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.
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.
video of Maddon.
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.
#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
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.
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.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#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)
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.
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.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
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.
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.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.