Carlos Zambrano - Opening Day Starter and Could Still Pitch in the WBC
The headline pretty much says it all as Lou made it official today on the Cubs' Opening Day starter. If Lou skips the 5th starter as he mentioned, the rotation for the month of April could look like this.
4/6 @ Houston: Zambrano
4/7 @ Houston: Dempster
4/8 @ Houston: Lilly
4/10 @ Milwaukee: Harden
4/11 @ Milwaukee: Zambrano
4/12 @ Milwaukee: Dempster
4/13 vs. Colorado: Lilly
4/15 vs. Colorado: Harden
4/16 vs. St. Louis: Zambrano
4/17 vs. St. Louis: Dempster
4/18 vs. St. Louis: Lilly
4/19 vs. St. Louis: Marshall or Heilman
4/21 vs. Cincinnati: Zambrano
4/22 vs. Cincinnati: Dempster
4/23 vs. Cincinnati: Lilly
4/24 @ St. Louis: Harden
4/25 @ St. Louis: Marshall or Heilman
4/26 @ St. Louis: Zambrano
4/27 @ Arizona: Dempster
4/28 @ Arizona: Lilly
4/29 @ Arizona: Harden
4/30 vs. Florida: Marshall or Heilman
You have to assume that if Marshall ends up winning the 5th starter spot, that Lou will want to break-up the lefties and put Lilly third and Marshall fifth. He runs into a little dilemma the first time he needs a 5th starter though on the 19th, but I recall him mentioning last year that the Cardinals were weaker against lefties (.796 OPS vs. righties, .753 vs. lefties), so he might not mind doubling up against them and then he can reset the rotaton the next day. Of course, Harden might have a setback and be the 5th starter that gets skipped. If that happens, I could see Lilly getting moved up the second spot with Dempster dropping to the third.
Also, if the Cubs do go with four starters for the first two weeks, they can carry an extra bench bat which would be a nice bonus when starters are even less likely to go deep in games.
In other Zambrano news, the Venezuelan players are under the assumption that Carlos will be available for Round 2 of the WBC according to an article in the Edmonton Sun. I assume Hugo Chávez has assured him he can play first base and hit.
Unless he develops 30+ HR power and keeps his walk rate close to his K rate at the MLB level, he's not going to turn into Prince Fielder. And even if he does turn into Prince Fielder, he's gonna have a short prime. His very limited athleticism is likely to also detract some value from his ability to reach base--I don't buy making an out as being preferable to base clogging, but you'd certainly prefer just about any base runner other than Vogelbach, David Ortiz, etc.
seeing as arod has played a total of 27.1 innings of D at 1st/3rd and somehow managed a -0.5 dWAR with his 1 error at 1st and an overall positive total zone rating...he might end up even more in the shitter via the characteristics/flaws/whatever of how some sites determine various WAR values. dWAR doesn't directly lead to a WAR value, but the 2 main entities pushing the most popular variations of WAR sometimes lead to some interesting discrepancies in value.
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.