Posted on: June 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 7:03 pm
By Evan Brunell
PITCHING SHOWDOWN: One of the 4 p.m. games that we'll be chatting about pits two of the better pitchers going up against each other in Matt Garza and Cliff Lee. Both pitchers are less than impressive when you look at win-loss record (and hopefully the only ones that care about that mark at this point are fantasy baseball players with wins as a category) with Garza checking in at 2-5 for the bumbling Cubs while the Phillies are trying to hang onto first with a 5-5 mark from Cliff Lee. Garza's 4.07 ERA is a major disservice, as his 2.58 xFIP and 10.71 K/9 numbers indicate. Garza is pitching better than he ever has in Tampa, but you wouldn't know it from ERA. Lee, meanwhile, has a similar disparity between ERA and xFIP with a 3.62 ERA and 2.51 xFIP. This is actually a marquee pitching matchup -- you just wouldn't know it on first blush. Cubs at Phillies, 4:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)
SCUFFLING LEADERS: The Reds are in danger of slipping to .500 if they lose on Saturday to the Giants and are already five games behind the Cardinals and now have the Brewers making noise, too. The Reds are too good to let this recent funk last, but the Giants have their own problems. Still in first place up by two games, San Francisco has a lousy offense that has been compounded by injury troubles. The club appears to be on the verge of signing Bill Hall to step in at second base after Freddy Sanchez went down, but he probably won't be on deck for Saturday when Mike Leake, seeking his sixth victory, goes up against Tim Lincecum, also chasing his sixth victory. The similarities end there, as Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young Award winner with a 2.85 ERA while Leake has a 4.63 ERA and was demoted to the minors earlier this season. Reds at Giants, 4:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)
CHASE FOR .500: A team going after a .500 record isn't really of interest to the regular fan, sure, but .500 would be a moral victory for the clubs of the Pirates (who haven't reached that mark in 18 years) and Mets (what isn't wrong with the team?). Pittsburgh is just two away from the mark while New York's win will put them at .500 for the first time since May 20. R.A. Dickey, the erstwhile knuckleballer, will toe the mound for New York while Pittsburgh counters with James McDonald. If the Pirates want to turn their fortunes around, they might want to muster more than singles, as there have been zero extra-base hits by the team in the last two games. Saturday is also a milestone in Pittsburgh of some sort, as the team will finally play against Jason Bay (pictured) at PNC Park for the first time since the slugger was traded to Boston midway through 2008. Mets at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.