Here’s the Pitch

With Cubs manager Lou Piniella announcing that Rich Hill, Carlos Zambrano, and Ted Lilly will pitch the final three games of the regular season at Cincinnati (with Jason Marquis to pitch the Game #163 tie-breaker at Wrigley Field, if necessary), and with Pirates manager Jim Tracy announcing last night that Cub-killer Duke will make his first start since June 28th on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, the pitching match-ups for the Cubs final nine games now look like this (all still subject to change): PIT at CUBS FRI - Paul Maholm vs Jason Marquis SAT - Zach Duke vs Rich Hill SUN - Tom Gorzelanny vs Carlos Zambrano MON - OFF CUBS at FLA TUE - Ted Lilly vs Dontrelle Willis WED - Jason Marquis vs Sergio Mitre (or Scott Olsen) THU - Steve Trachsel (or Sean Marshall) vs Scott Olsen (or Byung Hyun Kim) NOTE: The Marlins are skipping Mitre's turn this weekend versus the Mets and are talking about removing Mitre from the rotation for the rest of the season, and if that happens, Willis-Olsen-Kim would be the the likely starters for the Marlins versus the Cubs next week. CUBS at CIN FRI - Rich Hill vs Bronson Arroyo SAT - Carlos Zambrano vs Aaron Harang SUN - Ted Lilly vs Tom Shearn NOTE: Lilly would be held back for first game of NLDS if Cubs have clinched by SUN. MIL at CUBS (if necessary) MON - TBD vs Jason Marquis If the Cubs win the N. L. Central (and based on the current N. L. standings)... NLDS schedule: WED 10/3 - Game #1 - CUBS at AZ THU 10/4 - Game #2 - CUBS at AZ FRI 10/5 - OFF SAT 10/6 - Game #3 - AZ at CUBS SUN 10/7 - Game #4 - AZ at CUBS (if necessary) MON 10/8 - OFF TUE 10/9 - Game #5 - CUBS at AZ (if necessary)

Comments

geez...

5 of the next 6 vs lefties and Z runs into Harang again for something like the 4th time this year.

That didn't work out for us at all.

TBD next thursday... who will it be?

Hell, the Cowboys and Niners are 2-0, and OJ is in jail... the mid nineties are back! Guess we gotta go with Trachsel.

Based on pitching matchups alone we should win 7 of those games. But for some reason Maholm and Duke own us.

Harang is also vulnerable if our hitters would just lose their awe of him. In September he's posted an ERA of 4.39 while his team has only managed to score 4.25 runs per game in his starts.

a lot of dead worms next Wednesday in Florida...

Mitre vs Marquis

Could be worse, we could be due to face Smoltz, Hudson, Chris Young, and Maddux like the Brewers.

Unfortunately, Peavy pitches on Wednesday, so it looks like he won't make the Brewers series. But, he would be on track for Game #1 of the NLDS.

Does anyone see Z winning either of his last two starts?

Harang is also vulnerable if our hitters would just lose their awe of him.

What awe? Harang has a 4.85 ERA against the Cubs this year.

Wes,

I am sure if 162 matters for SD Peavy will be on the mound.

CWTP,

I think he wins the Cincy game and will have asolid outing vs. Pitt and if the bats come out aganist Gorlezzany he will win that one too.

where the hell are our scrubs?

Looks like nothing is going to be given to the Cubs, but that doesn't bother me. If they can't beat this collection of pitchers, they should be going home on Oct 1st.

I just turned on WGN. Wow, they're crammed into Kauffman to watch the Sox and Royals today.

I wonder if the Brewer blogs are bitching about the reltionship bewteen Gonzalez and Hendry being the reason why the Marlins skipping Mitre for Kim.

I am sure if 162 matters for SD Peavy will be on the mound.

You think so, chifan? I'm not so sure. The 3 days rest experiment was a resounding failure for Peavy. I mean, I guess you could try and run him out there for 3-4 or so innings and then it's all hands on deck. But after what happened to him in Arizona, I might try my luck with Germano or Tomko.

I just cruised several Brewers blogs looking, and man, do I see a lot of Cubs-hating. You'd think we peed in their Cheerios or something.

