On Z's Return, Lilly's Exit, and Girardi's No-Comment
— A season-high crowd of nearly 13,000—more than 5,000 above than the I-Cubs' average—was on hand for Carlos Zambrano's rehab appearance last night in Des Moines.
Zambrano threw a bumpy but scoreless inning in which he got 10 of 15 pitches over the plate, but allowed two singles and was saved from a third hit by Sam Fuld's catch against the center-field wall. (See Mike Wellman's full account here.)
Current plans are for Zambrano to pitch in Round Rock over the weekend and then in Albuquerque on Tuesday before rejoining the big club in Colorado.
— In her short list of moves that "today's contenders should make to make sure they're winners tomorrow," Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) says the Yankees should go hard after Ted Lilly as a replacement for the injured Andy Pettite.
Valid concerns about Lilly's flagging velocity aside, a big problem for him this season has been location against left-handers, leading to a return of the bass-ackward platoon splits that hampered his performance in 2008. With the Yankees, he'd have the advantage of pitching with great run support in a ballpark that is turning out to be less of a launching pad than initially expected. He has experience pitching in pennant races, experience pitching in pinstrips, and he wouldn't come in having to be a star, just deliver effective starts...and let the offense grind opponents to dust.
Lilly bounced between starting and relief duties as a Yankee from 2000-02, going 8-12, 4.65.
By the way, Kahrl says the Yankees could offer the Cubs Class 'A' second-base prospect Corban Joseph in return for Lilly. The 21-year-old Joseph is hitting .309/.386/.450 in the pitcher-dominated Florida State League this summer.
— In case you doubted it, Joe Girardi is more interested in winning another World Series right now than in discussing the soon-to-be-open job with the Cubs.
From the New York Daily News (which broke the Piniella story in the first place):
“I figured this would come up once Lou announced his retirement. I have a responsibility to this club and the guys in that room, and that’s my concern. People can speculate all they want, but that’s my concern right now. I don’t really think much about it.”
And also this:
“I love it here; I’ve loved my time here,” Girardi said. “I put my kids in school here and they’re enrolled to go to school here next fall. There’s going to be talk; I grew up there, I grew up a Cubs fan, I went to Northwestern, I lived in Chicago. But my concern is right now.”
— Jeff Suppan (0-5, 6.05; 6-9, 3.92 all-time vs. Cubs) goes against Randy Wells (4-7, 4.33; 0-2, 10.13 all-time vs. Cards) in Friday's opener of a three-game series with still Roy-Oswalt-less St. Louis. Including today, the teams will meet 12 more times this season.
I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.
I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.
Cardinals, stop that. Right now.
In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.
vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.
while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.
Carl Jr.! Very nice!
Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.
m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.
...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.
I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.
2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.
welcome back fowler.
More slow news...
Did Davey Martinez have to bring the shotgun?
glad to see almora going to AAA to get work.
.265/.291/.422 through 86PA...2hr, 7 doubles.
i don't expect too much of an improvement when he's taking over CF next year, but the team doesn't really need him right now as much as they need him to get regular work (imo).
CHITOWNMVP01: The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) has had one slot open since 7/6 (when RHRP Joel Peralta was Designated for Assignment).
The problem with the September roster is all of the pitching changes. They should find a way to limit pitchers to twelve except for extra inning games. More pinch hitters or pinch runners do little to slow the game down and are more fun than endless calls to the bullpen. I also think the fans get cheated when they use position players to pitch because employed a half dozen pitchers with righty-lefty switches. Having as few as four positions players on the bench to start a game also leads to some pretty ugly defensive substitutions.
CHITOWNMVP01: Joe Nathan's 30-day Article XIX-C minor league rehab assignment expires tomorrow, but he doesn't have to be reinstated from the 60-day DL tomorrow.
Also, I think 40 man roster should be full, not at 39, unless I counted wrong. I'm in a hurry to leave the house.