Major League Cubs Lineup Takes Opener

The Cubs put up a four spot in the first and make it stand for the 6-3 series opening win over the Houston Astros. 

Why the Cubs Won:  Most of the regulars were back in the lineup sans Derrek Lee who took another day off as the bulging disc issue flared up again.They worked Mike Hampton over in the first inning to the tune of 35 pitches. On pitch 25, with the bases loaded, Reed Johnson lined the ball deep to the gap in left field that a diving Michael Bourn just missed and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. It had the makings of a possible inside-the-parker, but Johnson settled with the stand-up triple and the Cubs took the quick 3-0 lead. A passed ball by Gold Glover Ivan Rodriguez during Micah Hoffpauir's 10-pitch at-bat scored Johnson and the Cubs never looked back.  Another passed ball scored Johnson again in the 6th and an Aramis home run in the 7th accounted for the other runs.

Rich Harden bounced back nicely from his last outing to lower his ERA to 4.83, which would have been even better if he hadn't come out for the 8th inning where he gave up a single, a 2-run homer to Lance Berkman and another single before finally being removed. The strikeouts weren't there - just four on the night - but he seemed to get stronger as the night went on retiring 10 in a row at one point including a few fastballs in the 94-95 range before the gas ran out in the 8th.

Carlos Marmol looks like he may be finding his groove again, needing just 10 pitches (8 for strikes) to clean up Harden's mess and Kevin Gregg just needed 12 (9 for strikes) to get the three-up, three-down save.

Armchair Managing:  Rich Harden and his fragile arm were up to 92 pitches through seven innings. Not something I would normally worry about, but with a five run lead, having an at-bat in the top of the 8th and it being Rich Harden, thought Lou might might want to be quick with the hook.

Death Pool: You still have to think Bobby Scales will get sent down by Friday to make room for the starter that night, but with Bradley's suspension about to start and Lee hurting, maybe they'll DL Lee to keep a position player around a little longer.

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Comments

Funny that the only regular that played Tuesday is the one that could have used the day off.

And also, I'm glad to see Gregg finally settling into his role. That's what he's all about: A boring 9th inning.

Totally agree on Greg. Hitters down in the count, no one on base, that's how he needs to do it 8 times out of 10.

This was sort of weird. I missed the first innning waiting for the bar to turn on the game, so I checked on my phone and it was 3-0, then it was 4-0. But when the game came on, which I believe was the top or bottom of the 2nd, the score was 3-0. So I was totally puzzled. The game description on my phone seemed reasonable, but how could a TV station have the score wrong for that long? I don't know when they caught up because some whiny Mets or Phillies fan made them change it back to their POS game, and when that was over I think the score was 6-1.

Yeah, TRN, I think the Houston feed had the score wrong for a while. Parachatters speculated that they were in denial about that 4th run.

Submitted by Ryno on Wed, 05/06/2009 - 11:12pm.
And a BB RBI on a pitch that looked like it was headed for the upper deck. Literally. God, this isn't good baseball at all I should go to bed.

The pitch is at 0:30 on this reel. And you think the Cub's bullpen is struggling...

"with Bradley's suspension about to start"

Have the results of the hearing been released?

"Why the Cubs Won" - Two Words: HarDen

I have not seen any appeal decision, personally.

Is there a "snowball's chance in hell", that Gathright will be the one sent along.

I'm into Scales over that dude, at least.

I don't have the great Gathright hate that a lot of people here do, but we replaced Cedeno and DeRosa with Gathright and Miles - we need another infielder.

This isn't that complicated. Doesn't Miles have Cedeno's old job, and Fontenot have DeRosa's old job?

What does Gathright have to do with it?

And with all the courageous original thinkers knocking Miles every day, would you rather have Cedeno? If so, why?

This isn't that complicated. Doesn't Miles have Cedeno's old job, and Fontenot have DeRosa's old job?

What does Gathright have to do with it?

Well... it appears that it actually is a bit complicated for you.

Who has Fontenot's job as the second backup infielder?

The Cubs got rid of two infielders, and brought one in. Is that too complicated?

"This isn't that complicated. Doesn't Miles have Cedeno's old job, and Fontenot have DeRosa's old job?"

No. The Cubs had Fontenaught, Cedeno and DeRosa on the roster last year. What three players do they have now that replace them? Apprently it is that complicated. Maybe Lou and Hendry had the same problem as you.

