Cubs Looking to Go 2-0

GAME IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (1-0) AT CINCINNATI REDS (0-1) GREAT AMERICAN BALLPARK, 11:35 CDT, TV: ESPN & CSN Chicago Temperature in the 50's with the wind blowing out.
Glendon Rusch, LHP 2005: 9-8, 4.52 111/53 K/BB, 14 HR in 145 1/3 IP Ryan Freel, 2B Felipe Lopez, SS Ken Griffey, Jr, CF (5/21, 238/320/714, 3 HR) Rich Aurilia, 1B Adam Dunn, LF (7/21, 333/333/952, 4 HR, 7K) Edwin Encarnacion, 3B Austin Kearns, RF David Ross, C Bronson Arroyo, PBronson Arroyo, RHP 2005: 14-10, 3.52 100/54 K/BB, 22 HR in 205 1/3 IP Juan Pierre, CF Todd Walker, 2B Derrek Lee, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C Matt Murton, CF Ronny Cedeno, SS Glendon Rusch, P
Dunn owns Rusch, and Griffey has hit the Cubs left-hander well too. Rusch usually has a WHIP around 1.50, so he better keep the ball in the park or it's going to be a short day for the lefty. Arroyo was acquired by the Reds from Boston for OF Wily Mo Pena during Spring Training. He has been the Red Sox rubber-armed swing-man the last couple of years, with a spot start here and a long relief job there, but now he has a chance to be a full-time full-fledged top-of-the-rotation starter on a team that (like his former club) scores a lot of runs. Arroyo has been more effective against right-handed hitters (228/281/366) than he has been against left-handed hitters (275/338/455) over the past three seasons, but today's Cubs starters are an aggregate lifetime 13-25 with two BB and three K versus Arroyo. Heck, even Glendon Rusch is 2-3 with a BB. Arroyo hit 14 batters last year and surrendered 22 HR in just over 200 IP. Arroyo mixes a four-seam fastball (cutter) that tops out in the low 90's with four other pitches, including a two-seam fastball (sinker), a slider he likes to use as an "out" pitch against right-handed hitters, and a curve he throws mostly when he is behind in the count. He rarely throws his change-up, because he has difficulty throwing it for strikes. He has a quick move to home plate with runners on base, so it is hard for opponents to steal bases when he is pitching. In his last start in Spring Training last week, Arroyo shut out the Red Sox on three hits (and seven Ks) over seven innings, so he appears to be ready to go.
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Comments

Let's see how similar this will be to last year:

Game 2 last year:

Batters 3 & 4 combined for 0-7 (Nomar,Aram)
Greg Maddux gave up 5 runs over 5 IP (Gonzo homered twice)
Cubbies left 12 men on base

5-4 Dbacks

Levine is reporting that Baker's contractual situation won't be addressed until after this season... YES!

Interesting that Dunn is still out in LF even with Hatteberg on the bench?

Hey, it's the first "why the f are Cubs day games on ESPN blacked out in southern Indiana" game of year! Fantastic!

A-Ram is going to have a big year, in my opinion, as many others had predicted...

I love the heart of our lineup with a healthy A-Ram and Lee.

Southern Indiana, plenty of tickets available... sounds like you shouldn't be watching on TV... its gorgeous here in Cinci... oh, wait, I'm not at the game either!

Ruz 4-4 "even a triple's okay" Pierre triples.
AZ Phil 4-5 "Cubs Looking to Go 2-0"..not yet, but they're up, you guessed it, 2-0. Somebody hurry with "Cubs Win World Series"!!!

That sucks about ESPN, again. Can't you get FSN Ohio, or whoever broadcasts Reds games?

Rich Aurilia batting 4th? okay...

Juan Pierre's arm costs it's 1st run of the year...

I'm in Southern Indiana (Evansville), and I'm getting the game just fine on ESPN. You must be near Cinci...?

That was a nice inning pitcehd by Rusch (at least from a Gameday perspective). More of that please

Blue, nope we get FSN Midwest which means I'm stuck with Cardinals games. You'd think the two would the be related and Cards games would be the ones blacked out, but logic is overrated. At least I have XM...

