Quick Cubs Hits

- Sean Marshall will start Tuesday and Rich Harden will start Thursday. Letting Marshall start Tuesday means he'll likely get the start for the likely season finale on Sunday as well. Lou also said he won't be lightening any workloads for Harden or Zambrano this series. Pushing Harden to Thursday also means Lilly will get moved to a Saturday start.

Phil Rogers suggests this all means an NLDS rotation of Dempster, Harden, Zambrano and Lilly - a plan that I fully endorse.  Rogers also provides some useful information that all four possible playoff opponents are less productive (judged by OPS) against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers. Bruce Miles has some other thoughts on the rotation and Lou himself said he's not making any announcements until this weekend.

- Rogers also reports that Jason Marquis will likely head to the pen and a long relief role for the playoffs although there are no specific quotations attributed to anyone. For some reason, I thought he was left off of last year's playoff roster, but he was just bumped from the rotation.

- Congrats to Micah Hoffpauir and Mitch Atkins, the Cubs Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Year.

- The Cubs claimed outfielder Brad Snyder off waivers and designated Adam Harben for assignment. Snyder was the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

- The Cubs made some changes to their AFL roster. Pitcher Justin Berg will go to the Venezuelan Winter Leagues instead and be replaced by righty Jessie Estrada. Also, catcher/infielder Steve Clevenger and infielder Esmailin Caridad have been added to the Mesa Solar Sox bringing the total Cubs players up to 8 (Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, Nate Spears, Donald Veal and Rocky Roquet being the other 5).

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Cubs playoff tickets for the NLDS go on sale today for those who won the lottery, which I did not.

Nor did I. Or my wife. :(

Me neither. Bah.

Nor did i or the fiance... :(

but i did come across this...

http://www.thecubsbrickyard.com/2008/04/23/felix-p...

Nor did i or the fiance... :(

but i did come across this...

http://www.thecubsbrickyard.com/2008/04/23/felix-p...

Dempster, Lilly, Z and Harden

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/11791...

Lilly has a 4.50 ERA at home, 3.89 on the road, so I don't see that.

also says the Cubs think the Astros should be blaming their owner.

Everything else that I've read says that Lou's decision to push back Harden is so that he can pitch game 2, and that probably Dempster would go game 1 at home, with Z pitching game 3. Lilly would start 4 and Dempster could come back for 5.

"Right-hander Jason Marquis probably won't be in the rotation, but he's a virtual lock to make the playoff roster."

Slightly misleading. As a reliever presumably.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/notebook?page=bbtn

IMO as much as I like Lou, Rick seems to give him a little too much credit.

Agreed. Hard to believe all of those decisions eminated from Lou alone. Am sure Hendry et al had an influence.

Also, seems like Sheff has finally lost all clue.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20...

Hendry got smart all of a sudden when Dusty left and Lou arrived.

"football coach syndrome" runs rampant through a lot of sports it shouldnt.

The idea that we wouldn't pitch Z in game 1 is sickening. Winning the first game is very important and we need our best pitcher out there. Z is big game pitcher who pitched very well in game 1 last year.

it would help if Z was our best pitcher this year or the last 2 months though. We'll see what he does Wednesday.

I might add that there's a good chance that Z will actually be matched up against the opposing teams "ace" if he pitches Game 3, which I kind of like as well.

Dempster has to get a home start, whether it's Game 1 or 2. That leaves Z or Harden for the other game and I actually think Harden is by far our best pitcher, plus pitching him in Game 2 makes a lot of sense since there's a good chance you'll go to the bullpen early.

Chad's only saying this because Sammy Sosa isn't on our playoff roster. If he did, he'd be the clear bet for Chad's game 1 starter.

Myth:

Dempster is a better pitcher at Wrigley.

Truth: lower road whip and if you take away the one bad start against the W.Sox, his splits are even.

Truth: Started at Wrigley 20 times. Might account for all those home wins

Truth: Bad road run support

Z had a bad August. It's no surprise as he usually does. Then he turned it around in September in which he threw a game where the other team did not record one hit.

Z is a big game pitcher.

Dempster has been a better pitcher than Zambrano all year. Harden has been a better pitcher than Zamrano all year.

