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

4/9 Off-day

4/10 @ Milwaukee: Harden

4/11 @ Milwaukee: Zambrano

4/12 @ Milwaukee: Dempster

4/13 vs. Colorado: Lilly

4/14 Off-day

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

4/20 Off-day

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.


Why would Harden pitch the 15th and the 19th? Trying to break him sooner rather than later?

counting is hard...

Nice article on Mark Prior over at Yahoo

I found this interesting...

You’d hope so, though the universal consensus is that Cubs manager Dusty Baker abused Prior at the end of the 2003 season simply because he knew no better. In Prior’s last nine games, including three in the playoffs, he logged the following pitch counts: 131, 129, 109, 124, 131, 133, 132, 115, 119. House believes the overuse by Baker doomed Prior. Eight pitchers this decade have thrown 109 or more pitches in nine straight games, and half of them needed reconstructive arm surgery. The only other pitchers this decade to throw at least four 130-plus-pitch games in a season, let alone in two months, are Livan Hernandez and Randy Johnson.

Prior is in some elite company for throwing 130 pitch games. You might be able to survive it if your a seasoned veteran like Livan or Randy, but making a rookie do it was border line criminal.

I said it during these 130 pitch games, i don't care how perfect his mechanics seem to be, he is not a robot. His body has never experienced this kind of stress and he needs to be taken out of games to rest.

Even Prior admits he didn't have perfect mechanics but no one (*cough* Dusty's Cubs *cough*) listened.

Either they just don't make them like Nolan Ryan anymore or Nolan Ryan was just a freak of nature. He would throw in the mid-to-upper 90s well into the 9th inning. 100 pitches was just a 'warm up'.

130 pitches more than a few times in a row = your arm is dead.

sure, they used to pitch more games per season...on less days rest...and throw as hard while spending the offseason doing everything but being on throwing programs because they were usually working. know...umm...ummm...hmmm.

I couldn't agree more with you Rob and always contended that the only thing Dusty ever knew about pitching was how to hit it reasonably well. A writers comment during the 2003 NLCS put it best about his managerial ability -- one guy was managing every game like the 7th game of the World Series and the other guy was managing it like the rubber game of 3 game series in August. Guess who was who?

Dusty was and is a monumental dumb-ass. On top of that, he gives every oral indication that he is an apologist, enabler, and plays the race card every time it suits the position he favors. Half the posters on this board could manage a MLB team better than Dusty dumb-ass.

not that I disagree with much of it, but that was Mike C.

if they do go with a 4-man rotation through the 19th...

C- Soto, Bako
INF - Lee, Hoffpauir, Miles, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, (one of) Rivas, Koskie, Scales
OF - Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley, Johnson, Gaithright

SP - Z, Dempster, Lilly, Harden
Pen- Marmol, Gregg, Cotts, Heilman, Marshall, Vizcaino, Gaudin or Guzman

then they can figure out a roster move on the off-day on the 20th...

Would love to see Ascanio or Samardzija replace Vizcaino unless can start finding home plate without a search party. Also, I'm not necessarily with the great Gathright experiment. I'm not convinced he can outhit Fuld and probably isn't measureably better with the glove or on the bases. It's the 25th player on the roster, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.......I'm just saying. Also, I wish the Angel Guzman from 2003 would show up between now and April 5th.

To me it makes sense to save Harden till April 19th. Why waste him in April vs September?

Unless holding him back will make no difference in terms of wear at the middle or end of season. I would assume Lou and Rothchild have an idea.

I think Vizcaino is gonna get dealt or released or "DL'd"

What sort of leash do you think Harden will be on to start the season? I would imagine he gets pull at 70-80 pitches his first few starts. Being a strikeout pitcher, this puts him at maybe the 5th inning.

What I'm getting at is: Could we see a Harden/Marshall tandem at the 4 spot and Heilman throwing 5 for the first month? I don't think Lou would want to go into a game knowing he needs at least 4 innings out of his bullpen.

Marshall is used to coming into games anyways. And I personally think their styles clash tremendously, which could result in 8 great innings.

not a bad idea, but I think if Harden makes it through spring training w/o any setbacks he will be on a 100 pitch count limit and probably 100-110 for most of the year.

my guess is they'd like to back off on Harden in the summer and September more than April. Cubs have a couple of big head-2-head series in April vs. Cards, Brewers, Astros and Cincy.


looks like Darvish is getting the start for Japan, Fukudome batting 6th.

I [would] love to see him pitch. Is this being televised anywhere?

oh, you think the Cubs facing one of Japan's biggest prospect and one of their teammates would be interesting television?

I mean who would want to watch that when you can get scrub Cubs vs scrub White Sox in Las Vegas instead.

so yeah, don't think it's on anywhere...lame.

Yeah. You're right. Who'd want to see that? Who wants to see Ichiro, Darvish and Fukkakedome play the Cubs? But, to be fair, the D-Bags game was on MLB.TV at the same time, which is almost good enough.

But seriously, who decides this shit? It's fucking unsmarted.

as a symbol of the global recession....

they could have picked a better subject to tie that rant into...

"Skybox on Sheffield last week began offering 12- and 18-game packages. The packages, which range from $1,740 per person up to $3,150, include admission to the rooftop overlooking right field, plus food and drinks."

sitting 800ft. away from the game paying $150-$300 per game isn't exactly going to bring too many socio-economic levels of society together.

Have Chavez & Zombie ever been seen in the same place @ same time?

good luck wasting their money on that. hopefully i won't have to pay higher pay tv rates to support the hole they're going to throw money down. there's many more powerful and bankrolled who can't do what they propose.

you know what the main issue is...that too many of these people don't get...

THE USA ISN'T THE WORLD...good luck pushing that lobbying and lawmaking in Brazil, Nigeria, Germany, Uruguay, etc.

i know a place online that streams games during the's from japan or korea or some area where they have a language that looks like a bunch of stick houses.

While they can't stop P2P in other countries, I wonder if they can make some sort of law banning watching things on P2P in the US (even if it's being broadcast from China, Brazil, Japan...) much like Internet gambling in the US. Not that I'm too worried, I still download music and movies illegally, so I'm not going to stop watching P2P sporting events.

P2P has many legit uses and users...not to mention forms of P2P are the "way of the future" vs. single-server driven file serving.

the only way to effectively stop it is having your ISP watch your online activity. aside from government spook computers that run themselves with no on-site technician aside (yes, they really exist) ISPs don't want to be in the business of hooking spooky crap up to their services to scare away customers. They even fought the govt. computers pretty damn hard.

That's fucking ridiculous. Like I said previously, I pay for MLB.TV every fucking year. Then they call my using P2P to watch games that they've decided not to show me as 'piracy'? Fuck all. God forbid I get to watch games of the team I support financially with subscriptions and merchandising.

Chad Cordero signs a minor league deal with Seattle Mariners (per Rosenthal)

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.