Catching An Unlucky Break

GAME 47 PREVIEW COLORADO ROCKIES (14-32) at CHICAGO CUBS (22-24) Wrigley Field, 12.05pm CT, TV: CSN
SP *Glendon Rusch SP Byung-Hyun Kim
SS Clint Barmes SS #Neifi Perez
2B Luis Gonzalez 2B *Todd Walker
1B *Todd Helton 1B Derrek Lee
CF Preston Wilson RF *Jeromy Burnitz
C Todd Greene 3B Aramis Ramirez
LF Matt Holliday CF *Corey Patterson
3B Garrett Atkins LF Jason Dubois
RF Dustin Mohr C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
I commented just yesterday that "Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Greg Maddux, Glendon Rusch and Sergio Mitre looks to be the rotation for the time being." That last all of a matter of hours, and so, the Cubs now have something in common with every other major league baseball team - no Mark Prior. He's been placed on the 15-day disabled list, with Roberto Novoa promoted from Iowa to the bullpen. One of Ryan Dempster or Todd Wellemeyer will probably move from relief back into the rotation. Todd Walker commented yesterday that the grass is partially responsible for our offence woes. Perhaps at his request the Cubs cut the grass a little shorter then, because the Cubs scored ten runs Friday and won comfortably. Or perhaps the bigger issue was that the wind was blowing out. If anything at Wrigley sets it apart from other ballparks, it's the wind rather than the grass. Wrigley can be transformed from Coors one day to PETCO the next all according to which way it blows. Andy Rutledge from the View From the Bleachers has been tracking the Cubs' performance so far this year and last, and his findings for this year in particular are startling - the Cubs have scored well over twice as many runs per game with the wind carrying the ball as with it holding it up. That's a ridiculous difference. Unlike the grass, is this then an adequate excuse? Again, not really, in my view. Scoring less runs due to the wind is nothing to be ashamed of. Being out-adapted by oppositions that aren't anywhere near as familiar with the conditions certainly is. The Cubs have played in Wrigley for many years now, and they above all should know then that they have to deal with the wind when it comes to formulating their team for the season, their lineup each day and their approach each at-bat. Anecdotally, all of us have noticed that the Cubs seem to go for the long ball regardless. The Cubs won't win like that. There's some good news though. Come the summer the wind tends to blow out more often, and that should help. Mark Prior or not, there's still not enough reason to completely give up on this team yet. Things could be a lot, lot worse. We could be the Rockies, for instance.
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