While it's no Arizona-Phil-from-two-days-ago-live-scouting-update , John Sickles has a post up at his website concerning Felix Pie. For the most part, it's a vanilla run through Pie's minor league credentials, but a couple of things came up from the post that are worth re-emphasizing.
What a difference a year makes. During the 2007 spring training, the starting rotation discussion centered around which of these three candidates would be our number five starter: Wade Miller, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman. Combined, they started six times (three apiece for Miller and Guzman) Trachsel also started four games, with the next smallest total belonging to Sean Marshall, at nineteen. Congrats to Marshall for grabbing the "Ruben Quevedo Fifth-Man" mantle, and running with it.
This year? Carrie Muskat gives the rundown on the candidates for the two open spots in the rotation. The first bit of news is this notion that the fourth spot is open, that Marquis evidently has to apply for his old job. The other applicants being Dempster, Lieber, Marshall (also applying for his old job) and Gallagher.
Among the more interesting observations from the Muskat article is that Marquis has a history of fading in the second half. A quick check of ESPN's stats page shows Marquis with a 4.41 ERA pre-All Star break for the last three years, 5.54 after it. How stupid and unrealistic would it be to let him have the fifth spot for the first half of the season, then ship him off to some unsuspecting foe, and bring up Gallagher for the second half?
Every Day Is Like Sunday
Readers of the Chicago Daily Tribune woke up on the morning of June 23rd, 1895, to discover that the day’s baseball game between the Chicago Colts (fore-runners to the Cubs) and the Cleveland Spiders was likely to be delayed. On account of police raid. As the paper reported, the Rev. W.W. Clark of the Sunday Observance League had demanded warrants for the arrest of team captain Cap Anson and the rest of the Chicago starting nine, for breaking the Sabbath laws.
Slow news day.
Care to take one guess at the former Cubs jersey-wearer who has been involved in not one, not two, but three instances of batting out of order in his career? (Yes, I'm being a bit legalistic in how I've phrased this...)
What Ifs Box Score, Play-by-Play, Photos W- Webb, well-played playoff baseball, second-guessers L- Marmol, dreams of 9th inning heroics. S - Valverde Series stands at 1-0 D-backs Things to Take from This Game 1. As Good as Advertised Webb and Zambrano were both pleasures to watch in this game. While each one gave up some baserunners, they also both managed to pitch out of modest, recurring trouble with ease. Z, remarkably, had better control than Webb, walking just one to Webb's three. 2. Plenty of chances to Second Guess There are at least three big points in the game where managerial decisions stood out. First, the decision to have Z. swing away with a runner on second and zero out in the fifth. Had he successfully bunted the runner over, Soriano's fly ball to center would have created a run. Second, the decision not to take down Theriot for a pinch-hitter (Ward, I would hope) with the bases loaded in the sixth. Theriot hit a chopper for an infield hit and RBI, who knows what Ward would have done. The most important decision, however, was 3. Pulling Z after 85 pitches Other than a mammoth HR to Drew, Z looked like he was having an easy time dispatching with the D-backs, but he got pulled after 6 innings, with 85 pitches, a walk, a run, and eight K's to his name. The rationale, which certainly is reasonable, being that Z needs to come back on three days rest, you have Marmol available in the bullpen, and Z has had a recent of history of cramps and here we are on a hot Arizona evening. Problem is, however, that.... 4. Marmol Struggles Marmol didn't have control of his breaking stuff, and when he got behind to Reynolds, had to come in with a low fastball, and Reynolds hit it out to left to break the 1-1 tie. He continued to struggle, eventually giving up a sacrifice fly to Conor Jackson. (A fly that featured the strongest throw from Jacque Jones that we've seen in two years.) The D-backs score 2 runs in the inning after Z. leaves, for a 3-1 lead. Lyon and Valverde hold the lead in the 8th and 9th, although Lyon gave up a couple of warning-track shots to Ramirez and Floyd, and Valverde walked Ward to bring Soriano up as the tying run. Soriano finished the game, and an 0-5 night, with a 6-4 forceout. Your we-need-to-win-three-out-of-four details, below.
We're playing baseball in October, folks. Check out this picture, courtesty of our own "Brick." It's too large to really be done justice inside of a Word Press column.2. Resting Easy, Early
Soriano led off the game with another solo Home Run. Theriot added a sacrifice fly in the second, and Zambrano looked to be in command of his pitches and his emotions early.3. Power Game
Besides Soriano, Lee hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Jones had a blast of an opposite-field, two-run double in the eighth. Really, from the second inning on, you just felt that we had this game in hand. But it was good to see the Cubs keep pouring it on.4. Great pitching.
Z had no troubles at all with the Reds injury-riddled lineup, and neither did Howry or Dempster. Not a lot of strikeouts tonight (just 5), but really few serious rallies or even hard-hit balls.your 4 years in waiting details, below.