You Ain’t Got No Alibi

GAME 22 REVIEW
BREWERS 16, CUBS 2 W: Doug Davis (1-2) L: Glendon Rusch (1-4) Gameday | Box Score
I have very little to say about this game. When the search for good news points to Mike Restovich's first hit as a Chicago Cub, it's time to go home. Dusty Baker is making noise about taking Rusch out of the rotation, and i don't think there's anyone who would argue against that right now. Except, of course, there is the question of who would replace him -- Rich Hill, I suppose, or possibly the return of Jerome Williams, neither of whom fill me with delight, but either of whom would be better than Rusch is. Today's game looks like it isn't going to happen, at least not on time. I'm currently sitting in the Indianapolis airport, and my flight to O'Hare is delayed, as is my flight out of O'Hare. If the game does happen, there's a good chance we'll fly right over Wrigley Field (the flight path to Harrisburg does that most of the time) so I'll make sure to wave. UPDATE 2:05 PM: I'm still on the ground at O'Hare thanks to mechanical problems, but it looks like they're playing at Wrigley. Win #1 from Big Z would make my bad travel day, which is keeping me away from the No Longer Tiny Baby, a little easier to take.
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Comments

Catcher ERA Watch:

Henry 'Boom Boom' Blanco 5.85
Michael Barrett 3.84

Rusch has to be taken out. I agree that there aren't any replacements left that really excite me, especially if that ends up being Williams, but I can't handle this anymore. It looks like Rusch's luck has finally run out. I wouldn't mind giving Hill a couple starts here and hopefully he'd do pretty well and if nothing else, it gives him more value to use in a trade.

I'm not a guy to bash a player because all major leaguers are doing something that I couldn't, but with Rusch something has to be done. After the 7th I'm tring to get the soon to be loss out of my head and my dad calls and he is even upset about it. Has anyone reserved the domain, www.ruschsucks.com? Give Hill a chance until the boys with come back.

I wouldn't mind seeing Ohman get sent down, Rusch taking his spot in the bullpen, and calling up Hill. I've got no desire to bring Williams back up, when he is bad... he is REALLY bad. From what I've seen of Rich Hill, at least he is wild outside of the strike zone. Williams is wild in the strike zone, and when his sinker isn't moving... homerun(s).

The Rusch explosion came at a pretty bad time for the Cubs. Trading Jerome Williams and a middling prospect (Raul Valdes) for Tony Clark would make great sense for us but is hard to do with Prior and Wood still out.

I could see us waiving Rusch once Prior and Wood come back because some team might actually pick him up. The Nats just picked up Zach Day on waivers, Jim Bowden covets lefties.

Looking for www.ruschsucks.com? You'd think it would have been gobbled up by Brewers fans after Rusch went 1-12 in 2003...

Mike Kiley on CEDENO vs FURCAL,

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

"Cedeno is hitting .311 with a homer, eight RBIs and four errors. Before Saturday night's game, Furcal was hitting .202 with no homers, two RBIs and SIX ERRORS.

General manager Jim Hendry took a lot of grief for not signing Furcal. Imagine how much he would be getting now if he signed him."

Trading any pitching prospect for Tony Clark makes no sense. Why deal for a 1b who will only play for less than two months, and once DLee returns, cannot play any other position?

It doesn't make any sense to deal any major league caliber pitcher for a 6 week stopgap in April. If this were mid-August and you were fighting for a playoff spot, sure, but not now.

Rich Hill's value is highest as a top minor league prospect. I'd like to see him succeed in the rotation up here, but he has only two pitches. He needs to learn another pitch or he will be relagated to the bullpen his entire career. If they feel he can't make it in the majors as a starter, then deal him, but surely you can get more than a 6-week player who can only pinch hit for two years after that.

Also, Jerome Williams did not pitch as poorly as the Cubs made it seem.
He appeared in 5 games in the majors this year. His first appearance was in relief, 1 ip, 2 er. Bad appearance. Then he had two straight two inning, no run appearances. Both good. Then a 6 inning start vs the Pirates, 6 ip, 1 er. Good. Then he got hammered vs the Cardinals, 1.1 ip, 7 er. So they sent him to the minors after 1 bad start. Bring him back up and be patient, he still has more talent than most of the minor league pitching prospects they have, and the most of anyone who can help right now.

