Know Thy Enemy

Our enemy finally has a face and it is the face of a slitherin menace. The Mets collapse (yeah 1969 karma is a b-tch) will send us to the Valley of the Sun beginning Wednesday. I'll break down the Dbacks further this week but it appears rotations have been set, at least for the first 3 games: Game 1 Wednesday @ Arizona: Carlos Zambrano vs Brandon Webb Game 2 Thursday @ Arizona: Ted Lilly vs Doug Davis Game 3 Saturday @ Wrigley: Livan Hernandez vs Rich Hill Things will get considerably more interesting starting with Game 4 as both teams will have the options of going with their "ace" on 3 days rest and it very well might matter which team is down 2-1. Then of course the decision on Game 4 will effect Game 5's starters. If the Cubs and Dbacks both decide to let their pitchers get their full rest than it'll likely be Jason Marquis and Micah Owings in Game 4 although Marquis's last few performances seem to have Lou rethinking that decision.
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Upton left the game with a right forearm contusion in the 2nd. I imagine if he cant go their RF will be Quentin.

so when are the times for the NLDS going to be announced? gotta be in the next few hours.....the cubs won't have afternoon games i'm guessing since a) they're the cubs and get big ratings and b) they're playing a west coast team.

i would guess two prime timers for games 1 and 2.

whenever anyone sees this, post for me ASAP, i have some work scheduling to try to change in case the games are at weird times.

Found a typo

"Things will get considerably more interesting starting with Game 4 as both teams will have the options of going with their “ace” on 3 days rest..."

Wouldn't Ted Lilly only have had 2 days rest and thus be unavailable? I guess he could pitch, he is a Cage Fighter.

rockies win, get out your popcorn and watch the show tomorrow night in denver as half state realizes that they a) have a major league team and that b) their season isn't done even though it's october 1.

We'll have Monday baseball. Rockies hung on against the Snakes. Colorado & San Diego tomorrow for the right to go to Philly.

FYI, tomorrow's one-game playoff starts 6:37 central time, according to Rockies' broadcast.

Hurrah to an awesome regular season! No one wins or loses more than 96.

Now for the greatest possible postseason .....

Boy, I sure missed the boat on the Phillies, and I'll admit it.

Manuel moved Pat the Bat to the top part of the order and the Phils took off. They went bananas.

Bring on the D-Bags.

Wes,

That's because the Phillies are all about hitting and you're a pitcher ;)

I've said it before, but MLB is really screwing with the integrity of the playoffs with all these off days that they are building in for TV. Lilly and Z can pitch four of the five NLDS games if Z goes on short rest on Sunday!

And the same thing goes for the NLCS, where there would be THREE off days. Lillly and Z could pitch 5 of the 7 games.

A fourth starter simply won't be needed, provided Lou opts to go with Z on three days' rest in Game 4 of the NLDS. Being left off the playoff roster would be a serious gutshot for Marquis, even though he doesn't deserve to be on it based on recent performances. STL had the luxury of leaving Marquis off the playoff roster last year because they knew he was going to be a free agent; the Cubs on the other hand need him to be on board mentally and emotionally for the next two years. I'm not saying they should coddle the guy, but there is a bigger picture than just the 2007 playoffs to worry about. Tough call.

I don't think you can leave Marquis off the roster. He's had some big games and a lot of innings for us this year, and the postseason should be a reward for the guys who got you there.

His recent performances haven't been his best, but he's a gritty pitcher who seems to find ways out of tough innings more often than not. Don't rip his heart out by leaving him off the roster.

the postseason should be a reward for the guys who got you there.

Absolutely not.

The post season is about winning. You need to have the players who you think give the best chance of winning games, regardless of "gritty"-ness or what they did early in the season.

With that said... I would probably place Marquis on the playoff roster, but I wouldn't necessarily start him, or even use him unless absolutely necessary.

Could always do the classic trick of listing a RH starter, letting him go one batter/inning, then bringing in a LH starter to mess with the other team's platoons.