And one good game in September does not equate with "turning it around."

Zambrano in April/May: 7-1, 2.55

Dempster in April/May: 7-2, 2.76

Zambrano in June: 1-2, 5.68

Dempster in June: 2-1, 4.55

Zambrano in July: 4-1, 1.78

Dempster in July: 3-1, 1.99

Where Dempster has the clear edge is August/September, obviously. To say he's been "better all year long" isn't really accurate. We're kind of splitting hairs here.

So they were basically the same in April/May and July, and Dempster was significantly better (based on ERA) in June, August, and September.

So based on the numbers you gave, Dempster has clearly been better this year, with Zambrano being as good in a couple of months.

Overall:
Dempster- 2.99 ERA, 151 ERA+, 3.49 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 16.8 pitching win shares, 55.2 VORP
Zambrano- 4.17 ERA, 120 ERA+, 4.50 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 13.5 pitching win shares, 37.7 VORP

It really hasn't even been close as to who has been the better pitcher this year.

Dave, you said Dempster has been better all year long. It's just not true. You want to say Dempster has been better since August, go ahead. I won't argue that.

You can't say Dempster has been better "all year long" and then say they were the same in April/May and June.

Fair enough... I guess I should have said something like "Dempster has clearly been the Cubs best pitcher this year."

You may still argue that one, but it takes away the opportunity to use arbitrary markers to look at different segments of the season.

I like how they're arbitrary when they contradict what you said and believe.

It's clear that Dempster had a marginally better June and a much better August and September (and, no small note, has been healthy all year). In no way was I arguing that he wasn't the best starter overall or not a good choice to start the first playoff game. However, the stats show, whether you like it or not, that Z was just as good at certain times this year.

It's also clear that you often can't have a disagreement without being condescending. At least there was no, "Um..." involved.

I like how they're arbitrary when they contradict what you said and believe.

No - they are arbitrary because deciding to look at fragmented sections of a season, with very limited sample sizes in each fragment, is quite arbitrary. It has nothing to do with whether they contradict or confirm what I am saying.

It's clear that Dempster had a marginally better June

Marginally? His ERA was over a run better. That is significant.

However, the stats show, whether you like it or not, that Z was just as good at certain times this year.

Huh? Why would I not like that? I already said that they were equally good for two of the months.

see Chad, I was all proud of you that bothered to look up some stuff to support your point and then you go and blow it by saying Z usually has a bad August and turns it around in September.

Yes, he's had bad Augusts the last two years and did have a good Sept last year. Not so much this year - 6.32 ERA.

And before 2007, his Augusts were quite good.

2002: 5.86, 2003: 1.18, 2004: 3.62, 2005: 1.74, 2006: 3.63

in 2004 August was his worst month era wise

and 2003 is was terrible in august. 5.86 is quite good?

His 2003 August ERA was 1.18.

His 2002 August ERA was 5.86, but that is pretty irrelevant, being that it was his rookie year, and it was his second month as a starter in the bigs.

no 5.68 ERA is not, but 4 good Augusts versus 3 bad ones, does not constitute that he USUALLY has a bad August.

 

Anyone see this horseshit? http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2008/09/wrigley...

Ald. Tom Tunney is trying to get Wrigleyville bars to stop alcohol sales after the 7th inning.

How ridiculously absurd. Yeah, these bars that are only profitable because of the Cubs should stop selling basically their only product at ~9PM. Great idea, you jerkoff.

The fact that the ballpark has to stop selling in the 7th is bad enough. Because some douche gets in a fight or drives away drunk means the other 99.9% of us can't have fun. Politicians need to force people to take responsibility for their own actions and stop trying to pass ridiculous laws that take away our personal liberties "for our own good."

Give me Old Style or give me death!

it's only on a day that the Cubs or Wsox could possibly clinch, fwiw.

still kind of lame...

it'll never fly.

we're talking about a neighborhood with so much pull they have (numerous times) battled a corporate giant in the Trib. Co. and made out pretty damn well.

all these people that don't belong in the neighborhood moving in and trying to change the rules mid-game.

ranks up there with people moving out to rural areas and complaining about farmer's equipment and animals...or moving near an airport and trying to get flight patterns changed...

besides...that area is a walking area...no one's gonna converge 10,000 cars deep in that area to get out and party.

how about keeping the trains open a little longer...encourage public transport and keep the area around the stadium walking area...meh...

we're talking about a neighborhood

The bars and the neighborhood are two very different constituencies.

how about keeping the trains open a little longer...encourage public transport and keep the area around the stadium walking area...meh...