Either that, or a few Wrigley fanatics have been trolling their blogs.

Or both. :-)

Wes, I would put peavy out there and tell him that he gets a quick hook. I would tell him that all we need is 5 innings. And like i said about Z, break out all the pitches early. No reason to save that third pitch for the 7th.

nohit, i was banned from brewcrewball.com

fwiw.

Man, Zambrano has a 6.59 ERA against the Reds and has faced them more then anyone else. That's horrible.

I don't think missing Mitre necessarily benefits the Cubs. He has been getting hammered lately (see link in AZ Phil article). I saw him pitch in Denver against the Rockies last Saturday and everything was getting hit hard. Somehow he only gave up one run. Didn't get through five, left with the bases loaded and Pinto got out of it.

Here are the L/R splits for the five lefty starters the Cubs will be facing in the next five or six games:

1. Paul Maholm (Friday)
2. Zach Duke (Saturday)
3. Tom Gorzelanny (Sunday)
4. Dontrelle Willis (Tuesday)
5. Scott Olsen (Wednesday or Thursday)

CONCLUSION: Jacque Jones and Cliff Floyd might not be happy about it, but at least against Maholm, Duke, Gorzelanny, and Willis, the Cubs need to start as many right-handed hitters as possible.

Like this:

Soriano, LF
Theriot, SS
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Monroe, CF
DeRosa, 2B
Murton, RF
Soto, C

This is exactly why the Cubs got Craig Monroe, right?

didn't BH Kim own us last time? probably a net gain for the Marlins if they go that route.

Uneasy feeling...

Duke. Gorzelanny. Willis. Mitre. Arroyo. Harang.

Our pitching will need to be strong -- I don't see the Cubs scoring a lot off of any of those guys, their recent records nothwithstanding.

And, didn't Kim shut the Cubs down earlier this year?

DLee -- NOW would be a really, really, REALLY good time to bring back the power stroke. A REALLY good time.

Are Craig Monroe's splits against LH pitching with the Cubs much better than JJ, Cliff or DWard?

I have seen him have one double in the last 10-12 games, and that's it.

Seems the Astros have selected former Phillies cast-off Ed Wade as their new GM. Sure didn't go well for him in Philly, that's for sure.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3...

BYK, did own us for 6 innings last time around but that was a different team then. I have a much better feeling this time. And I don't know how a Marlin team can get motivated when the Cubs fans will out number the Marlins fans 8000 to 2000.

Wow. Sometimes graphs really do tell the story better than numbers alone. Looking at the Longitudinal Trends graph in the First Inning link for Dontrelle, which charts ERA as a series of 15-day averages, shows almost a straight line progression, climbing upward at an almost constant rate, from the beginning of 2005 to the end of 2007.

It is, in fact, worse than all of those, E-Man.

Cliff v. L: 300/382/400 (30 AB)
JJ v. L: 284/346/392 (75 AB)
Fatass v. L: 250/400/375 (8 AB)

Monroe v. L: 190/292/333 (21 AB)

I am getting so sick of hearing about the "Cubs are pissed at Houston" story. It really seems like a non-story that was made into a story by every media outlet that needed something to write/talk about. Basically, it sounds to me like Cliff was asked about Houston playing youngsters and made an offhand comment, "We're kind of ticked off about that." Probably didn't mean much by it -- it sounded to me like the equivalent of saying "Oh well, that sucks." I don't get the feeling anybody in the Cubs clubhouse was overly concerned about it, or was really pissed at Houston, just recognizing that's the nature of the beast at the end of the season. But it has been reported ad nauseum as if they took some formal organizational stand about it. They were still talking about it this morning on XM.

I do like that other than Cliff's initial statement, nobody from the Cubs has bothered to clear it up or really comment on it at all (that I've seen). Let them think whatever they want.

Wes — September 20, 2007 @ 1:32 pm
It is, in fact, worse than all of those, E-Man.

Cliff v. L: 300/382/400 (30 AB)
JJ v. L: 284/346/392 (75 AB)
Fatass v. L: 250/400/375 (8 AB)

Monroe v. L: 190/292/333 (21 AB)

========================

WES:

Craig Monroe vs LHP 2007 (includes Tigers):
282/312/504 with 5 HR and 11 doubles in 123 PA.