"That was a nice inning pitcehd by Rusch (at least from a Gameday perspective). More of that please"

Nice jinx Chris. Arroyo just lead off the third with a solo shot to tie the game.

Arroyo used to pitch in the AL as well, so he's not exactly an accomplished batsman.

Rusch giving up gophers to the opposing pitcher scares me with Dunn and Griffey in the lineup.

Yeah, whoops. Less of that, pretty please.

And Aurilia just homered with Freel on third. When is Kerry Wood coming back?

Rusch sucks, bring up Guzman!!!

Rusch gives up a two run shot to Aurilia. On the bright side Wood and Prior appear to be mending quickly.

thank you rusch for a great 2004 and an ok 2005. Here's your ticket out of town. good luck.

Rusch sucks. He's getting hit very hard.

It's like batting practice out there for the Reds, they are hitting everything.....HARD. I don't know how much more Rusch I can watch.

Can we take some f***in' pitches please! Geez.

Dunn caught a fly ball? how did that happen??

For a while (in '04) Rusch was my favorite Cub, it seemed like he was gold every time he took the mound, but it's clear he's never going to be a regular starting pitcher.

Put him back in the bullpen and let him fill in when somebody goes down. Giving him the ball for the second game of the season is asking too much.

And Andrew is right, we need to take some bloody pitches.

glendon rusch is a fat fuck

Jacque Jones already looks like an amalgam of Derrick May/Kevin Roberson and every other piece of crap outfielder the Cubs have ever pushed down our throats.

Glad to see Rusch get out of that inning.

Seriously, what's the deal with Matt Murton today? Two first-pitch groundouts? Try to work the count a bit, bud!

...and he's done.

Maybe we can pitch Rusch as a LOOGY to the Sox for McCarthy?

...is this 2005?

Looks like it is one of those games. Griffey just homered off of Williams

And Encarnacion just doubled. 2nd and 3rd, one out, Kearns up.

And Jones's wild arm costs us a run.

- B. Arroyo walked, A. Kearns to second

Ouch.

Williams walks the pitcher on 5 pitches. Pathetic. If we can get out of this inning with only 1 run given up I'll be thrilled.

Dang it Jerome, throw a strike.

Williams isn't even close to the strike zone. The Reds would have to be insane to lift the bats off their shoulders.

Yeah pitching and defense....

If we can get out of this inning with only 1 run given up I'll be thrilled.

Well, considering Griffey homered and Dunn also scored, get used to disappointment.

Jerome, enjoy Des Moines.

Williams' for the inning:

28 pitches to 8 batters - just 12 strikes, three walks, two hits and a homerun.

That's just plain sorry.

Against what is supposed to be the worst team in the division.

Thanks DLee, need a few more guys..

D. Lee homer! Sweet.

Whichever poster said our rotation is "Zambrano, Maddux, crap, crap, crap" is looking pretty accurate about now.

Oh, and Jones looks completely lost at the plate.

Wow, I think I've seen this before....oh yeah, it was called last-year....

woohoo Jonnie Mabry!

2 run HR MABRY...WOOHOO!!!!

Off of that Jerk Mercker, too!

Santo just called him Mayberry... twice... LOL

Badguy, you owe me a coke!

So much for small-ball...

Not complainin', just sayin'

I really do hope that JWill gets sent back to Iowa. He's just too fragile mentally after last year, and he has no command. He needs some steady development where the results don't matter. And while we wait for Wood and Miller to return, Ryu or Hill or Guzman might do well with some starts.

Looks like yesterday's scoring output was an aberration...all runs scored today are via the HR...now we're getting back to that Cubs offense that we all know and despise.

Lets see if Williamson can suck a little less today.

That's 2 days in a row...Funny!

"Looks like yesterday's scoring output was an aberration...all runs scored today are via the HR...now we're getting back to that Cubs offense that we all know and despise."

Unlike prior years there were men on base for each HR. That is a nice change.

On a positive note: another good outing by Ohman.

That's 3 time Santo has called him MayBerry.

BadGuy: how Hughes and Mazer keep from cracking up is beyond me

Rob: I know. God knows I can't help myself.

We really need to quit this ridiculous trend of walking so many people. Unacceptable.

Dawson08...

