Caution: Falling Sky
Submitted by Rob G. on Fri, 04/21/2006 - 2:04pm
I know it's four hours until gametime, but the last thread was filling up rapidly, so: GAME FIFTEEN IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (9-5, 2nd, -0.5) AT ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (9-6, 4th, -1.0) Busch Stadium, 7:10 PM CDT Weather: 75 degrees, Wind 8 mph left to right TV: WGN, DirecTV 736 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Jerome Williams has allowed 18 baserunners in 11 innings, yet he has an ERA under 3.00. How is this possible? Well, seven of the walks came in his first relief appearance and his first start -- he got shelled in the former case and pitched lucky in the latter. I expect his ERA will come up if his walks don't come down, but whether that happens tonight or not who knows? At least, he's handled Pujols, Edmonds & Rolen well in his career.
Besides, we aren't paying attention to how well Jerome is pitching -- we're too busy rending our garments over the injury to Derrek Lee. There is no positive way to spin the two-to-three-month loss of the best hitter on the team (and one of the best in all of baseball last year), so I'm holding on to two pieces of informational driftwood to try to survive this baseball shipwreck:
1. Todd Walker and Jerry Hairston should get more at-bats this way. The smartest thing to do is move Walker to first base, and have him play there every day (or, failing that, against every righty), with Hairston becoming the everyday second baseman. The word that Mike Restovich is joining the team makes me fear that's not going to happen, though -- why bring up a guy to play backup outfielder unless you're going to take your current backup outfielder (Mabry) and move him to first base? Mabry has more experience at first than Walker, and he has the advantage of being four inches taller, but he's not going to make us forget Lee's Gold Glove smoothness. Plus, the offensive drop will be more noticeable if Mabry gets Lee's ABs -- in my plan you essentially replace Lee with Hairston, which I think is better than replacing him with Mabry.
Playing Mabry at first every day isn't the best thing the Cubs could do, but I certainly think it's better than trying to trade for a first baseman, especially someone like (as has been mentioned in the comments) Doug Mientkiewicz. That would result in a titanic drop-off offensively that wouldn't be made up for on the defensive side, and given that we're likely to see more Neifi now (as I doubt that Dusty will enact part two of my plan and just let Hairston play second every day) the Cubs can't afford to punt offense at two spots in the lineup for two months.
2. Will Carroll says he "fully expects" Lee to beat the timeline for his return and be back in less that two months. Based on what? I don't know, but I'll take it.
So now we have to turn our attention to the Cardinals, who will be out for blood after getting swept at Wrigley. Sure would have been nice if Lee and his career 11-15 against Mulder could be in the lineup. But it can't, so let's try not to dwell on that to much and move on as best we can. Besides, how great would it be if the Cubs could march into New Busch and take two out of three from the Cards without Prior, Wood or Lee?
|Mark Mulder, LHP 1-0, 4.05 ERA, 20 IP 10 K, 1 BB, 4 HR||Jerome Williams, RHP 0-1, 2.45 ERA, 11 IP 5 K, 9 BB, 1 HR|
|*Juan Pierre, CF Jerry Hairston, Jr., 2B *Todd Walker, 1B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Michael Barrett, C *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Jerome Williams, P||David Eckstein, SS *John Rodriguez, LF Albert Pujols, 1B Scott Rolen, 3B Jim Edmonds, CF Juan Encarnacion, RF Yadier Molina, C #Aaron Miles, 2B *Mark Mulder, P|
|Cubs vs. Mulder Jacque Jones: 5-15, 333/412/533, 2 BB, 6 K Neifi Perez: 9-25, 360/393/480, 2 BB, 1 K||Cardinals vs. Williams Albert Pujols: 1-12, 083/083/333, 1 HR, 2 K Jim Edmonds: 1-13, 077/294/077, 4 BB, 4 K Scott Rolen: 0-9, 000/182/000, 1 BB, 3K|