Huh? The Red Line runs all night. The 22 (Clark) bus runs all night. Several other area bus lines run all night.

Taxis also obviously run all night.

Lack of available public transit is not a problem around Wrigley.

didnt know the red line ran all night.

and the neighborhood thing is what's pushing most of these complaint issues...the night game issue...the "everyone is pissing in my yard" complaints...the noise stuff...

and the bars/businesses i consider part of the neighborhood even if they tend to be pro-people.

crunch... the neighborhood doesn't want noise, pissing in the yard, etc.

open bars = obnoxious people, loud people, people pissing in the yard, etc.

get it?

the neighborhood and the bar owners tend to be opposed to each other.

put it this way - it sure isn't the bar owners who don't want more night games.

"and the bars/businesses i consider part of the neighborhood even if they tend to be pro-people."

we're saying the same things...just a semantics roadblock

I agree that it is stupid, but a couple of fact checks.

1 - It does not appear that this is Tunney's idea, and he is not the one "trying" to get it done.
2 - As Rob mentioned, it would ONLY be for games where the Cubs/Sox could win a series.
3 - It appears to be "voluntary."

Next thing you know Blue Laws will go into effect during the entire game. Martial law will be declared. Dogs and Cats living together!

This is nothing big--just Chicago's BS MO.

The bars will fight this big time. They're asking bars to give up significant income. I doubt anything will come of this.

We all know what happened in Chicago, the last time there was Prohibition. lol

With the strength of this rotation, you could start Dempster, Harden or Z in any order and it's pretty formidable. The "Z is a headcase" stuff is overrated to me in general and even more so in this case. It's not like he's gonna pout himself into a bad outing.*

*Disclaimer: That doesn't mean he might not pitch badly anyway. It's not his psyche that'll be an issue.

The "ban" is voluntary, so there's really nothing to fight. No bar will do it. If anything they'll offer 7th-inning specials.

No can do. You can only run alcohol specials all day. No happy hour allowed in Chicago.

That may be a law, but it's definitely not enforced and a ton of bars offer happy hour specials (or just random specials during the night). Case in point, Redmond's (Sheffield & Roscoe) usually offers a 2-for-1 Jager Bomb special about 3 times a night. It's almost like a strip club, where the DJ gets on the mic and announces, "2 for 1 Jager Bombs for the next 10 minutes only!"

They'll lose their liquor license if they're ever found out. It's definitely enforced if the city knows about it. Trust me on this one.

The reason why they're only announcing it as opposed to advertising it is that they're trying to minimize risk.

I don't know about this. Pretty much all the Bar1 bars (Durkin's, Redmonds, McGee's, Duffy's, Wrightwood Tap) have happy hours that are advertised at the bar and on their website.

From the Durkin's website:
"Durkin's is the happiest place in Chicago on Friday nights! Every Friday night we host our classic Happy Meal, but we're changing to time a little for summer! Our $15 meal package now includes a pizza and wing buffet, all drafts and vodka lemonades from 6-10pm."

If that doesn't count as a happy hour, then I don't know what is.

I found some stuff online about some supposed ordinances stating that liquor couldn't be priced differently throughout the day, but probably 90% of the bars I've ever been to in the city do this. Maybe the loophole is having a package deal (e.g. $10 for all you can drink for 3 hours).

They're making a meal package. That's not a happy hour. A happy hour is a time based discount on alcoholic beverages.

You are correct that this is a loophole.

I was in Chicago last week, and one of the major bars in wrigleyville had a sign with a different happy hour offer each day...it was on the outside of the bar, and the sign had clearly been there for a while.

Was it a different special each day? That's not illegal if it's all day long.. The Illinois Liquor Commission does not allow for the reduced price sale of an alcoholic beverage during a specific period of time during the course of a day.

Correct me if I'm wrong here but wasn't Wrigleyville relatively well behaved last Saturday?

