Not Mark Prior

GAME 51 PREVIEW CHICAGO CUBS (26-24) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (26-25) Dodger Stadium, 9.10pm CT, TV: ESPN2, FSN2
SP Derrek Lowe SP *John Koronka
SS #Neifi Perez SS #Cesar Izturis
3B #Enrique Wilson 3B Antonio Perez
1B Derrek Lee CF *JD Drew
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 2B Jeff Kent
2B *Todd Walker 1B Olmedo Saenz
CF *Corey Patterson
d>RF Jayson Werth LF Todd Hollandsworth C Jason Phillips C Michael Barrett LF Mike Edwards Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot The Cubs' system is chock-a-block with pitching. Yet filling in today for the Mark Prior as the Cubs try to run the streak to a season-high six with a first sweep of the Dodgers in LA for a decade will be a real non-prospect making his major league debut. Koronka's not yet 25, but he's already into the eighth season of a minor league career over which he has a 4.41 ERA. If that doesn't say it all for his talent, his fastball doesn't reach the nineties, and his only quality off-speed offering is his changeup. The Cubs' decision to add him to the 40-man roster last November was then at best rather bizarre. Their decision to actually use him in a major-league game today probably borders on capitulation (of course, now that I've forecast him getting tatooed left, right and centre, watch for him throwing shutout ball). Strangely the decision makes some sense though. Besides Sergio Mitre, of all our prospects only Angel Guzman and Jerome Williams are refined enough to comfortably handle the jump to the majors. The diagnosis on Guzman though is a strained right forearm, and at best he'll only throw his first pitches since the spring in a few days' time. Jerome Williams meanwhile has struggled terribly of late, and the decision to place him for a while at Iowa, where he last night threw six solid innings (2 runs on 8 hits, 1 crushed home run that was only just fair, no walks and 4 strikeouts), is entirely the correct one in my view - he needs some confidence running through his veins again. Behind Guzman and Williams lies a whole host of talent, led by Renyel Pinto, Ricky Nolasco and Rich Hill from West Tennessee. Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt. Is that the wisest way to treat prospects? It's debatable. Of the more experienced options, the Cubs' decision to leave Todd Wellemeyer and Ryan Dempster, who've both started games this year, in the bullpen where they seem to have found a groove is probably wise. Though he only throws in the mid-eighties, Raul Valdez, signed out of the Dominican Republic last year, throws a wide variety of pitches at a wide variety of speeds from the left side, but he would be going on short rest today and he'd require someone being kicked off the forty. Jon Leicester meanwhile started a previous emergency start, but he was roughed up a bit by the Mets in that game and he's lost Dusty's faith. And that really leaves just Koronk-urgh. It's not ideal, but for today, it'll have to do. Hopefully the offence shows up, hopefully Valdez or Leicester can start next time around, and hopefully Mark Prior gets well soon. Roll on, Cubbies, roll on. [UPDATE Rob G.] I'm going to try and do a running diary of the game (twins permitting), updating every half inning or so.

Comments

Enrique Wilson at 3rd, batting 2nd.

I think I just threw up in my mouth...

No word yet on who got sent down????

It was Leicester.

Dear John Hill,

Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt.

Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start.

If my eyes did not just deceive (watching GameCenter), Latroy just gave up a grand slam in relief in the 8th. Poor guy.

stupid ChiSox... lose already... I am missing the Cubs game!!!!!! stupid CSN+ for allowing no extra time. stupid black out rules... ARG!

On the plus side, ESPN's Sox coverage is offering a breath of fresh air, what with the best color man in the biz working the mic and all.

cant get ESPN Sox or Cubs because of black out rules... and this ChiSox post game stuff just wont end! aaaaaaahhh!

FINALLY

steve stone is a jackass i never like him all that much.

"could the cubs win without prior, sure, will they, i dont know but...."

can you stand anyone who talks like that?

" how are the sox winning you say, wellitsy wellitsy wellitsy, lets take a looksie"

From thescout.com

On Monday, Koronka threw from the bullpen mound at Dodger Stadium but left before the game began. It was the first time the southpaw had ever attended a major league game.

I'm sorry. Please tell me I'm reading this wrong. This kind has been a professional baseball player for 8 years and has never attended a major league BASEBALL GAME?!?!?!

This is just too nuts....

dlee makes me happy

Ienpw--
"Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start."

I don't have the game log on him, but his overall numbers are Iowa last year were...

2 GS, 9.1 IP, 9 H, 2 HR, 8 BB, 9 K, 7.71 ERA

Ewww. His numbers there this year...

6 GS, 22.2 IP, 31 H, 3 HR, 24 BB, 24 K, 9.53 ERA

And Nolasco's there last year...

9 GS, 40.2 IP, 68 H, 7 HR, 16 BB, 28 K, 9.30 ERA

And, when I published the statement "not one [of the three] has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt", Rich Hill had yet to appear at Triple-A. However, he made his debut there last night (against the best offensive team in the PCL no less)..

6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 K, 5.40 ERA (4 ER)

Holy Cow! The last Cub to make his Iowa debut and strikeout double-digits was Mark Prior. Hill fell just short of the Iowa franchise record of 16 held by Vida Blue! Now that's some esteemed company!

Hill has never had any trouble striking a lot of people out though. What he did have trouble doing was striking a lot of people out while not walking just about everyone he didn't strike out. And there you have that. Just two walks, I think that's the best thing about last night's performance. He was according to someone that was at the game absolutely dealing, really attacking hitters and getting ahead in counts, and keeping them clueless at to whether they could expect the big hook or the heater (as many strikeouts were on the fastball as the curve). One of the walks was on 3-2 count, the other was a four-pitch lead-off walk in the sixth.

After that walk he allowed a very hit hard hit double off the wall (2nd, 3rd, no outs). He got a popout, but an RBI groundout to second followed, and the next batter absolutely crushed a fastball to deep, deep left, and that's the only real blackmark on his night. He left with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, and an incompetent bullpen allowed the inherited runner to score.

Here's Hill's last nine starts (eight at West Tenn)...

55 IP, 32 H, 5 HR, 17 BB, 95 K, 2.13 ERA

That deserves a wolf whistle.

Let me put it this way, Rich Hill is going to be in Chicago before too long.

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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 13 hours 5 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 13 hours 11 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 13 hours 16 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 13 hours 27 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 13 hours 39 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 14 hours 4 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 14 hours 44 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 15 hours 56 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 16 hours 13 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 16 hours 17 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 17 hours 2 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 21 hours 53 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 6 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 10 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 1 day 29 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 7 hours ago view