Can't believe our good fortune. Tickets for Game 1 and Game 2 are still available at face value. Two tickets at $30 each. http://arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com Add in a flight and cheap hotel, it is still cheaper than seeing at home at current stubhub rates!

ok, boys. our magic number is 11.

11 wins, and then nhl can open up in hell, where it belongs.

i still think on wednesday a late afternoon game
and thursday a 9 pm start time

I will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning. It's a 7:30 start. I'm assuming Game 3 will be at night so there goes any chance of an early night and rest.

The northernmost portion of the course puts me on Addison before turning south on Broadway (miles 7 and 8). Too much to hope for but could you imagine running through Wrigleyville the day after a Cubs sweep? People would still be in the streets . . .

Eamus Catuli!

eat more cacti!

I've updated the TCR Predictions page... all except the MVP voting.... Let me know if I have a math error or something....

http://www.stanford.edu/~boptholt/TCR_predict...

Help. I (WPZ) tied with Silent Towel.

weegi: Game 3 is Saturday.

Very impressed: Cubs final team NL stats per ESPN:

Team Starters ERA, ranked 2nd (Pads)
K's -Ranked 1
Relievers ERA, ranked 3rd (up from 15 in May!)
BA - 8th

E-Man

Race is on Sunday. Cubs sweep in three.

Am I missing something?

weegipup

#11 - they're not really screwing with the schedule. They have to leave time for play-in games (what if the Mets had won today as well? A 4-way tie at 89 wins for two spots!) and rain-outs.

It's not unusual for a teams' #1 starter to start games 1, 4, and 7, especially if they start off down 2-1.

mark grace has opinions and d.v.dyck from the trib wrote it down...

"My dad always taught me to never bite the hand that feeds you," he said. "And right now I'm being fed by the Arizona Diamondbacks. You always want the team you work for to move on, but if they are going to lose, you certainly want it to be the team you have the history with.

"It's a tale of two very polar opposite teams. It should be a very entertaining playoffs; it's going to be rocking. I can't wait to get back to Chicago for it."

Can we trade BB for Gracie. I like BB but it makes too much sense.

it appears "twocoffee" is in the lead...

That would be twcoffee, not twocoffee. Anyway... I had forgot all about those... What a great weeked, Cubs win, I win $400 in my Fantasy League world series, now this... Plus, the cubbies are coming here (I live in Chandler, AZ) for the playoffs... I must be doing something right!

im with green lantern, why havent they announce game times yet?

In 1998, I expected the Cubs to lose the first round...it was just great that they got there.

in 2003, while I certainly knew they had an uphill climb, with their pitching rotation set, I expected the Cubs to win the first round.

in 2007, I truly don't have a clue what to expect. sure inside, I hope and pray they'll win it all, and I really do think there is a chance. But in these short series, against a team that we lost two but had mostly competitive games during the regular season, I feel like the cubs could sweep the series...or could get swept.

Game 1 is critical...it all starts there. I can't wait.

Snakes? Bring in on!

*it*

As relates to those pathetic Mets:

I say their unprecedented collapse and those sure to follow should heretofore be attributed to
"THE POPEYE CURSE"!!! Nobody takes down our '89 skipper/hero without repurcusions....and he would have taken him out in the second round.

- Cubs finished with the 6th best record in the League
- Top 5 teams finished within 2 games of each other
- 6 to 9 teams witing 3 games of each other
- 11-15 within 2 games of each other

- Cubs went 2-6 in season series against teams over .500 (beating Brews and Rockies)
- Cubs went 5-1-1 against teams below .500 (lost to Marlins, tie with Reds)
- Best record vs opponent - 6-1 vs Nationsals
- Worst record vs opponent - 0-6 vs Marlins

My win total included the playoffs!

My post season award guesses:

Cy Young: Lackey and Peavy
MVP: Ordonez and Fielder
Roy: Bannister and Braun
Comeback: Pena (though he shouldn't really be elligible) and Rowand
Managers: Indians Manager (is that still Wedge?) and Hurdle - The AL finished how they were expected to almos to a tee, except Boston and the Indians.

Lots of awards up for grabs in my esitmation, should be interesting.