Other than some jerkoff yelling at me for knocking over his trash cans and pissing in his yard. I thought the Neighborhood was fine.

I have a slightly-used recent scorecard pencil I'd be willing to put up as a prize, ROB G, for a PL. Roster Pool.

IS the majority at TCR of the opinion that Ward will be chosen over Hoff-Power? As of Today when I looked, in 94 AB's, he has 21 hits w/a SLG. of .394. He won a game for us, yes.

Micah, in 54 AB's, has 19 hits. .444 SLG

IT would seem, based on the total pitcher numbers of course,that one of Pie, Hoffpaiur, and Ward are not going to make it.

What say ye? Could Lou EVER go with a "rookie" LH PH bat? Or will Ward, "turn it around."?

Ward may not have been great this year, but late in a tight game I want the veteran.

I can envision Ward being the 2008 Model of the Randall Simon 2003 vintage. Few at bats, but one swing could change the game.

it's between Hoffpauir and Pie for the final spot with a small chance they give it to McGehee for a right-handed bat.

pitchers I would guess:

Z, Harden, Dempster, Lilly

Wood, Marmol, Cotts, Marquis, Samardzija, 

then 2 of these 3

Marshall, Howry, Gaudin. If Gaudin isn't healthy, that makes it easy, otherwise I hope they just drop Howry.

I sure as hell hope he goes with Hoffpauir over Pie. Pie's only value that I can see is as a pinch runner. If Marquis is included we don't need Pie (I'm only half kidding).

Someone tell me what purpose Ronny Cedeno serves in a game where he doesn't start--other than pinch running, which Pie can do. If Cedeno is supposed to be a fielding upgrade at second, he didn't look like it on that Delgado grounder in the ninth yesterday.

Cedeno is the weak link right now. In a playoff game in which R. Johnson starts, the righty PH'er off the bench will be Cedeno or Blanco, and Blanco is the backup catcher so Lou won't want to burn him.

Well... Cedeno is the best defensive middle infielder on the team, by far. But you are right, that one play from yesterday means that he sucks defensively.

He also brings speed. He also is the only real backup SS on the team.

As soon as Pie can play SS, he may be more valuable than Cedeno for this current team.

And, FWIW, some second half numbers comparing Cedeno with the Cubs' starting SS:
Theriot: .272/.358/.332 OPS: .690
Cedeno: .290/.338/.377 OPS: .715

Fun with stats.

Here's a stat: Cedeno had 35 hits in the 1st half, 20 (now 21) in the 2nd. Fewer at bats, sure. I wonder why? Four (now five) extra base hits in the second half. Probably three of them were bloop doubles down the RF line.

Cedeno has tools, including power and speed, but he doesn't use them. One stolen base in the second half.

Why do you need a backup shortstop in the playoffs, unless you're planning to rest the starter? DeRosa and Fontenot can both play short in an emergency. If Theriot gets hurt, Cedeno can be activated the next day.

Cedeno had 35 hits in the 1st half, 20 (now 21) in the 2nd. Fewer at bats, sure. I wonder why?

Seriously? You are quoting the number of hits as something that is meaningful for a backup player?

Four (now five) extra base hits in the second half. Probably three of them were bloop doubles down the RF line.

Really? You want to talk extra base hits? In the second half, Cedeno had 5 extra base hits in 74 at-bats (1 ever 14.8 at-bats). Theriot has 10 in 217 (1 in every 21.7 at-bats).

I don't see why everyone gets so worked up over these 2 guys. It seems like everybody loves one of them and hates the other. They're basically the same player, give or take a little speed here, power there.

not a big fan of Ronny, but there's a good chance he'll start at 2b versus a lefty.

sadly, he sports reverse splits this year of a .664 OPS vs lefties and .741 OPs against righties. A reverse split that so far has carried through his entire career numbers.

Clearly, Hendry is forcing Cedeno upon Lou.

I want the pitcher who we can trust the most to give solid efforts in game 1 and 5. That's Dempster...he may not scare the heck out of anyone, but he's consistent and solid, and can get us into the 8th inning.

Z is capable of throwing a brilliant shutout...but he's also capable of losing his head and blowing his top. That worries me.