Rusch has allowed 3er in two starts, 4er in two, and 7er yesterday. Here is his best stat: in 22 ip he has allowed 11 hr's.

General manager Jim Hendry took a lot of grief for not signing Furcal. Imagine how much he would be getting now if he signed him."

God, I hate these kind of arguements. I swear people sit at their computers waiting for certain players to fail so they can post some garbage like this.

Hey guess what, Patterson is hitting better than Pierre. I guess that means we shouldn't of dumped his ass and sent 3 prospects to Marlins.

When does the "Hendry is a dumbass for trading Patterson" crowd check in? I can't wait for their arrival. Will it be you CWTP leading the charge?

I like Tony Clark very much, not just as an everyday 1B until D-Lee returns, but also as PH and insurance at 1B for the rest of this season and all of next next season as well.

Games won (and lost) in May and June count just as much as games won (and lost) in August and September, and I believe Tony Clark would give the Cubs a solid power-bat in the middle of the order for a couple or three months, and then would provide some thunder off the bench, all for just a little over $1m per season.

If the Cubs need to give up Rich Hill and (probably) Will Ohman to get Tony Clark (and that's presuming he waives his "no trade"), then that's the price that needs to be paid. Jerome Williams could be the second pitcher (instead of Ohman), but I can't see the D'backs trading Clark to the Cubs unless either Marshall, Guzman, Ryu, or Hill are part of the deal, and of the four, I would be most willing to trade Hill.

Playing Tony Clark at 1B and making Todd Walker the "primary" 2B gives the Cubs the best chance to win until Lee gets back.

I'm sure it's been said already, but keeping Rusch in the rotation is like snakes on a plane.

Glendon Rusch should be designated for assignment, and the Cubs should try to send him to the minor leagues.

Though should they be successful in sending him down they wouldn't escape his burdensome contract, the Cubs would at least free themselves of having to carry him on the 25-man roster, because he simply just doesn't deserve a spot right now. Importantly though they would also retain the right to use him at some point in the future if he turned things around, so our starting pitching depth wouldn't be compromised, and they'd also avoided the obvious embarrassment of having to eat a six million contract after just four starts.

There is though the other possibility that an attempt to assign Rusch to the minor leagues would prove unsuccessful. There are two potential "hitches". The first is that Rusch would need to clear waivers to be sent down, and there may be other teams out there who consider their starting pitching situations desperate enough that they might claim Glendon Rusch. However, such a claim would be a blessing in disguise for the Cubs, who would be free of the remainder of Rusch's contract. The second is that Rusch, with more than five years of major league service time, could refuse the assignment, and declare free agency. But again, the good news for the Cubs is that, were Rusch to do so, he would surrender his entitlement to the rest of the money he's owed under his contract.

Really, once the Cubs have decided both that Rusch doesn't belong on the major league roster right now and that he's not worth the money he's being paid, and I don't see how them can come to any other conclusions given his peformances so far, designating him for assignment and then attempting to send him down to the minors represents a no-lose situation for the Cubs. It would certainly be preferable to moving Rusch to the bullpen, where he's not likely to be much better, not least because dispatching Will Ohman to Iowa to free up the space amongst the relief corps would burn his last option.

One of Rich Hill and Jerome Williams should be brought up to make Glendon Rusch's starts, and an exchange of David Aardsma and Mike Wuertz is pretty much inevitable too, and I can't say I'm complaining. While I'd like to give Aardsma a lengthier trial, he's not been impressive enough up to this point to warrant the Cubs going an arm short for a few days as he recovers from throwing 60 pitches in yesterday's game.

Harrisburg, PA?

MikeC:

This comment:

God, I hate these kind of arguements. I swear people sit at their computers waiting for certain players to fail so they can post some garbage like this.

Hey guess what, Patterson is hitting better than Pierre. I guess that means we shouldn't of dumped his ass and sent 3 prospects to Marlins.

When does the "Hendry is a dumbass for trading Patterson" crowd check in? I can't wait for their arrival. Will it be you CWTP leading the charge?

What the F*** crawled up your ass? The comments on this site have started swirling the toilet since 2003 with plenty of argumentative responses and general anger like your post. The "I know more about baseball than you, so you suck" attitude is both old and childish. Your comment brings nothing to this site, and serves to attack someone else for saying something seemingly noninflammatory. Why can't we keep it to discussion. If you personally think that comment was garbage and below your level of baseball expertise, ignore it...

