been held without a single base knock between them and you know what they say about good pitching... that's right it's always nice to have.. or better than two in the bush or something.
If there's any team that has loftier expectations placed upon them by the Media then I must still be living in a bubble. They have young talent (Bryant, Schwarber, Soler), up and coming talent (Rizzo, Arrieta, Russell), Established vets (Lackey, Montero) and Free Agent bonafides (Hayward, Zobrist, Lester) and a Manager who seams to be the player whisperer (Maddon). They are sporting that certain something something that makes them everyone's darling this year to end curses, win flags and represent.
As we well know, sometimes you're just a key player injury away from moving into "what might have been" or even "what could have been territory". I wouldn't wish that on Cubs fans, just that if good things happen, please don't turn into Red Sox fans, willya?
So... in this case, we have old numbers and ST numbers and I can certainly make some up, but at this point, it's hard to trend anything, so I'll refrain and just list who's pitching and you can draw your own conclusions as to where the supposed advantages lay:
John Lackey vs Rubby De La Rosa - I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say advantage Cubs
Jason Hammel vs. Robbie Ray - I still have to think that Hammel has to be pinching himself thinking that he doesn't have to have half of his starts in Coors Field. I fully expect this to be a pretty even game.
Kyle Hendricks vs. Zack Grienke - Lets hope that Zack is over the flu
Jake Arrieta vs. Shelby Miller - I'd say Advantage Cubs (as would anyone with any sense).
closed until there are some real numbers relevant to this year, but on a who to watch guideline, I'll just cop out and say that the Cubs are an exceptionally solid team with few, if any weaknesses, maybe they're #4 and 5 starters perhaps? The odd bullpen arm? 25th man depth issues?
With the threshold only being five runs, I think we get there twice, with the Jumbo Jack barometer also being set at 2 for 4.
It's really hard to say, did Zack and Shelby press, were they ill or is this a case of everyone kicking patootie for their former employer but not their current one? I think we can compete with the Cubs, but I also fully expect that the Cubs are plenty competent and capable on their own. I suspect that we manage a series split with them but that it won't be easy (as few things are with the DBacks).