Also, I think the Cubbies should take some walks, too. Arroyo fired a lot of strikes, but there are still ways to get on base without hacking and flying out on the first pitch.

With Hairston in the line up are there any left handed bats on the bench (other than Neifi) to hit for Jones in the ninth?

Pagan is a switch-hitter.

Good job, Michael.

What the hell happened to Barrett's arm? Ever since his injury last year it's been garbage.

Good job, Ronny.

Barett really sucks
He is responisble for two runs today alone
His offense does not make up for that

Yeah improved defense

Pierre -1
Jones -1
Barett -1.5 (passed ball, give him half a run for error on stolen base)
Cedeno -.5 (the other half run for not looking back the runner properly)

I've never seen a catcher that looks more confused about his position

So much for Barrett's talk of winning a gold glove: his 2nd passed ball of the season and a throwing error accounting for 2 of the Reds runs ...

According to the Trib's blog, Ronny did look back Freel, but after he threw to first, Freel headed home. DLee threw to Barrett who, rather than blocking the plate, caught the ball in front of it while Freel scored behind him.

So that's 3 runs on Barrett today. Can we credit him with the loss?

Trib's blog is stupid...

Cedeno glanced to third and rushed his throw to first on a hard hit ball when he had plenty of time. Lee's throw was in the dirt and Freel was sliding across the plate when the ball arrived.

I assume the GG Barrett comment was a joke, I can't imagine anyone who ever believed that.

Watching the eighth and ninth on TV, (was that Steve Stone?) announcer immediately criticized Cedeno for not freezing the runner on third before the throw.

Barrett was too far up the line to block the plate.
He didn't seem to realize it.

Andrew, it wasn't Barrett's fault. Cedeno didn't do as good of a job as looking Freel back, he was 15-20 feet off the base and his momentum was standing still/starting to lean towards home as Cedeno was throwing. Freel never really went back towards third, he just stopped moving down the line when Cedeno peaked.

DLee's throw was also in the dirt right on the 1b line, Freel slid in easily.

I'm not happy with Barrett's D, but he had nothing to do with that run scoring.

I like Barrett overall. His defense is frustrating though. He looks as if he is learning a new position. Brenly, a pretty good catcher in his day always has something to say about Barrett, that's not good. We probably would've lost anyway but those plays don't help you win any either.

I'm not happy with Barrett's D, but he had nothing to do with that run scoring.

well other then throwing the ball into cf on Freel's sb; I stand by assertation that Cedeno/Barrett were equally responsible for that run scoring

Today's game gives me no hope that this team is any different than last year's.

HR-dependent, low-OBP, low-pitchcount offense? Check.

Poor fundamentals (defense, passballs, etc.)? Check.

I agree about cedeno as well, young player mistake, but Barrett needs to be in position.

CRUNCH:

How'd your guy Mercker do today? ;->

Actually, he'd fit in well this year with the other "long relief" guys, right?

Gotcha, thanks guys. Some bad defense all around. Maybe they can get it figured out by May.

I suppose when you hope that a catcher's offense makes up for his defense, you can't be surprised when the runs he produces come when you don't need them. Barrett had a meaningless 2-run double late in yesterday's game. Sure would have been nice today.

And, again, what's with the first pitch swinging! Dusty, let's get this corrected right away.

Considering how horrendously we played, Iím surprised we were as close as we were. Jacques looks pitiful, the pitching couldnít get ahead on anyone, and Barrett proved he may be the worst defensive catcher in baseball. We walked 7 guys and they didnít walk a single guy. Tough to win ballgames with figures like that. If weíre going to lose a lot of games in this fashion again this year, I wonít last until June.

Oh, let's all relax. This team is much improved over last year, and let's face it Rusch and Williams were the real reason we lost this game. It's usually about starting pitching and today it didn't get done. It's early and I'm encouraged so far, just frustrated that Barrett hasn't shown improvement, maybe it was just a bad day a la Dunn.

For the most part this was a carbon copy of over half of last years games. I think Rob G. said it best about one slight improvement though, last year there was no one on base for those HR's. I think that's what kept it close.

Six runs should usually be enough to win games for us. I think the starting pitching will be good enough this year where that is the case.