DeRosa played mostly second, a fair amount of right field, some left while Soriano was injured and a handful of games at third. Because of DeRosa's other duties, Fontenot was able to get 243 at bats, less than half a season's worth.

Who will get DeRosa's at-bats this year? Fontenot will get most of them. The rest will be divided among Bradley, Hoffpauir, Soriano (unless he gets injured again) and Miles.

Cedeno didn't do much last year except take up a roster spot. Miles takes over his duties and also much of Fontenot's backup role.

If Gathright gets at-bats--and he hasn't so far--it will be because Fukudome tails off again.

Cedeno didn't do much last year except take up a roster spot.

Uh... Cedeno got 236 plate appearances last year.

It really isn't difficult.

Fontenot takes DeRosa's role.
Bradley takes Edmonds' role.
Miles takes Fontenot's role.
Hoffpauir takes Ward's role.
Gathright takes Cedeno's role, except that Gathright cannot play the infield.

Got it?

Cedeno had an incredible shrinking role with the Cubs last season after a torrid April.

April and May, 97 PAs. June, 45 PAs (in which he batted .214). July and August, 48 PAs.

Then in September, with the Cubs solidly in first place (by 4.5 games on 9/1, 7.5 on 9/14), Cedeno got a lot of starts. Lou made a big point of wanting to rest Theriot in particular before the playoffs.

Replacing someone who had 48 PAs in those two key months would not be a full-time job for Miles.

Fontenot's main job was to play second when DeRosa was playing outfield. For 221 of DeRosa's 593 PAs, he (DeRosa) was playing an outfield position.

That job of backing up an infielder/outfielder doesn't exist this year. The Cubs' infielders in 2009 play the infield exclusively, so they can do the job with one fewer body.

Daryle Ward had 119 plate appearances in 2008. Hoffpauir already has 54 this season. At this rate he will have over 300 PAs. Some of Hoffpauir's at bats and many of Bradley's would have gone to DeRosa last season when he played right field.

Did Miles take Fontenot's role? No, that role doesn't really exist any more. Did Hoffpauir take Ward's role? No, Hoffpauir's role is much larger. Did Bradley take Edmond's role? No, or he would be playing center, with Fukudome in right. Did Gathright take DeRosa's role? Not at all. Did he take Cedeno's role? Partly, in the sense that he can pinch-run when a base needs to be stolen.

You rambled for quite a bit, but I will pull out one point: "That job of backing up an infielder/outfielder doesn't exist this year." Correct. That's the problem. Because, as you say, "The Cubs' infielders in 2009 play the infield exclusively" we have less versatility and one less player capable of playing infield on this roster than we did last year. This isn't brain surgery. When Ramirez went down for a few days, all 3 of those guys were starting - Theriot, Miles, Fontenot. This mean NO remaining backups for the infield. Whether it's a starter like DeRosa or a backup - the team would benefit from someone who can play both infield and outfield on the roster, rather than someone like Gathright who can only do OF.

With Gathright gone and Scales on hand, if Bradley or Soriano goes down for a few days, the three remaining real outfielders (not including Hoffpauir) are all starting.

Apparently they're looking at Ryan Freel (see Rosenthal today), who has played second and third as well as outfield.

Of course, Freel doesn't steal bases any more, so a slow team gets slower.

the three remaining real outfielders (not including Hoffpauir) are all starting.

Huh? First of all, I think that it is pretty clear that the Cubs do see Hoffpauir as a backup corner outfielder. Not a good one, but they will use him in the outfield. But sure, if you go ahead and not count one of the backup outfielders, then the Cubs do have one less backup.

That means that the Cubs have a backup outfielder. Scales is also an outfielder, having spent fairly significant time in the OF over his minor league career. So the Cubs have three back up outfielders - Johnson, Hoffpauir, and Scales. They now have two backup infielders - Miles and Scales.

Got it?

Of course, Freel doesn't steal bases any more, so a slow team gets slower.

Well... as I have long said, Gathright is/was fast, but not very good at using his speed. He was a mediocre base runner and a pretty lousy outfielder. He won't be missed. At all.

You are right, it isn't that complicated. If Fontenot has DeRosa's old job, then who has Fontenot's? We went from Fontenot-DeRosa-Theriot-Cedeno in the infield to Fontenot-Theriot-Miles.

