Gameday Open Thread / A's @ Cubs; Cubs @ Giants

In the first half of Wednesday's day/night Cubs exhibitiongameathon, Ryan Dempster gets the start at HoHoKam (2:05 Central Time), while in the second game, starting at 9:05 Central Time, Jon Lieber throws against the Giants.

If Lou Piniella sticks to his vow to name the five-man starting staff by the end of the week, this would be the last chance for Dempster and Lieber to make their respective cases. Jason Marquis, who allowed just one run in five innings against the Royals Tuesday, has made a pretty good case for himself already.

Miniscule sample sizes and spring training weirdness aside, here's how Dempster, Lieber, and Marquis stack up so far:

PITCHER G IP
H
ER
K
BB
ERA
OPS vs.
Dempster 4 10.2 10 8 6 6 6.75 979
Lieber 3 10 7 2 8 1 1.80 553
Marquis 4 14 14 3 7 6 1.93 697

In at least one writer's opinion, Dempster remains "the odds-on favorite" to win the third spot in the Cubs rotation, leaving Marquis and Lieber in the running for the remaining slot. (In fairness to Dempster and Paul Sullivan, Demp's numbers looked pretty good until he blew up in his last outing, but as many have written and commented here before, Dempster's lifetime numbers as a starter are none too attractive.)

Thie picture for all three pitchers and the immediate future of the Cubs' starting five should be at least a little clearer after the action concludes tonight.

Elsewhere and otherwise:

-- According to Ken Rosenthal (and thanks to mlbtraderumors for flagging it), former Cub Jody Gerut could be in for significant playing time for the Padres as Jim Edmonds recovers from a calf strain. Arizona Phil pointed to Gerut's red-hot hitting in Venezuela months ago and obviously the Pads shared Az Phil's interest.

-- Again by way of mlbtraderumors.com--does that guy ever sleep?--comes a note from the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds are looking for a backup catcher (somehow Paul Bako isn't enough). Writer John Fay thinks the team would part with Ryan Freel to get that catching help "in a second."

Not sure that the Cubs have the catching help to offer or that Cincy would move Freel within the division, but the Cubs have supposedly had the righthanded hitting utility guy in their sights in the past.

 

 

Comments

I know you kind of mentioned, or at least asked, if the Cubs would have "the catching help to offer," but come on.

The Cubs backup catcher is actually quite bad. And his backup (Koyie Hill) is even worse, and was available for free last year.

The Cubs don't have a catcher to trade.

Hell... based on how Soto has looked this spring, we may not really have a starting catcher.

Then again, if Paul Bako represents the bar...

What? No love for Hank White? I'll take him over Jason LaRue or whatever terrible retreads y'all bring up.
Felipe Lopez SUCKS. He can't field. He's not worth the bother. If the Cubs can't get Byrd or Roberts, pull up the rug for now.

Jason Larue - Career OPS+ - 86 (Last 4 seasons: 98, 110, 68, 33)
Hank White - Career OPS+ - 64 (60, 73, 81, 6)

Both suck. But Hank White sucks worse.

Who's this guy Thomas who DHed for the Cubs this afternoon? No one I know of in the Cub farm system. MLB doesn't show him either. "Tis a puzzlement.

I didn't see or hear the game, but I'm thinking it's Tony Thomas, a draft pick from last year.

http://thebaseballcube.com/players/T/Tony-Thomas.shtml

Just saw this at cubs.com regarding Thomas...

 http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080319&content_id=2445166&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc

Submitted by Hook on Wed, 03/19/2008 - 4:56pm.

Who's this guy Thomas who DHed for the Cubs this afternoon? No one I know of in the Cub farm system. MLB doesn't show him either. "Tis a puzzlement.

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

 HOOK: Yes, it was 2B Tony Thomas (2007 #3 draft pick out of Florida State).

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  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 21 min 10 sec ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 1 hour 27 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 21 hours 57 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 22 hours 2 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 22 hours 7 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 22 hours 19 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 22 hours 30 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 22 hours 55 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 23 hours 35 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 1 day 48 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 1 day 6 hours ago view