On another note, what would it cost to get Ryan Freel?

I'm willing to pay pretty much up anything...

They can have all of our 2b, Eric Patterson as well, Rich Hill, throw in another guy as well.

Now that's a leadoff man...

It was RobR sorry.

it was ROBR who said that about guys being on base in front of the homers...

posted by rob:
well other then throwing the ball into cf on Freel's sb; I stand by assertation that Cedeno/Barrett were equally responsible for that run scoring
----

good point

The other main difference between today's loss and many of last year's games is this:

Mabry >>> Macias

Any thoughts on whether Rusch gets axed from the starting lineup before his start next week against the Reds?

Andrew,

If Williams was effective today, i think you'd see him start next week against the Reds (we'd also be 2-0). Unfortunately, he was worse than Rusch - at least Rusch knew to throw the ball over the white penatgonal thingy... I think we'll see Rusch in the rotation until:

1. Guzman or Hill tear up AAA,
2. Williams shows some measure of success relieving Rusch, or
3. 2 out of Wood, Prior, or Miller return AND Marshall shows success.

Shawn,

I sure hope you're wrong. If we wait until all three of those things happen, we'll be 10-25 and sitting in last place. I'm not so sure we watched the same Rusch, as he walked 4 and didn't get the ball over the pentagonal thing terribly often. When he did, the ball was crushed. Ugh.

I was a proponent for not trading Williams over the offseason, and I still think we should keep him, but there's just no way he belongs on the major league roster right now. If either of these guys were rookies, they'd never see another start. I'm all for seeing what Ryu or Guzman can do.

Rob G. - re: the Barrett/gold glove comment, I raised that not b/c I believed it would actually come to pass, but for contrast to what Barrett said was his goal coming into this season (presumably he emphasized defense in his off-season workouts) vs. his defensive play to start the season (2 PB and a throwing error in 2 games). I like Barrett and hope he turns his D around soon, but his pre-season talk about winning a gold glove, critizing catcher performance metrics, etc. appears to be a lot of empty talk.

Andrew,

Rusch will be taken out of the rotation if/when 1, 2, OR 3 happens.

well at least he has lofty goals... :)

more games like today and we'll be seeing Blanco a lot more...

"CRUNCH:
How'd your guy Mercker do today?"

what?

mercker is my guy?

i dunno how i can say so much stuff, yet things i dont say come out on this board.

i dont like mercker...well, i dont really think about him.

Gotcha, Shawn. Well let's hope that one start against AAA counts as tearing it up.

I just love how you guys are freaking out over 2 games....OMGTHESKYISFALLING!!!

rusch..no suprise there even if he was worse than usual.

3 homers hit today...all with MEN ON BASE. now that's a change =p

No one's going Chicken Little yet, Retrofade, but bad pitching isn't something you'd like to see straight out of the gate. It's too 2005 for my tastes.

We have 11 sp's. We are fine. We don't need any more sp's.

Outside of maddux and Z OUR SP'S SUCK BALLS!!!! Prior and Wood suck because when they are hurt we get JWilliams and GRusch and they suck too. We need some SP's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You shouldn't EVER lose a game when you score 6 runs :(

cubs could use another dozen SPs...when its May they could go to a 24-man rotation.

trade for adam dunn to play C/1st/2nd/SS/OF.

i'm ordering my playoff tickets now.

It is always a good combination of Rusch/Jerome and Michael Barrett. I don't even know why Barrett even tries to throw out fast base runners. I have a better chance of winning the lottery than he does in gunning down Freel with that noodle arm of his.

Ofcourse it didn't impress me much that he couldn't catch a simple ball to his right hand side and allowing a runner to score. Between throwing it into the OF and not catching the ball he was a one man wrecking crew for the Reds today. That was two runs atleast in those situations.

Oh wait Barrett is good on defense. As good as Adam Dunn is.

Let's face it, April baseball sucks. It's full of false positives, slow starts and general inconsistency. Our "small ball" style lasted an unprecedented 1 game in a row. Let's all freak out.

I'm still glowing from "Aaron Boone's Revenge Mauling"

Well, I disagree that a team should never lose when it scores 6 runs. It is not at all unusual. I mean you can look at the box scores every day and find two or three or more teams that score six run that still lose the game. It happens. What is discouraging is when it happens on only the second game of the season. I am afraid that there is more of this to come.