Rusch has been beyond terrible this year. The pitches that got hit for homers looked as if he was just grooving them in for batting practice, ie, no movement at all, right across the middle of the plate. Glendon is probably a nice guy and all but he is a complete failure now as a pitcher, at least as a starter. It is too bad we just signed him for, what, a two-year deal?

Here is the problem though: Someone mentioned waiving Glendon when Prior and Wood "come back." The problem is that, once they "come back," how long will it be before one or the other or both go on the disabled list again? Do you really have confidence that either one of these guys will make it through the entire season without going on the DL again? I have no confidence in that at all. And my guess is that we will not see Wood or Prior or Miller before sometime in mid-June at the earliest, and probably not all three of them until July at the earliest. What is that based on? Past experience with Prior and Wood.

I told you guys about my website and I want to say thanks for all the help getting it up and running.

The URL is: thecubsguy.blogspot.com

Its a little rough around the edges but its serviceable for now andif you guys have any advice to make it look any better, I'd be all ears.

The way the site is going to work is that I'm going to post a Preview and Recap of every single game for people that want to read a different persective or just get some info if they missed out. And then on off days, I may post a column about happenings in the NL Central, or just baseball in general. I'll also do special reports for any breaking news.

The main reason that Im doing this is to gain a library of articles, and hopefully a lot of regular readers because I'm a journalism major looking to do this for a living. If you guys critique my stuff, it'll give me a chance to improve, and that's really all I'm looking for.

Thanks for anything you guys may do, even if its just reading my column if you like it,

The Cubs Guy
Dave Fultz
Student at U of Illinois at U-C

What help?

umm, I didn't make the comment, Mike Kiley did.

Note these guys (" ")

Sorry for spamming the blog, I didn't know anyone would get offended. I just want to get some people to read my stuff. The Cub Reporter is a great site and has a bunch of years of experience on me I agree, but I'm just trying to get off the ground and provide information.

Again, sorry for spamming the blog if I offended you guys or the guys at TCR.

I was just watching the game on WGN, and they showed Dempster sitting in the seats signing autographs for anyone who came over. I thought that was REALLY cool.

Sorry for spamming the blog

If you are sorry, stop doing it...

Dusty should go out and talk to Zambrano...He sure doesn't look like the big Z from prior years. Where is the command and control that we need from a veteran like Zambrano...??

I says to myself while listening to gamday audio, says I, why has the Cubs' offense gone limp again? Is Capuano a lefty? Oh look at that, he's a lefty.

The only way Jones is gonna get on base is if the bat slips out of Hairston's hands in the on-deck circle and knocks Jones into the path of an oncoming pitch.

Big Z gets a big 'D' for his overpoweringly mediocre performance again. He just walked his third and is getting emotional.

Haven't I seen this one before?

No complaint, just curious...

Why did Dusty pull Murton from the game..??..I like the way Williamson is starting off. Yet, even if our Bullpen contains the damage we need the best clutch hitters that Dusty can put out there to have a chance to come back today.

Ariz Phil said: "I can't see the D'backs trading Clark to the Cubs unless either Marshall, Guzman, Ryu, or Hill are part of the deal, and of the four, I would be most willing to trade Hill."
--
I liked Clark when he was with the Tigers, but he hasn't been a regular starting 1b in 7 years. I just can't believe a .240 career pinch hitter is worth a solid young pitching prospect. Especially when Clark cannot play anywhere but 1b. When DLee returns Clark will rot on the bench. There has to be a better option out there if everyone is hellbent on trading away a young pitcher.
I'm quick to point out that when DLee does finally return he won't resemble the same player, I expect his power and his bat speed to suffer greatly from that wrist injury. But Dusty will trot him out there everyday he can play. Clark won't get more than 65 ab's once DLee returns.
There has to be a better option that can still be useful once DLee returns.

scott: ye old dumbass double switch

its a wet crapfest in the OF, murton has looked less than "in the game" in LF and at the plate today.

might as well rest him.

the biggest worry is the pen.

this is 2 days in a row where the pen is gonna pull 11 innings combined.

ohman and aardsma's time is VERY limited...wuertz and ??? are on the horrizon.