Andy — September 30, 2007 @ 4:09 pm
FYI, tomorrow’s one-game playoff starts 6:37 central time, according to Rockies’ broadcast.

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

ANDY: That's correct. And it will be on TBS.

Cy:Peavy and Beckett
MVP: ARod and Holliday
ROY:Dice-K y Braun
Comeback Pena and Oliver Perez
Manager:Wedge and Hurdle

"MVP: Ordonez and Fielder"

C'mon. Really? Really? No, no, really???!?!?!??!

Not the guy who led his team to the playoffs AND led the the majos in home runs and rbis. That is just wrong.

Fielder, i can see as the winning teams best players didn't have as good of a season but Jimmy Rollins really deserves it.

I think the writers will give it to Ordonez ... actually he could be comeback player of the year too. They like the story better, and they have shown in the past that they don't just make in the HR and RBI award in the AL.

Why would you give the award to Rollins over Howard and Utley if you're so keyed up on Home Runs and RBI's? I think that the being the third best hitter on his own team and the fact that Howard won it last year will both hurt Rollins's chances. He's certainly deserving of being mentioned though. His chances will depend a lot on how heavily the writers weigh in the effect of his home park.

I have had it with these Mothereffing Snakes in these Mothereffing playoffs!

I think the writers will give it to Ordonez … actually he could be comeback player of the year too.

I would bet money that A-Rod wins the MVP.

And comeback player of the year?

He played in 155 games last year with a line of .298/.350/.477. I am not really sure how he would be considered for comeback player of the year.

My predictions:

MVP: ARod and Rollins (Holliday will be 2nd)
Cy Young: Becket and Peavy
ROY: Pedroia and Braun
Comeback: Pena and Hamilton
Manager: Torre and Melvin

What? Z will win the Cy Young this year. I heard it from a very reliable source.

Doug Davis has an interesting home/road split this season, his first in Arizona.

Doug Davis on road:
3.75 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9, .269/.358/.384 against

Doug Davis at home:
4.75 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9, .294/.371/.474

He shut us down at Arizona on Aug 25, but that was without Soriano and before our guys figured out that lefty pitchers simply use the other hand and thus are not by definition sinister or necessarily intimidating.

I like our chances of winning one of the first two games. And I love putting Rich Hill on the mound on Saturday, he is excellent on extra rest--a 0.96 ERA in four starts this year on 6 or more days of rest.

My picks for comeback player award this year would be Carlos Pena in AL and Dmitri Young in NL. Tiger first basemen in 2006 and 2005 respectively! This means that the smart money will be on Sean Casey next year.

DC Tom -- I like our chances of at least a split of the first 2 games too. And in a 5 game series, with Z and Lilly on the mound in the first 2 games, we better get at least a split or we are in serious trouble...

I think I actually prefer not having home field advantage in a 5 game series. With the top 2 SP's on each team facing off in the first 2 games, you could say that the outcome will be driven largely by which stud SP is having the better night. Games 3 and 4 are a little more of a patchwork crapshoot, where things like a screaming crowd can have more of an impact.

Saturday night in Wrigleyville will be ridiculous. If you are even thinking about making the trip down to the neighborhood to hang out, stop thinking about it and do it! There is no atmosphere like it for playoff baseball, and watching it at a bar is intense and fun as hell. And how many Saturday night games have there ever been at Wrigley? I'd be willing to bet it's three or less, maybe zero. It will be a unique, epic experience.

Wouldn't Josh Hamilton have Comeback Player wrapped up? Unless he's not eligible because he didn't have a MLB career until this year. Not sure how those rules work.

I don't complerely recall the ordanance about Fri. and Sat. night games. Are they allowed to have night games in the playoffs?

Speaking of Rich Hill -- he finished 5th in the league in strikeouts!

Re: playoff game times, I heard on Mike & Mike that times will be announced today, but not before noon eastern, fwiw.

Although I could not find any particular rule, ccording to this story on MLB.com, Hamilton is not eligible for the NL Comeback award because he is a rookie:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070...