I thought Z had grown up a lot this year. I thought he had grown out of his mental collapses. Unfortunately, I don't think he has...and when we have another solid starter, let's go with that.

I do think starting Lilly ahead of Z and Harden would be really dumb though.

I'd like to see:
Dempster, Harden, Zambrano, Lilly

I do not want to see:
Dempster, Lilly, Zambrano, Harden

2007 NLDS Game 1: 6 ip (pulled cause Lou is an idiot) 1h 1 er 1 bb 8 ks.

You can call sample size. I call him a gamer.

Do you still stick with Z if he is no better than mediocre tomorrow?
Giving him basically 1 good start in his last 8 appearances?

It's a challenge for Lou...Z has about double the ERA of any of the other 4 pitchers in August and September this year, including the no hitter. I don't personally think you can send Z out there for game 1 after his rough stretch, because of 1 great game.

If Z pitches a great game tomorrow, I'd be more comfortable going with him for game 1..but I'd still stick with Dempster no matter what.

It would be Nice if we went into the playoffs with Z pitching like he did in Apr-July. Unfortunately, we don't...and so we have some question marks.

there is a lot more than just the stats from tomorrow's game.

I would look at velocity, movement and location. If those things seem right, that's all i need to know that he's good to go.

Another advantage to starting Dempster in game 1, is that the Mets won't have seen him anytime recently.

OF course, it's a different story if the Brewers pass the Mets.

I don't want to be accused of being a Chadball follower, but I agree with this one. I believe that when we've REALLY needed the big guy to come out and pitch well, he's done it. Yes, he's struggled this at times year, a lot like he did last year and a lot like he does at times every year.

I believe I recall having a similar conversation at this time last year. People were scared about throwing him in Game 1 because he'd had a rough August - 7.06 ERA. But, he came back with a 3.44 in September and a solid start in the playoffs when we needed him. Yeah, the guy blows up every now and again, and I sure do wish he'd take some random game in July as seriously as he takes the one we REALLY need to win, but I'll sure take him on that must win day over almost anybody.

2 big differences in 2007 versus 2008.
2007, Z was far and away the best pitcher on the team...Lilly was a clear number 2. This year we have 3 really good pitchers.

2007, Z did come back with a good September. This year, he had one brilliant start, and one total implosion, and an injury to boot.

Personally, I think the pitcher we face in game 1 is going to be more important than the pitcher we put on the mound. I trust that Z, Demp or Harden could give us a solid outing and keep us in the game. The question becomes if we can score runs.

2007, Z was far and away the best pitcher on the team

Actually, not really.

At the end of the year Z, Hill, and Lilly all had almost identical numbers, and pitched at eerily similar levels all year.

This is why no one pays attention to me here.

But my point is still the same. Z was the #1 pitcher last year, and all else being equal, it wasn't a surprise that the #1, #2 and #3 pitchers in the playoffs were the same as the #1, #2, #3 in the regular season.

All is not equal this year though, as Dempster's numbers are head and shoulders above Z's, and Harden is up there too.

Dempster is definitely the best choice for a solid outing in the first game. Z gets the second start. Hopefully we don't need to use the bullpen much until game three. I put the over/under on innings Harden pitches at 5 and 2/3.

What are our chances against Santana in Game 1? Unless he throws 125 pitches, it is not likely we'd get to their shitty pen this game.

not great, but the Mets would have to clinch before Sunday to have Johan pitch Game 1. He's currently scheduled to start Sunday.

Now THAT is a bit more encouraging. I didn't know.

I would really like to see a Z vs. Santana battle in game 2. It would pacify Z's ego since there's a good reason to put him up against the Mets' ace and it allows us a greater likelihood of taking game 1 without too much bullpen use. Z in game one raises the tension level for everyone, fans and teammates alike. I'd like to see us not entering freak out mode in the first game of the NLDS.

and let us not forget the National pride that Z would want to claim if he bested Santana too.

Harden still makes the most sense for Game 2 imo. He's the best pitcher the Cubs have and even though you'll definitely need the pen, you have the off-day the next day. You can even consider using Marmol for 2 innings.

If Johan does pitch Sunday, he'd have to go on 3 days rest for Game 2, but considering he'd get 4 days for Game 5, I think the Mets have to do that.