2 days in a row of heavy use, that is...

Murton was one of the only guys who played all day in yesterday's crap fest. In a game where you are getting crushed again, might as well let him rest and let williamson pitch 2 innings without worrying about the pitchers spot coming up to the plate.

Ug, can the umpires just call this game already?

A 91-pitch complete game against us is an indictment on the coaching staff.

this was one of the worst weekends of cubs baseball i can remember in a long time.

aside from some rain-aided weakened throws and the hairston error...at least its not been the D.

not much can be said about the bats, though...and a lot can be said about the pitching involving 4-letter words.

So, this is me grasping at the last straws:

Was there another sneaky Tribune pushback of the DL 3's return projections? I remember talk of Wood being almost done with a rehab assignment by now and ready to go by around the fifth. Now Muskat says he won't be ready until mid-May at the earliest.

Capuano is good, and he's always hurt us, so I can't cry too hard about that, but the whole team has just seemed shell-shocked these last two games. I think there was some sort of collective psychological adrenaline that kicked in right after the DLee injury, but it seems to be running out, and the offense is just limp.

What is wrong with Aramis? Ugh.

And as far as Z goes, he's my favorite player, but he seems to have turned the wrong corner this season. The bat incident last start and the tossing behind CLee this start tell me that he's just not getting his mental game together--and we will likely never need that from him more than we do right now.

We need a big game from Marshall and a big series against the Pirates.

tossing behind CLee wasnt much of an issue.

he had a guy on 2nd, 0 out...barrett obviously didnt know that was coming. ball was slick...he can get a legitamite pass on that one.

"What the F*** crawled up your ass? The comments on this site have started swirling the toilet since 2003 with plenty of argumentative responses and general anger like your post. The "I know more about baseball than you, so you suck" attitude is both old and childish. Your comment brings nothing to this site, and serves to attack someone else for saying something seemingly noninflammatory. Why can't we keep it to discussion. If you personally think that comment was garbage and below your level of baseball expertise, ignore it..."

----

God, I hate these kind of arguements. I swear people sit at their computers waiting for certain players to fail so they can post some garbage like this.

----

Jordan that's hilarious.

I'm glad someone has called MikeC out on this hypocrisy. Mike C is calling someone out for sitting around at their computer waiting for someone to mis-step is laughable. What do you think you do when someone states a mere opinion that doesn't even require stats only to have you run to another website and spend time looking up stats to try to make yourself look better in an argument that means nothing. You do it all the time and Jordan is right on. You're one notch above the trolls on other sites who type things like "cubs suck!" then logout. I'm also still waiting for your mea culpa for stating that the Indians would never trade Coco Crisp when me and a few others brought up his name when the Cubs were looking for a new CFer. Unfortunately some regulars like this and his partner Andrew make this once great site a waste of time for people who simply want to post opinions without these invalids trying to crap all over people who clearly have a lot more important things in their lives than trying to call out people on a blog. Grow up morons.

Grow up morons.

You do realize that you are doing the exact same thing, right?

Actually, the "Cubs Suck!" trolls are kinda funny sometimes. Just so long as they dont post anything positive about the Cardinals or Brewers. Cause they both suck.

Right field sucks too.

Kmart sucks !

Tell 'em Ray.

this is from rotowire:

Rich Hill: Could be Called Up by Cubs - 4/30/2006 12:40:38 PM

Update:
Hill could get called up soon to take over Glendon Rusch's spot in the Cubs' rotation, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Recommendation:
Unless Hill blows everyone away, this would likely only be temporary as Kerry Wood and Mark Prior are due back in the next few weeks. Hill has been lights out at Triple-A so far, striking out 33 in 25 innings and walking just seven batters.

Zambrano sure has gone astray. I sure hope he can get the groove back. A few years ago, back in 2003, who would have guessed that Prior, Wood, and Zambrano would have fallen so far? Sure, Prior and Wood's situation is different from Z's situation. Z is young but I am wondering if he will ever reach his full potential. I am even wondering if his best days already are behind him. He looks lost out on the mound. He does not seem to be able to focus. I am kind of wondering if a couple of years from now Prior, Wood and Z will even be Cubs any longer.