Matt Murton vs LHP goes 291/356/481 with 3 HR and six doubles in 87 PA.

Jones and Floyd (combined) have hit no HR vs LHP in 2007.

Yeah, AZ Phil, I know. But I'm not sure that's the same dude. lol. Are we sure we got the right guy? They didn't accidentally send us somebody else?

Those numbers have dropped almost 20 points each since the trade.

Lefties are actually a little better than right handers against Scott Olson.

I agree with your line up idea completely, AZ Phil with the one exception of Monroe in Center. He was just too brutal out there. I say leave the Jacque in CF regardless so he can run the junk down and put Monroe in right if need be. Although, I'd rather see (slightly) Murton instead of Monroe.

Rob G.:
a lot of dead worms next Wednesday in Florida…

Mitre vs Marquis

Exactly what I was thinking. If both guys are on... and against the Cub's, you have to figure Mitre will probably pitch his best game. *sigh*

"I am getting so sick of hearing about the “Cubs are pissed at Houston” story."

No one is talking about it anymore. The talk ended when Houston scored the winning run in the 11th.

MON - TBD vs Jason Marquis

If I'm the Brewers I put Capuano out there.

Chris — September 20, 2007 @ 1:45 pm
Lefties are actually a little better than right handers against Scott Olson.

I say leave the Jacque in CF regardless so he can run the junk down and put Monroe in right if need be. Although, I’d rather see (slightly) Murton instead of Monroe.

==============================

CHRIS: And I think what you just said is exactly what will happen. Lou will play Jones in CF and hit him 7th (or maybe even 8th), and either Monroe or Murton will play RF and hit 5th.

I would still go with the all right-handed hitting lineup in at least two of the three games vs PIT (the Marquis and Zambrano starts), though, and especially the first game of the FLA series vs Willis. I would be more-inclined to start Jones in the game Rich Hill starts, since Hill is more of a fly ball pitcher than either Marquis or Z.

Jones has little HR power this season, but it's zero vs LHP. The Cubs need to score runs the last ten games, and Monroe and Murton are MUCH more-likely to get some XBH (especially HRs) against LHPs than is Jones.

Man, Wes got owned by AZ Phil on the stats - get him back on some prospect update, Wes!

the talk probably ended after the disgrace to the game of baseball threw 6 innings of 2-run ball.

Stupid Astros!!!

Man, Wes got owned by AZ Phil on the stats - get him back on some prospect update, Wes!

LOL. HILARIOUS. You should tell jokes for a living.

I was more pardoying all of the Cecil Cooper hatred for pulling Williams from the rotation and not being to able to control Nicole Oswalt's pregency in post 12 than anything.

BTW speaking of Cecil Cooper it looks like the 'Stros will suck for awhile:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3...

One problem with Craig Monroe, AZ Phil. He looks pitiful. He's had three home runs since June 1st and none since July 22nd. As recently as last night, he has looked irredeemably bad. (Some of these late-season deals work out, some don't.)

Jones's power numbers have been fascinating all year: he has three HRs since June 2nd (all three in August), none since August 17th. And yet Jones has been swinging the bat pretty well. I think what has happened is that in his second year in the league, they're pitching him inside, and he has adjusted to that by improving his right field swing; but it's just not a power swing. Think of all the grounder hits he's had recently over first and between first and second.

Jones stays in center, at least as compared to Monroe. I would experiment with Pie and even Fuld, but that's just me.

But there are two reasons the Cubs may be better against lefties than they used to be: Soto and Murton.

Since August 30, Murton has hit three dingers, all against lefties: Capuano, Trever Miller and Mulder.

Rotoworld's blurb on Ed Wade...

Free agent middle relievers rejoice! The other finalist for the job was former Wade assistant Ruben Amaro Jr., who still works in the Phillies' front office. That the Astros are seemingly aspiring to duplicate Philadelphia's success should be of some concerns to their fans.

Maybe they'll bring Larry Bowa back to the dugout!!!