It's not just our bullpen tiring that worries me. Our bullpen is definitely our weakest link. Our risk for loss and the all important "disappointment factor" goes way up. Harden is great, but if we lose game 1 and he starts game 2, I'd assume that our bullpen would provide us with a certain amount of crushing disappointment that is more likely to get in the players' heads. It's harder to come back from a Game 6, 2003 disaster than a normal loss. Maybe I'm still just suffering from Dusty-era hangover.

Cubs are 9-2 when Rich Harden starts the game, those 2 losses were his 2nd and 3rd game as a Cub. May I add that he has a 1.66 ERA as a Cub.

I do agree that using the bullpen in the 6th or 7th is the Cubs weakest link, but I also think with the day off on Friday, Lou should use Marmol for 2 innings.

I had a response all typed up, but I'd rather give up than continue the argument. Now that's arbitrary.

Harden is the best pitcher the Cubs have? I thought I read that Dempster was clearly the best pitcher this year. I hope someone can clear this up.

And it is me being condescending? Interesting.

FWIW, I said that Dempster has been the Cubs best pitcher all year. That would be hard for Harden to be, being that he wasn't on the Cubs for half of the season.

Harden has the best stuff on the team, and when he pitches he is the best pitcher that the Cubs have in terms of pure stuff and ability to dominate.

But he also has somewhat of an inability to go deep into games, and somewhat of an inability to pitch every 5 games.

If I need to win one game, and could pick any Cubs starter, I would pick Harden.

And right now, I would take both Dempster and Harden over Z.

I know you're going for snark there and directed towards dave, but Dempster has been the best Cubs pitcher this year. Harden is they're best pitcher though, he just hasn't been around the entire season.

imho

Actually, Dave, I was being facetious, not condescending. And yes, I knew what you meant, and I knew what Rob meant.

(FWIW, even if I was being condescending, it doesn't change that you often are.)

But in all seriousness, I agree with you, Dave...I would pick Dempster and Harden as #1 and #2 for the playoffs. It just goes to show how strong the rotation is if you have Z as a #3 (instead of, say, Rich Hill).

All I took issue with was your notion that Z didn't stack up with Dempster for the most part. It was a matter of semantics to a degree, and I don't disagree with your larger point about Dempster.

Fair enough?

Fair enough.

Should we kiss and make up? :)

(and, FWIW, 2007 Rich Hill, was arguably just as good as Z has been in 2008, overall)

What, am I Chad now?

Do you have a mullet?

I want Zambrano and Harden to pitch the most. I agree with Mr Whipple that Dempster is the most likely to have a solid outing. However, the playoffs are not about solid, they are about dominant. In the best of worlds, the Cubs opponents leave Chicago down 2-0 having seen only 4 pitchers--Z, Harden, Marmol, and Wood, and they might be thinking "how the hell are we ever going to get a hit off of these guys let alone a run?"

I don't think opponents fear, or don't look forward to hitting against Dempster (I always thought that when he was a closer,too). He gets/got people out, but the batters (in my world, at least) walked away thinking, "I'll get him next time". Not so much against Z, Harden, Marmol, and KW.

Maybe Wes, or somebody else who played something more serious than Little Leauge and intramurals can chime in on this...but it seems to me that there's value in how you beat somebody. Guys some times defeat themselves before they pick up the bat. Z and Harden are the Cubs starters most likely to do that.

Just my opinion.

I don't disagree with any of that, but you know Lou is going to use Dempster for a home start, despite Chad's very nice find earlier in comment #23.

I still vote Dempster, Harden, Z and Lilly, but I'd like to see the opponent first before committing to that.

Dempster at Shea....bad memories from last year. Very bad memories.

Not sure of the order, but I would go with Z and Dmepster at home (the two crowd favorites, with Z getting the most lift from the home crowd) and Lilly (who seems to have guts and has experience) and Harden (best pure stuff) at Shea.

Is "guts" greater than, less than, or equal to "grit"?

"Is "guts" greater than, less than, or equal to "grit"?"

Guts is equal in value to grit. However, it is not the same thing as grit. They are two different, distinct qualities that are, nonetheless, equal in value to each other.

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