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.
BILLY BUCKS: As things stand right now, Dylan Cease will be in the Eugene starting rotation when the NWL season begins play in June, and if he peforms well there he could perhaps move up to South Bend toward the end of the minor league season or for the MWL playoffs (if South Bend qualifies).
i'm more "wtf?" about him hitting 2nd than playing LF...especially since zobrist exists.
Soler's primary position is suppose to be in left for this season so technically he is not out of position. Although I agree, it does seem weird given their histories.
Any idea of where/when Cease will head for the season?
Over/under on HBP tonight?
Yes, I know KB played LF and Szczur played RF last night, but there's a legit case that RF is the easier draw at PNC.
Seems an odd lineup -- Soler in LF and Bryant in RF? Two guys out of position? I guess Fed has to catch tonight so All Star Gramps can catch Lester tomorrow. Or maybe Joe just wants somebody else to catch a no-hitter. Would love to see KB get the power turned on. C'mon Jorge -- channel your playoff self!
All it took was Schwarber, Heyward, and Szczur getting hurt for him to get to play again. Let's go ahead and call this little stretch your last real chance to prove you belong on this team, Jorge.
soler hitting 2nd...didn't expect that one.
tonight: Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Zobrisjt, Baez, Russell, Federowicz, Arrieta
roster shuffle official per Sun Times, Gordon Wittenmeyer on twitter...Szczur to DL with minor hamstring strain, Chris Villanueva to 60 day DL, Ryan Kalish to 40 man roster and gets the call-up.
There's an interview with Heyward up on ESPN where he says the wrist thing has been lingering and he just brought it up with the team as it didn't go away. So that could very well explain why he hasn't had the same hard contact recently.
Ryan Kalish writeup (by Peter Gammons last November):
Villanueva goes to the 60 day DL.
Peter Gammons just tweeted that teammates are tweeting Kalish is getting recalled. Not sure which ones and what they'll do with the 40 man but there we go.
Jesee Rogers just said he thought Ryan Kalish would be the call up.