Wonder what they'll do about that god-awful pitching staff?

Matt Holliday really wants to win the MVP, another dinger.

Post 12 was more of a parody of the reaction here to Cooper gate than an actual assement of Kim or Mitre. Though I think were better off aganist Kim than Mitre because we have trouble with off-speed type guys, whereas Kim is more of a power pitcher. I know Kim owned us in his last start, but then again we were in a stretch were everyone was owning us at the time.

A slightly more fair comparison...

Since 8.7.07, the day Monroe got traded to the Cubs, against LHP:

Monroe: .190/.292/.333 (21 ab's)
Jones: .286/.318/.381 (21ab's)
Ward: 0 at-bats
Floyd: .000/.000/.000 (2 ab's)

If you are going to look at Monroe only from the time he became a Cub, you have to do the same with the others.

I would take Jones of Monroe in CF, as Jones plays much better defense in CF and has shown, at least recently, that he can be at least decent against lhp.

Of course... all of those are awful sample sizes...

LOL. HILARIOUS. You should tell jokes for a living.

Right back atcha.

I think the MVP races are all wrapped up (Fielder and A-Rod). Peavy should be able to get the NL Cy unless he totally implodes. AL RoY and Cy Young should be very interesting., right down to the last week/start.

speaking of NL MVP it seems the choices are:

Fielder, Holliday, Chipper, Howard, Utley and Wright

Utley got screwed by his injury so he won't get it, same probably goes for Chipper. They'll hold Coors against Holliday even with the huge September.

My guess is Wright, who would get my vote, unless Fielder goes nutty the last week and the Brewers win the division.

I am with VA phil, I'd go with Pie or Fuld in the Hill start in Fla. That is a massive CF and jones has had some problems in big CF's like the juice box and PNC.

The problem I see with that, dave, is that the other 3 you've listed aren't here for that EXACT purpose. Monroe was brought here to hit left-handers, and he's done it worse than lefties we've got. He's not excused from failing at his single assigned task.

Virginia Phil — September 20, 2007 @ 2:06 pm
One problem with Craig Monroe, AZ Phil. He looks pitiful. He’s had three home runs since June 1st and none since July 22nd. As recently as last night, he has looked irredeemably bad. (Some of these late-season deals work out, some don’t.)

=========================

VA PHIL: But Monroe also has four hits in last 14 ABs, including two doubles. And we know he has HR power vs LHP, which Jones and Floyd do not.

I’d go with Pie or Fuld in the Hill start in Fla.

Well... I am not convinced that Pie or Fuld would offer a significant upgrade over Jones defensively. But I am convinced that Jones offers a significant upgrade offensively over either of those two.

Monroe was brought here to hit left-handers

Says who?

Actually... I kinda' remember Hendry saying something about Monroe hitting lhp... but he really doesn't have significant splits in his career.

For those keeping track at home, the EARLIEST the Cubs could clinch is Tuesday.

Brewers lose the next 6 through Tuesday, the Cubs only would have to win 4 games in that time span.

Brewers/Braves matchups

Suppan vs Bennett
Villaneuva vs Hudson
Gallardo vs Smoltz
Sheets vs Reyes

of course Sheets might not go

Rob G. — September 20, 2007 @ 2:22 pm
For those keeping track at home, the EARLIEST the Cubs could clinch is Tuesday.

Brewers lose the next 6 through Tuesday, the Cubs only would have to win 4 games in that time span.

=========================

ROB G: Sounds pretty simple to me.

Let's do it!

The main thing is I want the Cubs to clinch before the last day (Sunday), so that Lilly can be held back to pitch Game #1 and (if necessary) Game #5 of the NLDS, with Zambrano pitching a road game (Thursday 10/4) instead of a home game.

Lou:
"He's a good bat coming off the bench with experience. The teams we're playing here all have left-hand starters in the rotation. He'll be a valuable addition to us, and he gives us more experience."

Hendry:
""He's not having a great year, numbers-wise, against the righties (.190 average)," Hendry said. "But he's still swinging the bat great against the lefties, and still has (55) RBIs. I was looking for a little more veteran help against lefties."