Removing Murton during the double switch was (again) troubling. Some justified the move as a way to give Murton a rest in a game that was essentially over, but that's not what happened. Murton was removed as part of a double switch. If Baker simply wanted to get Murton a rest on what was shaping up as a bad day, then pull him between innings. He didn't do that, which means that Dusty meant for it to be a legitimate double switch.

So, by pulling Murton for a player who is not as talented either offensively OR defensively, Baker again showed he just doesn't get it.

About trading for Clark -- don't forget that we would also have the ability to turn around and trade him at the deadline after Lee returns (and proves he's healthy). There's no guarantee we would receive prospects of a quality equal to those we had to deal to get him, but the possibility of "flipping" him does reduce our risk.

*Warning* Pro-Baker post *Warning*

I can't blame Baker for anything in this series. I want to find something but I can't. The pitching sucked ass. Nothing Baker can do about that.

Murton double switch.....ehhhh it is already 6-0, not too out of the game. Would be nice to keep his bat in the game. But I can't argue against that one either.

The pitching just sucked ass. Did I say that already?

Hope they player better against Pitt.

Why flip Clark if we did get him? Would be nice to have a power bat off the bench, interleague play, and god forbid the World Series.

I am just saying. If we get him and Lee comes back, keep Clark. Makes our team stronger.

Mike -- I agree, I would rather keep Clark through 2007. But the possibility of flipping him makes the deal very low risk -- in other words, it's as close to a "nothing to lose" deal as you will see in baseball.

I was at the game today with my wife & 4-month old baby girl in 1 of 2 planned trips to Wrigley this year and I wanted to give me & my wife's impressions:

My Observations

* First and foremost Capuano's pitches were doing some really strange things. It looked like he was throwing in towards a right handed batter at the outside of the zone, but the pitch would tail out away. Must be a left-handed 2-seamer is all I can figure. It was very impressive. I can also see why it would be hard to time your swings with his delivery. It's really jerky and from pitch to pitch the jerks are not quite the same. He really kept them off balance rather than over-powering.

* After the 6th inning when the Brews had the game safely in hand, I found myself wanting to see Prince Fielder hit another home run. I really couldn't appreciate his size until I saw him today. He is HUGE. And his swing is slow and... crushing. He has to be really exciting for Brewer's fans.

* Zambrano needs to see a therapist or something. He's been getting so worked up over his shortcomings that it is clearly affecting his game. I think he had too high of expectations for himself this year and I base that on his talk of wanting to win a Cy Young this spring. He has the ability for a closet full of Cy Youngs, but he really needs to slow down and focus between pitches. Maybe it will come with age, maybe Eyre could give him his old Doctor's biz card... I don't know.

* Cedeno, while fast, clearly blows when it comes to his ability to run the bases.

* I don't know what the lines were today, I lost track, but Williamson & Eyre throw some filthy stuff.

Wife's Observations

* Williamson's ass is too big in porportion to the rest of his body.

* Barrett has a nice ass.

* Me and the baby are cold and they're going to lose anyway, can we go?

First of all, I don't think Clark would waive his no-trade without a guarantee that he wouldn't go somewhere else. Second, having been a pitching coach for a number of years I think it looks like Z has something wrong with his shoulder. HIs motion is not a smooth as it used to be. He always slowed his arm motion on off-speed pitches which is a sign because the tighter grip cause a tug onthe shoulder. His most serious problem is over-throwing his sinker which has caused it to stay up and straight. His velocity chould increase some with him over-throwing but it doesn't seem to be the case with him.

I can't blame Baker for anything in this series.

You can blame him for having Glendon Rusch in the rotation.

Boy oh boy did I pick a good weekend to be out of town and away from Cubs news and Cubs games.

25-2...wow.

Does that say more about Milwaukee...or the Cubs?

I suppose that is the real question without knowing any details besides all our pitchers sucking.

early forcast for chicago's weather vs. pitt tonight...

Tomorrow night: Showers and thundershowers likely. Low around 55F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.

A couple of thoughts:

1. The Cubs HAVE to make a deal for a right-handed stick now. 8-12 weeks is too long to wait, you might as well give up on the season otherwise. From a business standpoint, you have to protect your $94 million dollar investment. The cost of two prospects and Tony Clark's contract is nothing in comparison. Even if that means you're giving up a future starting pitcher, you have to patch the hole now.