On that MLB.com list (Young, JJ Hardy, Kelly Johnson, Kaz Matsui and Oliver Perez), I would say that Dmitri Young is close to a lock. Although statistically speaking, Oliver Perez's comeback was more impressive--as he went from a pitcher that was below-replacement level to All-Star quality. I just think that when it comes time to case ballots, voters will be hard-pressed to use "comeback" and "Met" in the same sentence.

two typos, duh..."according to this story" and "time to cast ballots"...

Has anyone posted the playoff team rosters showing who has the most ex-Cubs yet?

John

Re: playoff night games, I recall that while there is a "neighborhood cap" on the number of night home games, that only applies to the regular season. In 2003 the Cubs played an old fashioned doubleheader (i.e. not a day/night split DH) on the last Saturday of the season because they had used their allotment of night games, but then they played a night game in the NLDS on the following Friday vs. the Braves.

Snakes! Why does it always have to be *snakes*?

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Cubs took 31 to Phoenix with them, Fuld to the AFL and told to stay sharp in case he's needed as an injury replacment

After some research, I find that the Cubs are allowed 30 home night games per season.

http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/...

Since that release, the number has been bumped to 30 until 2015. I did not find anything about Friday or Saturday nights, but I swear I remember that from somewhere.

In 2003 both games with Atlanta were day games (Sat& Sunday)

I bet they go the same way with the Dbacks.

Cubs to get Dick Stockton(cool) and everyone's favorite Hawaiian pitcher Ron Darling doing the Cubs/Dbacks series.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/hies...

Jacos -- the Prior/Maddux game (Game 3) was on a Friday night at Wrigley.

433-

Clement was Saturday?

You are right!!!

Sorry for the mis information, I still think they will get the day games for Sat and Sun

According to TBS's online schedule, here are the game time slots (Chicago time) for the days the Cubs play:

WED: 12:30, 4:00, 7:30

THU: 2:30, 6:00, 9:30

SAT: 4:30, 8:00

SUN: 11am, 2:30, 6:00

I'd say the Cubs are lining up to get the late slot on at least Thursday since all the other games on that day will be in the Eastern time zone.

Yeah Jacos, that was back when MLB didn't screw with the integrity of the game with the scheduling! Cubs played on Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat Sun. Five games in six days, meaning Prior could only pitch once.

This year the Cubs would play 5 in 7 days, meaning Lilly and Z can pitch twice each. Boston would play its 5 ALDS games over 8 days! Ridiculous.

My vote is for 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 11 AM slots. Do I write my congressman?

Comeback player of the Year, to me it is about coming back to a former level of play. A lot of these guys mentioned would be better qualified for 'breakout' players of the year, and as mentioned Hamiliton doesn't have anything to come back to, he's a rookie. I may go with Perez, I had forgot about him if I had my own vote, but I will stick with Rowand, I think the writers will want to throw the Phillies a bone.

Lots of the votes should be close, and I would 'bet money' that more than one award goes to someone who doesn't get the most first place votes, which means there will be plenty of bitching about the sportswriters politickign for their favorites. Some guy from Philly leaving Fielder off his ballot, or way down on it to give Rollins or Utley a better chance.

AZ Phil -- I got the game times in #61 off of TBS' online schedule -- do you have different info?

"This year the Cubs would play 5 in 7 days, meaning Lilly and Z can pitch twice each. Boston would play its 5 ALDS games over 8 days! Ridiculous."

This is one of the things I brought up when Rob G made his 'special sauce' post earlier this year. In the post season your #4 and #5 starters may have no influence on the outcome, so teams with deeper rotations, and the Cubs are one of those, are a disadvantage, compared to a team like the Phils who have one good starter and start their best part, hitters, in every game. One of these days I will do the research, but I suspect that has a lot to do with the playoffs' unpredictability.

Can't believe I hadn't heard this... Polanco didn't make any errors this year. 141 games. Guess that's some sort of record? What was Sandberg's 89-90 streak, like 123?

i don't think'll play at 12:30 on Wednesday. That'd be 10:30am in Phoenix.

