Carlos Zambrano - Opening Day Starter and Could Still Pitch in the WBC
The headline pretty much says it all as Lou made it official today on the Cubs' Opening Day starter. If Lou skips the 5th starter as he mentioned, the rotation for the month of April could look like this.
4/6 @ Houston: Zambrano
4/7 @ Houston: Dempster
4/8 @ Houston: Lilly
4/10 @ Milwaukee: Harden
4/11 @ Milwaukee: Zambrano
4/12 @ Milwaukee: Dempster
4/13 vs. Colorado: Lilly
4/15 vs. Colorado: Harden
4/16 vs. St. Louis: Zambrano
4/17 vs. St. Louis: Dempster
4/18 vs. St. Louis: Lilly
4/19 vs. St. Louis: Marshall or Heilman
4/21 vs. Cincinnati: Zambrano
4/22 vs. Cincinnati: Dempster
4/23 vs. Cincinnati: Lilly
4/24 @ St. Louis: Harden
4/25 @ St. Louis: Marshall or Heilman
4/26 @ St. Louis: Zambrano
4/27 @ Arizona: Dempster
4/28 @ Arizona: Lilly
4/29 @ Arizona: Harden
4/30 vs. Florida: Marshall or Heilman
You have to assume that if Marshall ends up winning the 5th starter spot, that Lou will want to break-up the lefties and put Lilly third and Marshall fifth. He runs into a little dilemma the first time he needs a 5th starter though on the 19th, but I recall him mentioning last year that the Cardinals were weaker against lefties (.796 OPS vs. righties, .753 vs. lefties), so he might not mind doubling up against them and then he can reset the rotaton the next day. Of course, Harden might have a setback and be the 5th starter that gets skipped. If that happens, I could see Lilly getting moved up the second spot with Dempster dropping to the third.
Also, if the Cubs do go with four starters for the first two weeks, they can carry an extra bench bat which would be a nice bonus when starters are even less likely to go deep in games.
In other Zambrano news, the Venezuelan players are under the assumption that Carlos will be available for Round 2 of the WBC according to an article in the Edmonton Sun. I assume Hugo Chávez has assured him he can play first base and hit.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.