2. Glendon Rusch. Every year on every team, someone explodes. It happens. Put him in the bullpen (beacuse of the $6M investment) and hope he turns it around. You have to send Ohman down anyway (not sure of his options?) he's a mess too.

3. Why would Tony Clark turn down the chance to play over sitting the bench on a rebuilding team? I'm betting he'll want to play.

4. If Hill is your trading chip, you have to bring him up to showcase him. If you're planning on keeping him, you have to reward him by bringing him up. Either way, you have to bring him up.

5. Last year I felt like Jerry Hairston deserved more playing time. This year I'm a lot less impressed. Another reason to get a first baseman.

well, the thing about trading is there has to be 2 sides to the whole thing. its kinda early for teams to be dumping payroll quality players for anything but something that can help them now.

GMs fight for the money they get and they protect every penny they can. some get a yearly budget, some get a huge chunk of loot to use over a 2-3+ year period....there's not many though. cleveland works that multiyear plan. to cut to the chase...having a guy like clark around for 2 years at 1m a year is pretty slick even if off the bench.

1st base isnt the hardest spot to replace, but not only is clark a great defensive 1st basmen with power, he's a guy who's gonna play 2 years and make 2m for it...happy working off the bench.

he's helping a young 1st baseman of the next 3+ years gain his footing and providing pop off the bench for 1m a year.

about pena...i hope the cubs stay faaaaar away from that trap. he might be something someday for someone, but he's out of shape and his bat is slow.

evidently the cubs are quite shy about playing restovich at 1st...dunno what he did in AAA there, but it must not have impressed someone.

of course the footnote is throwing a panic amount of tallent at any organization can pry any player loose...

something has to be done the next few hours to address 11ip of use outta the pen...if wuertz isnt up at the very least i'd be weirded out.

if r.hill is to go he wouldnt be needed til thursday.

aardsma and ohman's jobs arent very safe right now...could be a darkhorse loser in the mix, though.

there is a huge weather issue for tonight and the cubs would get a pretty nice day off to rest the pen and get everyone outta the rain. chances of a double header on tuesday would be practically out of the question given the cubs have over 2 weeks of games without a break to go and go out to the west coast after this. it should be nice for the team to play in some sunshine and dryness rather than 50s and rainy/windy chicago for a while.

RIght field still sucks!

LOL Ryno, you sexist pig! ;-)

Actually your wife's comments were as cogent as anything else which could be said after a weekend of this kind of "baseball," if they're still calling it that. Did I mention that MikeC said the pitching "sucked ass"? Ditto that.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

Rich Hill is expected to arrive today from Class AAA Iowa and replace Glendon Rusch in the starting rotation Thursday at Arizona [....] The Cubs announced nothing, but appearances say that Hill has been recalled, Aardsma returned to the minors and Rusch -- who was hammered in a 16-2 rout Saturday -- moved to the bullpen for tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Cubs are like the girl in that nursery rhyme - - when they are good (Maddux on the mound) they are very, very good but when they are bad (Z, Rusch etc. on the mound) they are horrid.

Look, our needs go way beyond getting another hitter, at least beyond getting another hitter who can give us all the help we need, which is a lot.

Sure, it is early and all that, and no one, of course, wants to write off the season already, but, even with a Tony Clark, do you seriously, seriously think we have even an outside shot at the playoffs?

I just do not see any scenario in which we compete for the crown in the central. Too much talent in the central. The competition is too intense. The quality in the NL really is limited to the central. Five teams are at least three games over .500. Only one team has that distinction in the east. Only one team has that distinction in the west.

So the wildcard would be our only hope. How exactly do we get there? Our offense is not gonna be helped all that much by bringing in, say, a Tony Clark. And if you think that Prior and Wood and Miller somehow work into this equation, ie, that with Clark and at least two of the three pitchers, we would be contenders, I say you are dreaming.

When in the last 2 plus seasons have our expections for Wood or Prior come anywhere close to how it has actually panned out? We have sort of treated these guys like supermen, when they come out of that telephone booth, we will be rescued. It did not work that way the last couple of years so to suggest that one of these guys is gonna come in and just mow down the opposition is just not realistic in my view.