Yeah Neal, it really distorts things. Hamels is 20% of the Phils' rotation yet he can pitch 40% of their NLDS games. By the same token, I guess, Z and Lilly are 40% of our rotation yet they can pitch 80% of our NLDS games. As you pointed out, any "deep rotation" advantage goes out the window under the TBS-driven format.

Even in the old days (pre-divisions) where teams went directly to the World Series, the WS was played with two off days such that a team's ace could start games 1,4, and 7. And that happened many, many times.

It's ALWAYS been true in baseball that a deep bench and a deep rotation can help get you to the post-season by helping win doubleheaders (and MLB clubs used to play about a dozen SCHEDULED doubleheaders every year), but then it's up to your "Big Three" starters and everyday lineup to "close the deal" and win the championship.

This didn't start with TV.

Neal, I think I agree with your gut that playoff baseball favors teams with top-heavy pitching staffs and solid hitting line-ups. Although I think it would be more accurate to say that the format favors teams with two top starters out of the three they use, not just one.

All told, of the five NL postseason teams, I'd take the Cubs 1-2-3 over any except the Padres.

After Webb, the D'backs have Doug Davis and Livan. Neither Davis (in AZ) nor Livan give me much reason to worry. I'd still rather have Lilly and Hill.

Similarly for the Phillies, once you get past Hamels, you face Kendrick and Moyer. They are both "only OK" and potentially a liability.

I suspect the Rockies would go with Francis, Morales and Jimenez in that order. It's the most intriguing of the NL top three because Morales and Jimenez are young and have shown flashes.

The Padres rotation will be messed up because they have to throw Peavy today, which means his turn will be Saturday. So they basically would have to invert their rotation. Maddux will go Wednesday, then Young Thursday and Peavy Saturday. Inverting their rotation might actually give them an advantage against the Phillies, if they make it. They would avoid putting Peavy against Hamels and also has you pitching Peavy at home, where he has a career 2.86 ERA (2.51 this year). So why not effectively concede the Hamels start and go Young v. Kendrick and Peavy v. Moyer?

Wes — October 1, 2007 @ 10:26 am
i don’t think’ll play at 12:30 on Wednesday. That’d be 10:30am in Phoenix

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

WES: Not only that, but playing a day game at Chase Field on Wednesday would interfere with the Cubs Instructional League game versus the Brewers at Maryvale. And then Thursday is Camp Day at Fitch Park, so hopefully the Thursday game will be a night game, too. I can't be two places at once.

Phillies and whoever they play will get the bad times.

No way TV gives bad times to NY,BOS, LA, Chicago.

AZ Phil -- that's very true. My point was that this year there are some significant scheduling changes from how things have been recently been scheduled, and these changes were evidently prompted by the TBS deal, which bugs me.

As an example, in the 2003 NLDS the Cubs could only start Wood and Prior in 3 of the 5 games. This year, they can start Z and Lilly in 4 of the 5. (I don't mean to compare Wood & Prior to Z & Lilly, but you see my point.) It's a subtle but huge difference, especially in the Red Sox/Angels series, where short rest won't even be required to get the top 2 pitchers on each team 2 starts each.

I'd say that this gives a new advantage to teams whose top 2 starters are head and shoulders above the rest of their rotation.

Most of it is behind the wall, but ESPN has its series preview up.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2007/se...

Wow, 8 of 10 "experts" picking the Cubs to win the series, including Gammons, Stark, Phillips, Neyer, Olney, Kurkjian.

the AZ series, that is.

"Wow, 8 of 10 “experts” picking the Cubs to win the series, including Gammons, Stark, Phillips, Neyer, Olney, Kurkjian."

Well based upon the stats, the Cubs offense, defense and pitching are all better than the D-Backs. On top of this, the D-Backs have given up more runs then they have scored, which makes me think that they aren't as good as their record.

Except, 433, that in the "old" way, in a 5-game series, the top two starter would work Game 5 on four days rest. A team could have gotten its top two guys to pitch four games of a five game series simply by throwing Games 4 and 5 and three days rest. That is, in fact, what the Braves did against us in 2003, with Ortiz and Hampton.