And these games in April do count, they count quite a lot. It is easy to say, well, it is only April but playing poorly last spring is what got us ten games out in no time at all.

I am afraid that Jones in RF is gonna be a big liability. I hope I am wrong. But I think he may make Burnitz look like an all star. Jones just looks very undisciplined at the plate. And he is not by any stretch a # 5 hitter. That tells you all you need to know about he potency of our line-up. With Jones hitting 5th, don't look for ARAM to have as big a year as we might have thought he would.

Yeah, it is early, but, sigh, I think it will be a long year, possibly longer than last year. It would be one thing if we had a decent pitching staff. But lacking that, the way we have started is not promising. Yeah, I know, 1-1, but 7+ runs per game is not good news, regardless of which ball park we are playing in.

no night game til sunday...and its ponson vs. marshall...puke.

crap vs. green.

about the pitching...what is a GM to do when you got 3 guys scheduled to return in may?

its not like its 2 guys who's out til midseason+ or there's nothing in the minors worth giving a try.

come may, this team is due to have more pitching than slots...in both the rotation and the pen.

come june who would be upset to see Z/maddux/prior/wood/?whocares? working...and what's to be done with miller, rusch, marshall, guzman, and williams.

williams and marshall will probally end up in AAA and rusch in the pen, but still...that leaves an extra arm without even considering guzman (who's more of a high-end prospect than marshall).

Ponson v. Marshall... just what ESPN was hoping for.

"come june who would be upset to see Z/maddux/prior/wood/?who cares"

I wouldn't be upset, I'm just not sure that we will see it or if we do, how many weeks it will last before one of the dynamic duo of fragile studs pulls up lame again. If Wood gets a decision for each million he's getting payed this year I'll be thrilled. And while I love Maddux it's not like he's penciled in for 18 wins or anything.

well, i could have said "come may" but just decided to go for june to avoid too much bitching hehe...

Let me speak some truth about the Cubbies.

It's never too soon to lower your expectations.

seriously, though...a GM cant sit around assuming injury and sign limitless replacements when the medical reports dont dictate it.

this team didnt need rusch...they didn't really need miller either at the time of his signing.

not a lotta teams go into the year knowing they're gonna have 2-3 extra arms that need work.

hendry's injury bug the past 2 years he's really gone for coverage this year...he's got a very ballanced bench and more pitching than he's got slots.

a lotta teams wouldnt even have a Z/maddux waiting if their wood/prior went down...much less have 4 other guys lingering in the wings (williams, miller, guzman, marshall).

Its the second game of the season...granted G. Rusch should never again make a major league start but he will get a few more until our young guys get sorted out.

Most of our hopes this season are on the future health of Prior and Wood. Its not a great thing but it is what it is.

Glendon Rusch should be ready to pitch by mid May when he comes off the DL (doughnut list).

""come june who would be upset to see Z/maddux/prior/wood/?who cares"

While upset isn't the right word...I wouldn't feel confident that that was a playoff caliber rotation. Maddux is clearly headed in the wrong direction while Wood hasn't proved anything over the last 2 years...no consistancy at all. Prior still has something to prove, although I'm comfortable keeping him in our plans for awhile and assuming he'll be top tier sooner than later.

But, that still leaves only 2 top pitchers, and 3 average pitchers even under the best scenario (And yes due to his wild inconsistancy, I believe Wood is no more than average now.)

So, in essence...I felt at the end of last season that while most others were talking about the importance of a lead off hitter and and short stop...I felt that the most important signing would have been a top end of the rotation type pitcher.

That way we could have Z, New #2 guy, Prior, Maddux, Wood under a best case scenario...or at least 2 front end pitchers if a guy got hurt. I see Rusch and Williams as replacement guys...but even under the best situation now, they would be 4th or 5th starters.

That's not good enough.

barrett's offense did not make the case for his inept dish-minding, but its just one game.

murton grounding to short-pitcher-pitcher-short was indeed a disappointing outing, but its just one game.

the bottom of the lineup didnt take any walks or do anything positive really at all at the plate, but its just one game.