Cedeno was a turd, I'm glad we got rid of him, but the reality is now that an extra infielder would be helpful. To be more to the point, someone on the bench who can play both infield and outfield - a la DeRosa - would be ideal.

And with all the courageous original thinkers knocking Miles every day, would you rather have Cedeno? If so, why?

I have yet to bash Miles on here, and have actually not seen much Miles bashing.

But yea... I would at least have to think about taking Cedeno over Miles. Cedeno is younger and faster, and I think that he is better defensively and has better overall "tools" than Miles. Cedeno is also much cheaper.

Much cheaper and much dumber.

Ronny had a good day today, 0-3 with 3 K's and an error.

I am sure he's not the major's most frustrating player, but he's got to be in the top 10.

How about neither. Miles blows.

http://myespn.go.com/blogs/sweetspot/0-2-28/Uncle-...

I understand his confusion behind the move, but I don't think he has all the facts.

Yeah did this guy not see Samardzija pitch this year? Sure he put up great numbers in that stretch last year but since about the end of August 08 his major league results have been pretty horrible.

And how bad of a personality problem does Luis Vizcaino have not to already be in the Washington bullpen?

This is just another example of Dusty, err I mean Lou, going with e veteran over a youngster. :)

I can kind of understand the constant comparisons to your boy Dusty in Lou's first year as manager, but still? Come on dude, stop it already.

It was sarcasm, thus the :)

Ok, dude?

And for the record I think Lou and Dusty are very similar managers and I have stated that since Day 1.

Actually, Manny, it was
from Day 40 or so, not Day 1.

You needed a little time to make sure;)

Sorry about yuor cousin's suspension.

Okay, they are very similar managers, I can agree with that, but I think one of the bigger differences is if Lou were on pace to lose nearly 100+ games for a season, he wouldn't take the field day after day half asleep and mumble his way through interviews. I believe he brings a fire to the team. You all can scoff at that if you want, but I believe it's true. Plus, Lou isn't quite the "hands-off" manager Dusty was.

mumble his way through interview

FWIW... Lou constantly mumbles his way through interviews.

Touché.

Manny has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for PED's.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4148907

I guess Manny was just being Manny.

WOW. That is huge.

And that really sucks for my fantasy team...

WOW. Manny being Manny. Might make things a little more interesting in the NL West.

Looks like Manny is going to say that he must have tested positive by taking a doctor prescribed medication. No word yet on that medication, but maybe it was just a Jim Miller situation.

It will be interesting to see this play out.

All i know is that ARod is probably thrilled as when he comes back Friday the national attention won't be on him nowhere as much now. And Selena Roberts can't be happy that Manny will be taking headlines away from her book. Oh well...

My personal feeling on Manny tends to believe that he didn't intentionally take anything.

I wonder if it's true, and assuming Manny had the sense to give the doctor the list of banned substances if Manny will sue the doctor. One more excuse for the insurance industry to jack up malpractice insurance is just what we need.

is Theriot next?

i keed

I think the question we're all asking ourselves at this point is...

How does Pujols not get caught?

Can someone enlighten me?

Is automatic 50 game suspension for first offense now or failed one other time, without public knowledge, then 50 game suspension?

first time offense is 50 games....

Source:

Steroid Penalties
• First positive test -- 50-game suspension, up from 10 days.
• Second positive test -- 100-game suspension, up from 30 days.
• Third positive test -- Lifetime ban, with player having right to apply for reinstatement after two years and an arbitrator being able to review reinstatement decision. Under the previous agreement, the earliest a player could be suspended for life was for a fifth positive test.

Thanks guys, I couldn't remember if that was the old policy or not.

But I believe they are all guilty until proven innocent.

McGuire
Giambi
Bonds
Clemens
Tejada
A-Rod
Palmerio
Manny

Is this a great game, or what?

at least they all learned a hard lesson.

the loss of income, the shunning of clubs cleaning up the game, having to find new work, and the elevation of those that didn't cheat coming up to replace them with a job they earned without drugs.

...oh wait. silly me...

Still amazed that there was no punishment for Raffy lying to Congress.

Kind of like the cigarette execs who were shocked -- shocked -- to learn that nicotine was addictive.

Well, they tried, but could find no proof that he used BEFORE he made his statement to Congress. Without that evidence they could not prove perjury.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2219460

Good to see the I-Cubs, T-Cubs, P-Cubs and D-Cubs being groomed for the fire sale at the end of the season or the Peavy trade in July. At least there is an action plan by Hendry. Good show!

