Archive - Sep 22, 2008

Brandon Guyer slammed a two-run homer and had three hits, and six pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs defeated the A's 6-2 in AZ Instructional League Opening Day action at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix this afternoon.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP *Jon Niese SP Jason Marquis
1-0, 4.09, 9 K, 6 BB, 11 IP
10-9, 4.39, 87 K, 65 BB, 160 IP
       
SS #Jose Ryes LF Alfonso Soriano
LF *Dan Murphy 2B Ronny Cedeno
3B David Wright 1B Derrek Lee
1B *Carlos Delgado 3B Aramis Ramirez
CF #Carlos Beltran C Geovany Soto
RF *Ryan Church RF Mark DeRosa
2B #Luis Castillo CF Reed Johnson
C *Brian Schneider SS Ryan Theriot
P *Jon Niese P *Jason Marquis

 

Remember when we were all mortified by the schedule and the impending final road trip to New York and Milwaukee? Good times. Now it's nothing more than a really expensive scouting trip and a chance to play spoiler. Looking at the Mets lefty heavy lineup makes it look like Ted Lilly could be a key contributor in a possible playoff series and that Sean Marshall would make the playoff roster if we play them down the road. 

Speaking of spoiler, the best case scenario for the Cubs is that the races stay close until Sunday or possibly extend into tie-breakers so the teams are forced to use their aces late in the season and can't arrange their rotations the way they like. For example, Johan Santana is scheduled to start tomorrow and then again Sunday. Let's say the Cubs take three of four from the Mets and the Brewers can scrap together two of three from the Pirates. They'll be tied heading into the weekend and the earliest either could clinch is Saturday then and more likely Sunday, if not later.

Sit back and enjoy some tension-free baseball,
although the Cubs do need a win or a Phillies loss to secure homefield advantage.

It's going to be a pretty laid back way week for the Cubs as they ready themselves for the playoffs. The only kink in that plan is they're playing two of the teams fighting for a playoff spot. Lou has already indicated that you wont' be seeing anymore lineups like Sunday:

"I can't let these guys all sit," Piniella said. "We have to use them
to keep them as sharp as possible. We'll play our regular lineup in
these games [against New York]. The worst thing that can happen is
Major League Baseball calls us and tells us, 'Hey, you people have a
responsibility,' and we're going to honor that. 

I'm not exactly sure that's the worst thing that can happen, the worst thing that could happen is that Soriano gets nailed with a fastball or Ramirez shreds a hamstring, etc, etc. But Lou is right that you just can't sit them for a week.  As I discussed last week, I think Lou should be weary of using his starting pitchers versus the Mets. When it comes to the question of unfamiliarity between a pitcher and a hitter, I think the advantage goes to the pitcher. The less a team has seen a pitcher, the bigger the disadvantage. Now I don't worry much about Jason Marquis going tonight since he's been in the league long enough that many of the Mets hitters have seen enough of him already and he probably won't pitch against them if they are the Cubs first round opponent. But the rest of the week has Harden vs. Johan, Zambrano vs. Perez and Lilly vs Pedro. First, let's applaud the Mets for having two pitchers who are simply known by their first names.

Second, I understand that you don't want to completely sit your starting pitchers and risk getting them rusty, but I do hope Lou sticks with a plan to limit them to 5 innings and no more than two times through the lineup. If you look at some of the numbers, Harden has only faced one Mets hitter at least 10 times and that's Carlos Delgado. Lilly is in much of the same boat, with only Delgado and Luis Castillo getting more than 10 AB's. Zambrano being a native National Leaguer, has faced most of the Mets lineup quite a bit more, including a one-run effort earlier in the season. 

All in all, it's probably not a big deal, but what else are we going to worry about this week?

Some random notes after the jump....

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