6 runs doesnt necessarily guarantee victory, but today, maybe it could have if not for some miscues in the field.

but its just one game.

Yeah, it's one game that look a lot like last year.

Another homer for Pujols...including his last pre-season game, 6 home runs in 3 games...3 Home Runs in 5 at bats in the regular season. It's hard not to love the guy even though he is playing on THAT team.

small sample size I know...

ERA
Williams 18.00
Zambrano 9.64
Rusch 9.00
Williamson 6.75

5 HR's in two games
16 Walks in two games
20 hits in two games
2 Errors in two games
2 Past Balls in two games
3 stolen bases against in two games
12 earned runs in two games
15 runs in two games

I don't think this pitching staff will be able to rise to the level of challenge the NL Central will offer this season. I think the offense will be greatly inconsistent and the pitching will be .500 quality at best....I feel a long season upon us.

zambrano..pettite..j.lackey...d.lowe...f.garcia...

they all suck. those guys realy need to prove they can pitch on a mlb level given their 1-game career evaluating performance.

Wow, St. Louis's lineup is full of nothing:

1. Eckstein (only use is working pitch count up)
2. Encarcion (really, 2nd?)
3. Pujols (OK, he's pretty good - current OPS of 3.914)
4. Edmonds (nothing wrong with the meat)
5. Rolen (last decent hitter)
6. Schumaker (who?)
7. Molina (light-hitting even for a C)
8. Miles (if he couldn't hit in CO...)

The only help in sight is LF being "upgraded" from Schumaker to Larry Bigbie. Other than that, this is their daily starting lineup.

So basically its their holy triumvurate surrounded by a whole lotta crap. I, for one, like our lineup a lot better. Yes, their rotation is better than ours, but once Wood/Prior/Miller get healthy ours is at least comparable to theirs. I also like our bullpen better.

crunch,

Add Zito, Brett Myers, Colon, Schmidt, Harden, and Johan Santana to the list of crappy pitchers on the season. They post ERAs of 47.00, 5.40, 5.40, 5.14, 4.76, and 6.35. Their teams are all doomed! Doomed i say!

but once Wood/Prior/Miller get healthy

ILLINOIS REGIONAL WEATHER ROUNDUP

MOLINE 62 F
SAVANNA 61 F
ROCKFORD 57 F
ROCHELLE 57 F
DEKALB 57 F
PERU 63 F
CHICAGO OHARE 48 F
MIDWAY 48 F
AURORA 55 F
JOLIET 54 F
WAUKEGAN 44 F
HELL 9875859474839847839382783 F

but once Wood/Prior/Miller get healthy

Hell hasn't froze over...and isn't close as the above weather report...so I wouldn't count on this ever happening.

David Bell 2 run HR vs. Muldur...Tied 3-3 in the 8th

Ricky Nolasco pitching now for the Marlins, Stros up 6-2 bottom 4.

Cubfan,

OK, once 2 of Wood/Prior/Miller get healthy i think our rotation is comparable. Rusch ~ Ponson in the 5 slot, and its just as likely one of the many young Cubs steps up as it is that Reyes does for the redbirds.

besides, if you don't believe hell can freeze over, what's the point of being a cub fan?

besides, if you don't believe hell can freeze over, what's the point of being a cub fan?

No Jews allowed? Me, Adam Greenberg's Rabbi and host of other posters might not agree.

Now pigs flying I can get behind.

Uh, maybe not pigs. Cows?

Izzy tried to blow a save, but couldn't.
Cards 2W 0L

Mr. Whipple,

My bad. I certainly didn't want to exclude any jews, athiests, or for that matter, chemists who have trouble with the enthalpy implications of hell freezing over.

Korey's team won 16-6 over the DRays (going into the Rays last bats).

CPat's contribution was one run (he got on by catcher's interference), 3 putouts in CF, 0-4 with one K and 6 LOB.

Ricky Nolasco's first outing was excellent. 3 IP, No Runs, 1 hit, 2 K's and 2 BB's. He held the Marlins in the game as they've pulled close at 6-5 against the Astros in Houston (from a 6-1 2nd inning blowout defecit).