Pressure is on Rothschild. Talent seems to be there (or was there) but he either doesn't communicate well or it's an outright rebellion. I predict this as his last season even if they win it all.

And I just don't like these 2 game series. There were a lot of them in '06, if I recall, and the extra travel took its toll.

Off topic: Does anyone remember the "Musical Scoreboard" after games on WGNam in the 60"s? I'm trying to remember if it was Jack Quinlan who hosted that post game show...thanks. (yes I'm that old)

The thought of the Cubs rotation with Peavy gives me a boner. The Cubs easily have one of the top rotations in all of baseball as-is, with Peavy they'd eclipse any rotation around.

Only obvious exception would be Team Holland, of course.

The drug Manny was taking was a "women's fertility drug".

Ehh... apparently used to restart testosterone after prior anabolic steroid use.

I mean he has the long hair, but he's not that pretty. I wouldn't impregnate him.

Sorry, my source was the Marlin's radio broadcasting crew. Take it for what it's worth.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ys-ramirezsu...

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the substance is supposed to boost sex drive. It is not Viagra, but a substance that treats the cause rather providing a temporary boost in sexual performance, the source said.

and his statement...

Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.

I guess it can be tough to keep up with the groupies.
The article does say he was tested twice, once in spring training and another one more recently. Shouldn't that be 100 days?

Back by July 3rd...it'll be like making a trade at the deadline.

Well, that's a new one. Manny being Manny is a cliche, but damn.

He tested for elevated testosterone levels in Spring Training. MLB then started an investigation. They determined that the elevated levels were exogenous (meaning his system was not naturally producing more than usual on its own). In the investigation they also found documentation that he had taken HCG. HCG is used either on its own to boost testosterone levels or after a steroid cycle to restart the system. After all of this evidence was shown to Manny and his agent they decided not to appeal the suspension.

thanks...I was still hoping for 100. :)

This is also why he can claim he never tested positive for steroids. The levels were too high, but that is not a violation itself. The investigation also never demonstrated steroid use - just use of HCG, which is a banned substance (although in conjunction with steroid use is pretty much the only reason someone would take it). He was actually banned under the "just cause" provision of section 8.G.2 of the joint drug agreement. That allows players to be penalized for use, sale, or distribution of banned substances. So the elevated test in spring training led to the investigation, but in theory if MLB just randomly found a box of evidence linking him to buying, selling, distributing, or taking this drug, the result would have been the same.

Overall, not a big deal to me. I would take him on the Cubs right now in a heartbeat.

As long as we are wishing for things that will never happen, I'd take Babe Ruth in his prime right now too...

Someone should consider testing Bengie Molina.

I had previously heard of HCG and it's relation to steroids, but I've yet to hear from somebody with a Ph.D. after their name why anyone would want/need to take that for some reason other than as an accessory to steroid use.

Not that such an explanation would change my mind anyway, I guess.

Apparently there are a few rare disorders that it might be prescribed for, such as a pituitary gland disorder, but if a player had something like that he could get an exemption from MLB to take necessary medication.

Eat a dick if it's already been discussed, but Viscaino has been signed by the Indians. I'm guessing we're paying most of his salary, which sucks. Are they our new reject collectors?

Wood has been shit so far...I want him to succeed, but I'd also hate it for him to be too awesome away from the Cubs.

We're on the hook for all but a prorated portion of the major league minimum for Vizcaino.

Manny being Barr....errr, Manny.

interesting read...some real cheap shots in there, though.

i'm not a fan of trot nixon the player or the person, but he's been worked hard for everything he's gotten (or failed to get). sure, i can't say if he's used or not, but geez...the guy showed up on the "fake" list that was leaked and hasn't lived it down.

some other names are thrown around a little casually there, too, imo.

btw...i get the point that the questions that surround the era and how we rumor-monger our own "who's on what..or not" without knowing for sure is part of the narrative...still...

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/15626...

With a roster move necessary by Friday to make room for pitcher Randy Wells, who will start in place of injured Carlos Zambrano, manager Lou Piniella suggested a disabled-list move with Lee could be an option.

''I promise you, that's impossible,'' Lee said, calling it no big deal.

Sounds like Lee is trying to convince himself, not me.

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