I hate to say it but I really do believe that this season is a lost cause already. Losing Rich Hill would not be the end of the world if we get a decent bat in return. I just do not believe that it will change what looks inevitable this year. But we have to at least try, right? Sure, the guys will try. I am just saying that going out and getting a bat really changes nothing in the bottom line - we still have no realistic chance, that is unless Pujols is available.

Ryno: Your wife's observations cracked me up.

This was a brutal weekend to be a Cubs fan. I'm saddened that Z can't get it together. Is it emotional? Is it physical? Is it spiritual? The cause may be a mystery, but the effect is clear: our number one is pitching like number two.

I never thought I'd pray for rain against the Pirates, but our pen needs the rest.

Any chance that our May will be better than April?

Arm: So you're basically conceding the season already? For the first time in the past 3 seasons we've gotten out to a decent start in spite of key injuries, and our starting pitching--by default--should be better now that Hendry and Baker appear to understand that Rusch shouldn't be starting. Hill may not end up being a great MLB starter, but I think he's a helluva lot better than Glendon Rusch, and I think the fact that he'll be facing batters who have never seen him before will help boost his confidence in the early-going. If he only lasts a few starts and pitches the definition of mediocrity, it'll still be better than what we had. And by that time, we'll have Wood back. And we'll eventually get Prior and Wade Miller, too.

The injury to Lee is devastating, but we're facing a lot of sub-par teams over the next couple of weeks, and we should be able to capitalize. If we can pick up a Tony Clark, great. If not, we simply have to pitch and play better.

There are really only 2 things that bother me:

1) Zambrano. Every aspect of his game looks like crap right now. He's giving up too many BB's, and way too many HR's. He might have the best pure stuff of any pitcher in MLB, but he also has one of the worst temperaments of anyone in the bigs. He needs to put April behind himself and go back to being the baby bull that we all know and love.

2) Hitting against lefties. Part of this problem is a result of not having Lee, but not all of it. Our 3-6 record against LHP is pathetic. Hopefully it's just a temporary problem that was exposed by having to face 5 lefties in 6 games, but we need that problem to be solved, and soon.

" When in the last 2 plus seasons have our expections for Wood or Prior come anywhere close to how it has actually panned out"
2003 panned out okay.

But I know what you mean, this is the last year of Wood and Prior coming to the rescue. As it is, this is the Cubs best chance.
I like getting Clark to help this lineup, he will be needed by Mid May.

Arm, I don't share your pessimism. Here's why:

(1) We have a 13-10 record, on pace to win 92 games. That's the 8th best record in MLB (don't be distracted by the fact that we are 4th in the division!). And this has been achieved against one of the toughest schedules in MLB.

(2) We have been missing 3 of our top players for all or part of April.

(3) Maddux looks as though he will be overperforming in 2006. I'm not expecting 25 wins, but clearly he is improved.

(4) Zambrano has been poor, but only a hardcore pessimist would predict that he won't improve from where he is now. Same goes for Ramirez. So, there's upside there.

(5) The bullpen has been a stunning improvement over 2005, and is now a key strength of this team.

(6) Cedeno and Murton were two of the biggest question marks going into the season, and they have been great.

(7) It's not unlikely that by late June the rotation will be Maddux, Z, Prior, Wood and Miller, with Marshall, Guzman and Hill ready to step in if one or more falters or doesn't make it back. And a surplus of young pitching is always nice to have at the trade deadline.

I'm not saying that it's a sure thing that the Cubs will make the playoffs -- far from it. But to give up all hope on May 1 in light of the above doesn't make sense to me.

I have to agree with ARM. I'm not sure what the future holds, but if we're going with three rookie pitchers and a shaky Z, its probably not good.
With the pitching the way it is, I just dont think Tony Clark will turn things around.

Plus, I'm tired of seeing good pitching prospects go for bench players (Koronka/Bynum) or for nothing (JVB/bowl of oatmeal).

Like Ryan says, maybe it would be better to wait if we can pitch and play better before looking for more spare parts.

Glass half full: Lotta baseball left...lotta baseball left...we could hang in there.

Glass half empty: Lotta baseball left...lotta baseball left...we might not.

I suppose the Zen thing is not where we end up, but the journey itself?