Joe Borowski pitched the bottom of the 7th...although his LF (Willingham) made a terrific diving catch on Biggio to keep his inning clean although Berkman walked and Ensberg hit a deep fly to CF.

Lets remember the Cubs staff has been facing the Reds. Yes the numbers are inflated, but most teams #'s look inflated in series against the Reds.

The Reds are a horrible ball club, but their offense is not their problem. Many teams would be very happy to have their lineup top to bottom.

Did anyone really expect to go into the little league field known as Great American Ballpark and win a couple games 3-1? You wont see the Reds involved in many low scoring games, especially at home. Now if our pitching #'s look like this after a couple of series against the Pirates, then I will be freaking out with the rest of ya.

"The Fix" over at the Wall Street Journal put together nine notables to make season predictions for 2006. It was close but Dusty Baker won this one:

10. Which manager will be fired first in 2006?

Chen: Clint Hurdle.
No more excuses: the Rockies have the talent to be respectable.

Jazayerli: Hurdle.
Still unsure why he hasn't been fired already, to be honest with you.

Leitch: Dusty Baker.
You know what's funny? Dusty Baker's son gets on base more than his leadoff hitters.

Sheehan: Baker.
Baker is made of Teflon, but we'll go with him anyway.

Sinins: Hurdle.

Ursu: Bob Melvin.

Walker: Jerry Narron.
Cincinnati's new ownership seems to have a typical case of the quick trigger. That pitching staff will have a hard time in that ballpark.

Bialik: Baker.

Fry: Baker.

You wont see the Reds involved in many low scoring games, especially at home. Now if our pitching #'s look like this after a couple of series against the Pirates, then I will be freaking out with the rest of ya.

I'm not real optimistic about Rusch & Williams. But the Cubs do have playoff material, no doubt. I'm hoping Miller can come back and be somewhat effective and take up that spot in the rotation from Rusch.

Well, Rusch is back to pitching like we all know he could. Williams isn't much better. Good thing we have such a deep pitching staff...HA HA

This team is based 100% on pitching. That is how Hendry wanted to build a team and he has and now he has to deal with it. Let's just hope Wood/Prior/Miller/ can get back ASAP and stay healthy. If not, we have NO WHERE the amount of depth to keep our heads above water.

But hey, at least Hendry will still be teh GM. he will probally resign Maddux and Wood and we will be in the same boat next year.

Current ultimate small sample size stat: Bronson Arroyo's OPS of 5.000. Of course that IS against Cubs pitching....

I'm a little curious why everyone has been so down on Williams all this year.

Admittedly, there's no reason to sing his praises after today's outing, and his spring wasn't great.

However, we're talking about a 24 year old who has been pretty decent career under his belt so far. He's already won 10 games once, and last year as a Cub, he posted an ERA under 4.

Now, I'm not saying he should be considered an ace, and I don't have any problem putting him in the bullpen based on his spring numbers, but he would certainly be good enough to be a 4th starter on a lot of teams. It just seems a little silly that people keep talking about him like he some veteran who has never shown any real major league sucess.

team really isnt built 100% on pitching...

pierre/walker-hairston/lee/aram/jones/barrett/murton

you gotta get all the way to cedeno-neifi in the 8 slot before you get to a hitter that is of little or questionable threat.

jones may not be playing like it the past 2 games, but if you're a right handed pitcher, he's a definate threat to your game.

The Farns got hit hard tonight.

The best part was when the Yankees TV announcers kept asking about his over-reliance on his fastball--that's right, fastball.

"He has such a great slider, he ought to throw it more."

the brewers at 3-0 is misleading because, well, they were playing a minor league team.

the cardinals, curse them all to hell, were also playing an easy bill to start off.

astros managed to drop one for us.

as for us, we killed in that 1st game at the plate, and carlos had a bad day. its that simple.

game 2, 2 homers from guys you expect it from, 1 from a guy you dont, should it be enough to win? sure, why not. hell would have been even more runs if not for the bottom of the order taking a rain check. glendon made some mistakes, and barrett did as well. that simple.

(and yes, im writing this for myself)

what kind of stupid 2-game series stuff is MLB doing this year?