From the Cubs.com presser:
"Monroe is expected to be in the lineup against left-handed pitching and to pinch-hit against southpaws."

Dodgers have to be the dumbest team on the planet...

Matt Kemp and his 898 second-half season OPS, (978 OPS in Sept) sits on the bench.

Luis Gonzalez, Pierre and Ethier start (690, 825, 747 OPS's in the 2nd half)

Overall OPS:
Kemp 900
Gonzalez: 797
Ethier: 800
Pierre: 689

at least Loney is finally playing everyday.

Someone from AZ is going to wind up getting NL MVP votes if they wind up with the best record in the NL. They only have four guys who qualify for the batting title at this point, and two of them are batting under .240. They may be worse than the '06 Cards, but have a shot (slim) at the best record in baseball - stranger than fiction stuff. 9th in Run differential, best record in NL by two games.

If the Cubs can win the next three series.......go 6-3........then MILW has to go 9-2 @ ATL, and home vs. STL and SD. You'd like to think our heroes could beat PGH, FLA, and CIN 6 out of 9 times?

yeah, I'm sure Eric Byrnes will get some votes.

AZ Phil, I'm old fashioned, I like balls hit hard in the power alleys--where Soto hits them any time he gets a fat pitch!

I didn't recall Monroe ever hitting a ball like that with the Cubs, so I just looked at his four doubles.

Two were over third, versus Ariz and LA, and one was down the line in right against St.Louis. The fourth was the liner to right in Wrigley that Corey Hart lost in the lights.

I just haven't seen any sign of a power hitter. Forget about him. Sam Fuld or anyone can hit doubles down the lines.

I just haven’t seen any sign of a power hitter.
=======
Perhaps JJ, DLee and now Monroe are all eating the same diet.

jones vs. monroe is way more important for 08 than 07.

what you gonna do with jones if pie is slated to start...jones is not a part-time starter and would probably not react well at all to a 300-400ab season playing as a super-sub OF'r.

however, monroe you got more leverage with to use as a super-sub OF'r.

respect dictates that if you're not gonna find jones the AB's you send him somewhere he can get his work in at the end of his contract year. he's kinda "earned" it...

yes, the cubs can do whatever they want with him and give him 100abs if they wish, but it rarely goes that way in the real world for a guy in his situation.

pie's importance to the club could determine some interesting moves. you gotta have a decent bench backup for pie unless you wanna throw him to the wolves and jones most likely isnt a part-time player.

Will Carroll on ZD from his UTK column 9-17:

Zach Duke only hit 85 on the speed gun during his Sunday start. He's a command and control guy, not a power pitcher, but losing six mph tells me that something is still going on with his arm, and it tells hitters that they can sit back and wait, because he's not going to zing one by them. Right now, the separation on his pitches isn't at a level where he can be successful. The question now becomes whether Duke is going to get his arm strength back without having surgery. It's one of the first questions the new GM will need to address, because many thought Duke would be a solid third or fourth starter behind Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell for the next half-decade.

Dave,

JJ is not going to hit a lefty well enough to justify playing him in CF in a big park like Joe Robbie pro player dolphins stadium. So for Willis and Olsen's starts I will take Pie or Fuld if I know going in I am most likely getting an 0for or atmost a hit.

"six mph tells me that something is still going on with his arm"

oooo...something.

wow, and i thought it might be anything...and its something.

glad that's cleared up.

Isn't Carrol supposed to be a Cubs fan? Talk about the Whammy. I put the over/under on Cubs hits against Duke at 3 through 7 innings. Hope we can rock their bullpen.

Has anyone seen Fuld play center field in a big ballpark? Risk aversion makes me want to play Jones at this point. I am not crazy about having Theriot and Fuld in the same lineup, especially if neither ( i before e?) gets to bat leadoff. Plus Jones has been busting his ass.

fuld covering ground wont be an issue...him getting used to the "barriers" (walls, etc) is his only shortcoming there.

while some here love his arm we differ on the quality of it...we all seem to agree he has nice velocity, but some (including me) arent real huge fans of his accuracy. still, its not a weak or even average arm. put both together and you got something nice. not like he's known for missing the cutoff man by 20ft. or something.