#59 of 66: By Ienpw (May 1, 2006 08:37 AM)
http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

Rich Hill is expected to arrive today from Class AAA Iowa and replace Glendon Rusch in the starting rotation Thursday at Arizona [....] The Cubs announced nothing, but appearances say that Hill has been recalled, Aardsma returned to the minors and Rusch -- who was hammered in a 16-2 rout Saturday -- moved to the bullpen for tonight's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

---

If Rich Hill has already joined the Cubs but no announcement has been made, it's probably because the Cubs know Hill won't get his first start until Thursday, and not officially recalling him until then would allow the Cubs to keep whoever Hill replaces (probably Aardsma) as an extra "emergency" arm in the pen for another three games, while still allowing Hill to get a pre-game or post-game between-starts "bullpen session" tonight or Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Otherwise, Hill unnecessarily takes up a spot on the 25-man roster for the next three games when he isn't going to pitch. And since Rusch started on Saturday, he probably won't be available to work out of the bullpen until Tuesday.

As I've posted before and as Carmen Fanzone mentioned in an earlier post, Hill's expected start Thursday night at Arizona could serve as a "showcase" for a trade if Hill is the price the Cubs would have to pay to get Tony Clark.

Also, if Michael Wuertz is not recalled by Thursday, his 2006 option will be used. If he is recalled prior to Thursday, he will have been out on option for fewer than 20 days, and so his second minor league option will not have been used AND he will accrue MLB service time for his time spent in Iowa. So don't be too surprised if Wuertz is recalled sometime before Thursday night's game in Phoenix.

433: Hi. Hey, you make some arguable points but I still am not convinced. We are 13-10 largely due to Maddux. Without Greg, or with last year's Greg, we would most likely be below .500. I hope Greg can keep it up but I suspect he will pitch closer to .500, in terms of a winning percentage, from here on out. Still a great record for him though. I love the guy.

But I just have no confidence is Z, Prior or Wood. Z is a complete head case. There is a fine line between having maybe the best stuff, in theory at least, in the national league and actually delivering. Z is not coming anywhere close to delivering it on a regular basis. Hence, while in theory he might have the best stuff in the league, that theory is not evident out on the mound, where it counts. I just have a sinking feeling that Z will never get it together on a consistent basis. I don't mean this as criticism at all but the guy needs some counseling of some kind. I hope he gets the help he needs because he does have a lot of talent.

As for Wood and Prior, I do not consider them to be among the Cubs' best players. Look, anytime it can be said that 38-40 year old Greg Maddux has more wins for the last couple of years than Prior and Wood combined, something is wrong with the picture. The buzz we give these two guys is not, in my view, deserved any longer. I hope they can come back and perform this year. But their track record the last two years has been bumpy and uneven at best.

Maybe we still can make the playoffs. Who knows? I am mostly saying that I just don't see a guy like Tony Clark making all that much of a difference this year. I think we go with what we have and let the chips fall where they may.

Finally, as for our 13-10 record, sure, it is not bad but my concern is that when we lose, we often get blown out. That is not a good sign and I think bodes badly for us.

Did someone just call John Kornoka a good pitching prospect???

Well, ok Blue. You caught me.
Still, I think Kornoka/Koronka did ok in the AFL and he's having a pretty good success with Texas so far.
I guess my point is that based on AFL, I thought he deserved another look.

Arm - Good morning. Maybe I misunderstood the point of your post. If your point was that we shouldn't give up a valuable prospect for a guy like Clark because we have too many question marks to consider ourselves legitimate contenders (yet), then I can see that.

But I thought you were giving up hope altogether. Keep hope alive.

Hi 433. Yeah, sorry, I probably painted too broadly. The first part of your last post is correct. I just don't think a guy like Clark helps us all that much, at least not enough to warrant trading Hill or a top prospect.

That said, given the choice between playing Neifi or playing Jerry at second, I would much rather see Neifi out there. Jerry just has never really impressed me at all.

Finally, personally, I don't see us making the playoffs. But it is possible so, yeah, defintely, let's not surrender (though realistically I just don't see us making the playoffs). I think our problem right now is not so much the lack of a guy like Clark but rather ARAM and Pierre need to start hitting and Z needs to get his head together. If those three things happened, or even two of those three things, I think we could stay afloat until the return of Wood, Prior or Miller, which I agree could help us, at least in theory, and the return of Lee, which will help us, no doubt about it.

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