Cubs Visit Bahstan in 2011
The 2011 schedule is out and the Cubs get a mix of the AL East and Central during interleague play. Ben Affleck* can mug for the cameras between May 20-22(fine by me as long as he brings his wife with him) as the Cubs wrap up a 7-game road trip with a trip to Fenway. Good luck getting tickets. It's the first Cubs trip since Babe Ruth beat them in the 1918 World Series.
*Go see "The Town" though, 90% of it is excellent.
Speaking of May, the Cubs get 17 home games that month and 11 on the road, which seems like some sort of important milestone in how the season should be going.
Other highlights include:
- The season starting on a Friday(April Fool's to be exact) and it will be the season and home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, followed by a three game set versus the Diamondbacks. Hope it's warm.
- Cubs wrap up their home/road series for the year versus the D'Backs and the Rockies in April.
- The friendly home May schedule turns quickly into a 10-game road trip through St. Louis, Cincy and Philadelphia.
- The Yankees visit Wrigley Field June 17-19, then the Cubs "travel" to play the White Sox and Kansas City Royals. They'll finish up their home and home with the White Sox the first weekend in July.
- The season ends with three at St. Louis and then three in San Diego with the final game on Wednesday, September 28th. The shift in starting and ending days of the season is an attempt by the league to make sure the post-season doesn't go into November again.
The rest of the Cubs news fit to print after the jump...
- Tom Gorzelanny is supposed to throw a simulated game game Sunday in Florida and could return to a 6-man rotation to finish out the season. Dempster, Coleman and Ninja will pitch the non-simulated games against the Marlins this weekend.
- Carlos Silva will get some treatment on his elbow over the next week and is still trying to return for a start or two before the season finishes.
- The Double A Tennessee Smokies took game one of their best of five in the Southern League championship last night over the Jacksonvile Suns (Marins affiliate). Captain Archer (hat tip to Dr. Hecht for the nickname) dominated with 6 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 BB and racking up 8 K's. Aaron Shafer, Blake Parker and Esmailin Caridad finished off the 5-0 shutout. Brett Jackson went 1/3 with a BB and a 2B (and a K). Robinson Chirinos and Brandon Guyer went deep.
- Wittenmyer confirms that a Bob Melvin interview will happen and also says Hendry is flying to Arizona to have a second chat with Ryne Sandberg. As mentioned numerous times in the comments yesterday, Fredi Gonzalez turned down the interview offer by the Cubs, apparently confident he'll be Bobby Cox's successor in Atlanta. Quade and Eric Wedge seem to be the other candidates at the moment and of course the pipe dream that the Cubs will get the honor of paying Joe Girardi $3-4M is still out there. Quade is 13-7 by the way, since Lou rode off into the Florida sunset.
- Starlin Castro should be back in the lineup tonight...my heart's a flutter.
- Week 1 recap at The Bear Truth as well if you're interested...actually, you don't have to be interested, just go ahead and read it.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.