The Cubs and Diamondbacks play in Tucson, their first meeting since the clubs matched up in last season's NLDS. (I don't recall who won.) Carlos Zambrano makes his second appearance of the Spring after pitching two scoreless innings against the Giants last Friday. Kosuke Fukudome had a big day in yesterday's loss to the Brewers, collecting three hits while batting in the two hole. Plus he has learned how to yank Bruce Miles's chain.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, appearing Monday night on WGN Sports Central with Dave Kaplan, said he expects the Cubs and Orioles to reach agreement on a trade involving Brian Roberts in "a week to ten days."
An incomplete list, in no particular order...
Jason Marquis. Though Lou Piniella apologized for "overreacting" to Marquis' comments following Saturday's game, the pitcher's "I have a family to worry about" statement made him look stupid and foolish and...like a modern-day Major Leaguer.
Reader Crunch beat me to this by a couple minutes in the Comments, but Paul Sullivan of the Tribune writes that after making his Spring Training debut Saturday in a 6-2 Cubs loss to the Angels (2 runs, 3 hits allowed in 2 IP), Jason Marquis let it be known that he wants to be traded if the Cubs aren't going to let him start:
Earlier today, Rob alluded to this story in the Baltimore Sun, which says the O's will be sending a scout to Mesa next week "to get a closer look" at players the Cubs and Orioles have discussed as part of a potential Brian Roberts swap.
Cubs baseball (Cactus League version) is back! Ryan Dempster begins his attempt to win a spot in the '08 rotation; Noah Lowry starts for the Giants. Neither starter is slated to go beyond the second inning.
First pitch is at 2:05 Central Time. Pat and Ron have the radio call on WGN radio in Chicago.
Rob tells me that Parachat is open and your usernames/passwords from last year will still work, though they are different than the names you just created so you could leave comments here at the new site.
Tribune Company is now owned by a supposed money-making genius, and the best ideas he can come up with to wring more money out of Wrigley Field are more night games, additional concerts, and peddling the naming rights?
What about the weddings you could host on the pitchers mound, the bar mitzvahs, the graduation bashes, and the Congratulations On Getting Out Of Prison parties?
I haven't enjoyed typing anything as much as this in a very long time:
Per the Sun-Times, here is the Cubs' batting order for Thursday's Cactus League opener at 2:05 Central Time against the now Bonds-less San Francisco Giants:
DeLuca and/or Wittenmyer report that following Dempster's two innings, Sean Gallagher will go for two. Ceda, Cotts, Pignatiello, Ascanio, and Hart will then pitch an inning apiece.
Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are expected to step into the lineup on Friday, when the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam.
From Arizona Phil:
The Cubs moved a half-mile up Center Street to HoHoKam Park this morning for the first time this Spring.
There were about 100 fans in attendance for the "free" preview, and as was the case last year, Manager Lou Piniella opted not to play an intrasquad game to prepare for the Cactus League, instead preferring an extended (90 minute) regular season-type infield practice and traditional BP, followed by baserunning practice.
– Gordon Wittenmyer writes in today's Sun-Times that Mark DeRosa's cardiac issues are not a major concern to DeRo or Cub doctors, nor will they be the impetus for any personnel moves by Jim Hendry.
Wittenmyer also thinks the Cubs are more likely to add that
proverbial, right-handed hitting, three-position outfielder before
Opening Day than they are He Who Must Not Be Named.
– Baseball Musings sizes up a potential Cubs rotation of Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster, and Marquis (Where is your Lieber?) based on the Marcel the Monkey projections
and foresees a cumulative 4.28 ERA for the fivesome. That's a few ticks
above the 4.19 ERA Cub starters pitched to last season, when their ERA
was second best in the NL, but still pretty solid.
One highly questionable element in the projection: Ryan Dempster's
projected 4.50 ERA. Only once in his career as a starting
pitcher--Dempster's All-Star season in 2000 down in pitcher-friendly
Florida--has Dempster ever had an ERA at or below 4.50.
What the latest Baseball Prospectus annual has to say about the Cubs, minus all those pesky numbers and the obscure historical and literary allusions:
"...Cedeno's is a tried and true skill set–the same one that's earning Orlando Cabrera millions of dollars every season..."
"...has experienced a steady decline in his groundball rates over the past three seasons...coupled with command that was never very good to begin with..."
"If the Cubs bring in a Brian Roberts-type...the gains will be less than they might appear at first glance."
"An inspired acquisition...a J.D. Drew/Bobby Abreu type of player..."
Very bizarre game -- as you say, both Cubs pitchers were dominant until the one fatal pitch. It was like watching the Bears defense shut down a team, and then lose on 2 punt returns. Some better hitting with RISP would be a good idea, too.
Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.
Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?
"Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"
No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.
Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.
I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.
It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.
vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.
SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.
I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?
Best record in baseball and largest division lead.
I'm jumping right now!
Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?
,571 winning percentage in May.
I think they're gonna be OK.
RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.
Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?
Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.
If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.
Hi Arizona Phil,
Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?