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.

Comments

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

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-prior0311...

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.

still...you 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....

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/shysterball/arti...

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?

http://www.imdb.com/news/ni0706103/

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 season...it'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)

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9330008/Source:...

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  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 1 hour 10 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 1 hour 31 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 1 hour 36 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 1 hour 55 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 2 hours 48 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 2 hours 50 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 3 hours 15 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 4 hours 11 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 5 hours 43 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 6 hours 22 min ago view
  • Per FanGraphs, Cubs have a 72.5% chance of winning today. Jinx! Next highest percentage on today's games is D-backs with a 64.7% chance (Greinke vs. Cesar Vargas, in Arizona.)

    Transmission 6 hours 22 min ago view