JJ is not going to hit a lefty well enough to justify playing him in CF in a big park like Joe Robbie pro player dolphins stadium.

Neither are Pie or Fuld. And I really don't think that Pie or Fuld are that much better than Jones defensively.

Jones has been excellent in CF.

Wasn't that Duke's first start in like three months?

I don't know a darn thing about his rehab, but wouldn't you like to give him more than one start to build some velocity before labeling him as broken?

TEST POST

✔Cubs in first
✓Pirates come to town
☢Neifi☢

Lilly➠Z➔Hill

Ignore that comment please, found the character palette on a Mac, was testing it out.

&hearts TCR &hearts

awwww

Can you get the recyclable symbol for Neifi?

"Ignore that comment please, found the character palette on a Mac, was testing it out."

You could have gone back a page and used an old thread.

no recyclable symbol, but I can put my posts in Braille!!!

☠DUSTY☠

☤Dr. Joseph Hecht☤

My apologies to you Chad and all that have been harmed by my actions.

Dude, you don't owe me anything. You owe it to the integrity of the blog!

The key to Carroll's comments are "it tells hitters they can sit back and wait". We can only hope.

Integrity?

hehe.

"Does anyone see Z winning either of his last two starts?"

If he doesn't stop fidgeting and screwing around out there during the first few innings, then hopefully he'll be ok. If not, then hoo boy.

"...fuld covering ground wont be an issue…him getting used to the “barriers” (walls, etc) is his only shortcoming there."

Did you see the catch he made near the RF wall in St. Louis? The guy almost ran through the wall to get there, then made a terrific catch of a sinking liner in foul territory (at a critical time in the game, BTW). The kid was put in as a late - inning defensive replacement, and came through. Give the kid a shot for at least one game, he's earned it.

Fuld's play looked better than it was. He jumped for no reason really. Nonetheless, nice play.

Sam Fuld had an OPS of 760 (.290/.372/.388) in AA. He did put up better numbers in AAA after getting promoted, but that is in a small sample size (52 at-bats)

His speed/defense is nice. His offense? Not so much. It is decent, but doesn't yell, "play me in a playoff race" or anything like that. Jacque Jones is a better option than Fuld right now. I really don't think it is even a question.

And I agree with Rob - the catch near the wall wasn't nearly as difficult as he made it look.

watched it again on MLB.tv, just a few inches foul and there's really no foul territory there but there was no real reason to jump for it. If anything he overran the ball a bit.

But hey, nice play.

back to my Matt Kemp rant, Pierre and Gonzo go 0 for 7 with a BB.

VA Phil would have hung himself by now if he was Dodgers fan. :)

"And I agree with Rob - the catch near the wall wasn’t nearly as difficult as he made it look."

That happens all the time in baseball...

But unless you were the one making the play, its easy for you to say and look at the replays 50 times.

Besides, I'd rather have a guy on my team, where there might be any doubt, jump and catch it than not. The kid never played in GABP before anyway. It was a solid catch.

wasn't saying otherwise, it was Jim Edmonds Web Gem in all its glory.

30 mins live chat brewers game, who's in?

"...it was Jim Edmonds Web Gem in all its glory."

HA HA!

So true Rob. So true!

I was at a Cardinals game in the 3-game set recently and the LF Ludwick dives twice for liners he didn't need to. So they (the catches) looked cool and all the red-cladded people got up to cheer. I was yelling, "HOT DOG!".

Did you get a hot dog? Sometimes it's easier just to wave a fiver as the hotdog guy comes around.

MVP: Come on no love for Hanley? Still like Holliday...

on a better team, yeah Hanley. I was approaching it from the writers point of view though.

Real Neal #92

Did you get a hot dog?

Heh. Pretty funny.

Andy Van Slyke was the original king of pointless sliding as I recall. Maybe the Cardinals teach it in the minors (realize Edmonds came up as a 1st basemen with the Angels). It will sure get you some gold gloves though.

"Maybe the Cardinals teach it in the minors (realize Edmonds came up as a 1st basemen with the Angels). It will sure get you some gold gloves though."

This is good! HA!

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