I don't think Prior or Wood will be coming back and pitching like they once did. Injuries take there toll and the margin of error at the major league level is small between "unhittable" and "Eric Milton." Further, after the last 3 years, the Cubs have no credibility with me on their medical reports. I think Prior has something very similar to what Wood had last year going on with his shoulder. In fact, given his mediocre performance the last half of 2005, I would not be surprise if he did not start feeling some discomfort then. I see shoulder surgery in his future.

Wood has had his surgery, and guess what, the track record of pitchers coming back from that surgery is better in that at least they can still pitch, but they don't pitch as good as they once did. Velocity is usually down and the control is off.

So without the 2003 editions of Wood and Prior in the rotation, can someone explain to me how the Cubs are better then the Reds? I like the Cubs infield over the Reds, but I like their outfield over the Cubs.

As far as judging the Cubs players and their offense this season, two games is no where near enough to say anything intelligent, except to say that their performances in 2006 for most players will be similar to their performances in 20040-05. That means Jacque Jones is going to have a low OBP and show some power and shouldn't hit against lefties, but Dusty will play him anyway. Barrett will be a good offensive catcher and a weak defensive catcher. And so on with each player. By the way, Barrett seems to have some of his worse games in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

But the starting pitching, based on its lack of bona fides after Zambrano and Maddux,that looks awful. (What happen to Rusch since 2004? It is called age, and he is aging from a lower plateau then one Maddux reached. I expect his velocity and his confidence are both down). Williams is one of those guys who have a great arms, but who struggle with their heads. He may get it someday, he may not. Right now it looks like he is not getting it this year. Marshall was in Class A last year.

I could go on and on about Larry Rothschild as a pitching coach , but who hired Larry and has kept him employed as the last three years despite the lack of progress of prospects and the chronic injuries.

So plese explain, how are we better than Cicinnati? I don't think Houston is that much better because their offense really will suck and Pittsburgh is Pittsburgh, so it will be a struggle to get to last place, but the Cubs could do it! Its good to have goals and a plan.

So please Tribune Company, sell the Cubs!

Espn 1000 Bruce Levine reporting Hendry signing today and that Dusty will be evaluated at the end of the season.

No pressure, Dusty.

Bleeding Blue: I'm a little curious why everyone has been so down on Williams all this year...we're talking about a 24 year old who has been pretty decent career under his belt so far. He's already won 10 games once, and last year as a Cub, he posted an ERA under 4.

You're right, it's way too early in his career to write him off, but I don't think it's his time yet. He has to work on his command & keeping the ball on the ground.

Even last year when he got results, his stuff wasn't all that impressive or overpowering. I didn't see him during his rookie year; Supposedly he was pretty good then... before his elbow surgery.

Crunch: C'mon, you include Hairston and Jones amongst those in our line-up who are not questionable hitters? I gotta disagree. Hairston offers very little of an offensive threat. And Jones? He has looked absolutely pathetic at the plate so far, yes, only two games, I realize. But his track record is that he will continue to swing away like a Jr. Korey Patterson. I think I am in the camp of people who have said that the Cubs brass built this time around the pitching.

Not to get in the front of the "Defend Jacques" line but, over the last 3 seasons hes put up an .280/.333/.474 line v. righties. I wouldn't necessarily consider that questionable.

What's remains to be seen is how much Dusty is going to let him continue to suck v. lefties. .238/.295/.363

First couple games here Jone's had sort of a Nomar '05 syndrome. He owned in ST and started April slumping. He'll be fine.

JAcos:
"Espn 1000 Bruce Levine reporting Hendry signing today and that Dusty will be evaluated at the end of the season."

Too bad Levine was wrong again about something. No press conference today about Hendry.

"Crunch: C'mon, you include Hairston and Jones amongst those in our line-up who are not questionable hitters?"

yeah.

jones vs. righties is something you gotta deal with...guy is a VERY solid hitter vs. righties...you're in the .350 ob% with power area there on him. yes, he really is that bad against lefties and that great against righties.

and hairston isnt a scrub, himself. gap hitter with speed who isnt immune to the walk...can't point to anything that will win any converts since he's not gonna hit 20+ homers, but i wouldnt call him a dead bat, especially if d.lee is behind him in the lineup.

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