Cubs Down to 31 Healthy Bodies
I lost track there for a bit, but it seems the Cubs have moved 10 bodies since my last update: D. McDonald, Javier Baez, T. Wada, N. Ramirez, B. Parker, B. Schlitter, C. Yong-Lim, C. Valaika, C. Wells and J. Sanchez. Wada was subsequently re-signed to a minor league deal today.
LOCKED IN (MOST LIKELY) - 23
Position Players: Castillo, Kottaras, Rizzo, Castro, Barney, Schierholtz, Ruggiano, Lake, Sweeney, Valbuena
SP: Samardzija, Wood, E. Jackson, Hammel, C. Rusin
RP: Veras, Strop, Wright, Russell, Carlos Villanueva, A. Cabrera, Grimm, Rondon
DISABLED LIST - 3
Fukijawa, Arrieta, J. McDonald
ON THE BUBBLE - 6
Murphy, Olt, Roberts(NRI), Bonifacio(NRI), Kalish (NRI), Coughlan(NRI)
MOST LIKELY CUT OR OPTIONED - 2
J. Baker (NRI), E. Whiteside (NRI)
ALREADY OPTIONED OR RELEASED - 32
Soler, Bryant, Almora, Alcantara, Szczur, Watkins, Valdez(NRI), Pimentel(NRI), Jokisch(NRI), A. Cunningham, M. Hatley (NRI), Beeler, Hendricks(NRI), Rosscup, J. Vitters, B. Jackson, Christian Villanueva, A. Vizcaino, A. Rivero(NRI), M. Maier(NRI), R. Lopez(NRI), Baez (NRI), T. Wada (NRI), T. Hottovy (NRI), D. McDonald(NRI), N. Ramirez, B. Parker, J. Sanchez (NRI), Yong-Lim (NRI), B. Schlitter (NRI), C. Valaika (NRI), C. Wells(NRI)
Since most teams break camp with 13 pitchers, it appears all 4 left are gonna make the team; Rusin as your 5th starter, Villanueva to the pen(guess they could flip-flop) with Cabrera, Grimm and Rondon also breaking camp with the club. I'm presuming J. McDonald will find his way to the disabled list of course.
That leaves 2 spots open for the 8 position players in camp that I still consider on the bubble. Baker and Whiteside don't look like they'll dethrone Kottares for the back-up catching duties, so scratch them off. Valbuena is having too good a camp to be cut, so he will either take the majority of at-bats at third base if they're not quite ready to give Mike Olt the permanent job, or maybe act as a flex starter splitting time between 2b and 3b depending on match-ups. Regardless, his roster spot is safe, which leaves just the 2 open spots for Olt, Murphy, Roberts, Bonifacio, Kalish and Coghlan.
Unless Olt's shoulder needs some more time, I'd be surprised if he doesn't head north with the club. He's had a good spring and not much left for him in the minors to learn, leaving 1 spot for Murphy, Roberts, Bonifacio, Kalish and Coughlan. If they're going by spring training numbers, Roberts has the edge by OPS: Roberts (.767), Bonifacio (.695), Kalish (.689). Coghlan (.621), Murphy (.589). Positonal versatility may be the key, or at the very least an ability to play some outfield so the Cubs have a 5th outfielder, in which case Roberts and Murphy sink to the bottom with Bonifacio, Kalish and Coglan edging towards the front. Of course last man on is usally first man off, so don't get too worked up over it.
In other news, Castro took some minor league at-bats today and seems to believe he'll have no problem being ready for Opening Day which I presume the Cubs agree, otherwise Baez would probably still be in camp.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.