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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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.