The current way, to get four starts out of the top two starters, only one one start (Game 4) needs to be on three days rest. The difference is in Game 5--before, you would need to throw your No. 2 starter on four days rest, now he can rest an extra day. While that is clearly a difference, it's not clear to me that it is a tremendous difference from last year. Basically, the "old" way stood to reward teams with two marquis starters that could pitch on short rest.

Check out tbs.com... They have a pic of Tom Glavine as their poster boy for the mlb postseason page... Classic!

"...with two marquis starters..."

You mean two bums that can't handle last place teams when their team needs wins??

DC Tom — October 1, 2007 @ 11:13 am

Basically, the “old” way stood to reward teams with two marquis starters that could pitch on short rest.

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

DC TOM: A team with two "marquis starters" would be lucky to win two games in the post-season. Marquis starters usually pitch fairly well the first half of the season, and then generally fade at the end.

Thanks for catching my typo, Chermo. I'm projecting, apparently.

The extra off day would seem to have more advantage to teams with a strong late-inning bullpen. The Yankees can use Jaba and Rivera just about every game, as can the Cubs with Marmol and Howry. (And yes, I intentionally did not mention our other guy.)

"Wow, 8 of 10 “experts” picking the Cubs to win the series, including Gammons, Stark, Phillips, Neyer, Olney, Kurkjian"

If you go to Neyer, then audio...he makes the Cubs favorites to win the NL pennant.

"All told, of the five NL postseason teams, I’d take the Cubs 1-2-3 over any except the Padres."

Chris Young is not the Chris Young that out dueled Zambrano AND Derrek Lee. He's hurt and not throwing well at all. Right now Z, Lilly and Hill are the class of the NL playoff teams.

Didn't FOX actually mandate many of the changes?

The whole reason WS game 7 wouldn't be played until November 1 is because FOX wanted the games to start and end mid-week, instead of the Sat/Sun, Tues/Wed/Thurs, Sat/Sun that has been used recently. I think that's the change that elongated the other series brackets.

Chris Young is not the Chris Young that out dueled Zambrano AND Derrek Lee. He’s hurt and not throwing well at all. Right now Z, Lilly and Hill are the class of the NL playoff teams.

I tell you what, everything put together, I still like the Padres a little bit better than the Cubs as far as a complete pitching staff (starters + late-inning pen) goes. But, we could knock them all over Wrigley if they beat the Phightin's. I don't like their lineup very much.

If they don't get by the Rockies, I really think we've got the best staff (Z, Lilly, Hill, Wood, Marmol, Howry, Dempster) of any team in these here playoffs on either side.

I don't know, AZ Phil, I remember Clement pitching game 4 in '03.

It seems like the playoffs used to start on Tuesday, not Wednesday. That makes less an advantage to setting up your rotation by clinching early than their used to be.

Although Young hasn't been pitchin lights out lately, the Cubs big 3 have all been inconsistant this year.

Also, just got a phone call from a friend in Chicago who was listening to The Score (Better him than me. Poor sap).

Said they interviewed Lou, and Lou said Marquis would not start Game 4. He'll throw Z on 3 days if it comes to that.

From The Trib's blog, Hardball, a few minutes ago:

According to Major League Baseball sources, the Cubs games at Arizona on Wednesday and Thursday are likely to start around 9:30 p.m. For the Cubs one guaranteed game at Wrigley Field on Saturday, sources said it was likely to be a 5 p.m. first pitch. Should they play on Sunday, that start is undetermined.

Thanks for the update, Ann Marie .... screwed by the Cubs' popularity!

new thread up for debate...

Good info Ann Marie -- that calls into question the game slot information from the TBS website. According to that, there wasn't going to be a late late game on Wednesday, but who knows.

Dbacks will be the only West Coast team hosting the first 2 games I believe hence the late start time.

Angels, Rockies/Padres would all start on the road.

the mets can beat the diamondbacks easy, philly easy, cubs easy, and the rockies easy. they are definatley gonna make some good changes over offseason and stomp some phills. and o yea, they got swept 3 games to the rockies in the alds. also, the mets got rid of ricky henderson. which is the reason why jose reyes was in a slump for semtember. watch out next year.

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