Silva & Gorzelanny Win Rotation Spots?
Please note the question mark in the headline, but that is what Paul Sullivan seems to insinuate in his latest article.
Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny appear to have locked up starting spots, meaning Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall will be in the bullpen.
That seemed to be the most likely scenario before spring training started, made all the more likely when Angel Guzman went down and the bullpen being filled with inexperienced players like Caridad and Berg. Marshall had some moderate success out of the pen last year and if Samardzija doesn't get optioned, he did at least have one really good month in the pen in 2008. Silva just isn't suited for pen work in my opinion. He's a sinkerballer that's gonna let guys put the ball in play and sinkerballers seem to need a few innings to get into the groove, tire the arm out a little and get a little heavier drop on the ball. Gorzelanny didn't do anything to embarrass himself so far this spring, striking out 10 in 8.1 IP, although he did walk 8 as well. He probably won't make more than 3-4 starts anyway once Ted Lilly returns.
If Sullivan's info is accurate, that leaves the bench and bullpen as the last remaining battles. The Cubs will cut it down to 30 players by Friday. Chad Tracy seems to have locked down a spot with his ability to play third base and Ramirez's sore tricep preventing him from throwing. That seems to leave one spot left for Fuld, Colvin, Hoffpauir or Millar (Hill, Baker, Nady, Tracy seem to have jobs at the moment). The Cubs rightfully don't want to bring up Colvin if he can't get regular playing time (.442 batting average during spring training but no walks versus 8 K's in 43 AB's). Fuld is hitting just .154 in just 26 AB's, but is considered the far superior defender. Millar is hitting .300 while telling bad jokes, but putting him anywhere but first base is probably a huge liability. Hoffpauir still has options left and hasn't been wowing the crowds like he did last year. Andres Blanco is also in the mix if they want a capable back-up shortstop, plus he needs to be put on waivers if the Cubs want to send him to Iowa, although I have doubts anyone would put a claim in after missing most of spring training. Of course, they could just do some disabled list trickery and buy a little time if needed with the knee injury he suffered in early March.
I'm gonna assume Mike Parisi's bid for the bullpen ended yesterday and Marcus Mateo has given up 6 runs in 6.2 IP, on 6 K's, 6 BB's and 2 HR's. Why he was even mentioned is a bit perplexing. Marmol, Grabow, Caridad, Berg, Marshall and Samardzija seem to be the first six in the pen, leaving James Russell and John Gaub fighting for the last spot and honorary pink backpack carrier. Russell hasn't given up an earned run in 8 IP's while striking out 8 and allowing just 5 hits. Gaub has struck out 9 in 6.2 IP, but given up 5 earned runs and 2 home runs. I would think Russell is in the lead for the final spot barring a meltdown the last week and a half.
Neither Russell or Tracy are on the 40-man roster, which currently stands at 39. But if the Cubs return Parisi to the Cardinals or get him through waivers and/or put Angel Guzman on the 60-day disabled list, they'll have room for the two or possibly a third NRI player if they find some room for Kevin Millar.
In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST...
Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex:
4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes)
Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)
There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?
Heyward getting the night off.
Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd
Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.
Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.
It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.
I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.
I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.
This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:
Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!
Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.
Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.
Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.
Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.
Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.
Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.
He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.
He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.
Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.
Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.
That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible
I was hearing some talk that John Mallee is trying to change Heyward's swing. Wonder if that is lending itself to the slow start.
at least it wasn't a "nobody showed up" stomping.
anytime you wanna jumpstart your season would be nice, heyward.