On their regular sports page Thursday, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at some of baseball's arguably "bad ideas." Included is the strategy of having the pitcher bat eighth, which a certain St. Louis Cardinals manager routinely did the past couple years but this year has said he will do more sporadically.
This afternoon at Wrigley, when Rich Harden goes up against former teammate Jason Marquis, Geo Soto will make his first start since last Tuesday in Houston, and while Lou Piniella says Aramis Ramirez's back is getting better, he adds "one more day [of rest] won't do any harm."
As for Milton Bradley, Paul Sullivan reports:
Bradley is still projected back by the weekend,
though Piniella said Bradley told him he's feeling better, "though he
still feels (the groin strain) somewhat."
On the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut 62 years ago, Bradley is also the subject of a long piece by Gordon Wittenmyer about the sad history of race-baiting by Cubs fans.
Notes following a successful home opener and heading into a well-deserved off day for the 5-2 Cubs:
-- It was just last September 15th, the day after Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros at Miller Park, when Ted Lilly held Houston hitless until the seventh inning before Mark Loretta stroked a clean, line-drive single tp recprd the Astros' only hit of the night.
That evening, Lilly, Jeff Samardzija (remember him?), Carlos Marmol, and Bobby Howry combined for the one-hit victory.
In this afternoon's home opener against the Rockies, Lilly was followed to the mound by Angel Guzman (1/3 IP), Aaron Heilman (1 IP), and Kevin Gregg (1 IP). It's the fourth time in Cub history that at least four pitchers have pooled their efforts to throw a one-hitter.
-- This afternoon's patchwork lineup, necessitated by Milton Bradley's sore groin, Aramis Ramirez's achy back, and Geovany Soto's bum shoulder, accepted nine walks by Colorado pitchers. That's 19 BBs in the last two games and five runs scored on bases-loaded walks.
Of course, scoring on a bases-loaded walk is no way to strike terror into the hearts of the rest of the National League, but on a day as cold and hitter-unfriendly as today was, it's not a bad way to go.
Update: First pitch now set for 2pm.
Highlights, lowlights and other observations from the Cubs' 8-5 win over the Brewers Sunday night in Milwaukee, a victory that leaves the Cubs at 4-2 as they return home for the Wrigley Field opener on Monday afternoon.
"We've Seen This Movie Before" Moment of the Night:
In his first at-bat since beating the Brewers with a dramatic, ninth-inning home run on Saturday, Alfonso Soriano crushed Jeff Suppan's first pitch of the game over the centerfield wall, his fourth HR in the young season.
Play of the Night:
Reed Johnson's leaping catch to rob Prince Fielder of what would have been a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the fifth. Instead Fielder wound up with a sac fly and a reason to tip his helmet to Reed Johnson.
All I'm going to say about this victory is, Alfonso Soriano reminded us why it's worth having a left fielder who can't actually field, Kosuke Fukudome continues his drive to be christened "Mr. April," and Carlos Marmol, who is officially NOT the Cubs closer, made our opponents' best hitters look helpless in a way that the guy who is our closer never, ever could.
Cubs (2-1; 1st in NL Central) vs. Brewers (1-2; 4th in NL Central) at Miller Park
First meeting in 2009. Cubs won 9 of 16 games between the teams in 2008.
Rich Harden (0-0) vs. Braden Looper (0-0)
Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 1.50) vs. David Bush (0-0, 18.00)
Ryan Dempster (0-0, 3.00) vs. Jeff Suppan (0-1, 13.50)
From coverage of this afternoon's Cubs/Brewers game, Milwaukee's home opener, in Friday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Update: Paul Sullivan reports in the Tribune that Soto underwent an MRI today and has "minor inflammation in the biceps area." He will not be going on the DL.
Soto is likely to sit out the Friday and Saturday games in Milwaukee and "possibly all three depending on how he feels this weekend." Aaron Miles will be the designated emergency catcher behind Koyie Hill while Soto recovers.
W - Ted Lilly (1-0)
L - Brian Moehler (0-1)
In the spirit of Passover, we begin tonight's recap by asking, why is this night different from all other nights?
Tonight the Cubs sent nine men to the plate in each of the first two innings, building a lead so large, it allowed Ted Lilly to throw his own personal game of Home Run Derby and still win his first game of the season.
Details after the jump.
Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.
Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.
It's still very early but this game felt very important to me and probably knocked 2 years off my life. Seemed like every inning was big.
Yes then they moved him two spot then not so much, back batting 7th
This is the exact game that the Cubs would have lost in years past to the Cardinals.
Arrieta starting. Leads of 6-1 and 9-4. You don't expect to have such a sense of relief when they win.
At least the end result was worth the wait.
I guess he's better than what they've had. He started out like the Babe there.
Fair enough, but Castro isn't really very good.
I can just hear Pat Hughes chortling "typical Cubs-Cards game..."
As long as Maddon uses him against RH he is good. Against LH - not so much.
His recent HR's obviously have not been great pitches.
So, let's just say my personal confidence in the guy is not there yet.
not that I'm agreeing with E-Man in anyway here, but Warren's FIP and peripherals are not really good (5.20 FIP/5.19 BB/9/.128 BABIP), although his actual results are a lot better. Well until today...
Trade was also to make room for Zobrist and it'll be a few years before we can really judge it.
Eventually, the Maddon "play everyone everywhere" thing was going to create a problem.
This ump blows.
So much for pace-of-game.