Strategy for Mets Series

It's going to be a pretty laid back way week for the Cubs as they ready themselves for the playoffs. The only kink in that plan is they're playing two of the teams fighting for a playoff spot. Lou has already indicated that you wont' be seeing anymore lineups like Sunday:

"I can't let these guys all sit," Piniella said. "We have to use them
to keep them as sharp as possible. We'll play our regular lineup in
these games [against New York]. The worst thing that can happen is
Major League Baseball calls us and tells us, 'Hey, you people have a
responsibility,' and we're going to honor that. 

I'm not exactly sure that's the worst thing that can happen, the worst thing that could happen is that Soriano gets nailed with a fastball or Ramirez shreds a hamstring, etc, etc. But Lou is right that you just can't sit them for a week.  As I discussed last week, I think Lou should be weary of using his starting pitchers versus the Mets. When it comes to the question of unfamiliarity between a pitcher and a hitter, I think the advantage goes to the pitcher. The less a team has seen a pitcher, the bigger the disadvantage. Now I don't worry much about Jason Marquis going tonight since he's been in the league long enough that many of the Mets hitters have seen enough of him already and he probably won't pitch against them if they are the Cubs first round opponent. But the rest of the week has Harden vs. Johan, Zambrano vs. Perez and Lilly vs Pedro. First, let's applaud the Mets for having two pitchers who are simply known by their first names.

Second, I understand that you don't want to completely sit your starting pitchers and risk getting them rusty, but I do hope Lou sticks with a plan to limit them to 5 innings and no more than two times through the lineup. If you look at some of the numbers, Harden has only faced one Mets hitter at least 10 times and that's Carlos Delgado. Lilly is in much of the same boat, with only Delgado and Luis Castillo getting more than 10 AB's. Zambrano being a native National Leaguer, has faced most of the Mets lineup quite a bit more, including a one-run effort earlier in the season. 

All in all, it's probably not a big deal, but what else are we going to worry about this week?

Some random notes after the jump....

- The Cubs 2008 division champ hats are pretty sweet. I usually hold off until the Cubs playoff run is over before purchasing any merchandise to see how far they get. Who wants a 2008 division champ shirt if a 2008 NL Pennant or 2008 World Series Champs one is coming down the pipeline? But I might have to break my rule on that one.

- I was updating our Cubs 40-man roster page, and didn't realize that the Cubs practically called up the entire roster. 

- You can download Eddie Vedder's new Cubs anthem from the Pearl Jam website. I'm going to try and get it up on the sidebar over the next day or two.

-  Arizona Phil recently gave us his thoughts on the playoff roster and I think I agree with his rotation. Dempster for Game 1 seems like a no-brainer now, because not only does Dempster have experience in the bullpen for later in the series, but he's also been lights out at home. At the moment, I think I'd like to see Dempster, Harden, Zambrano, Lilly but that could change depending on the opponent and how they throw this week.

As for the rest of the roster, I'd like to see this:

C - Soto, Blanco

INF - Lee, Ward, Fontenot, DeRosa, Cedeno, Theriot, Ramirez

OF - Soriano, Edmonds, Fukudome, Johnson

SP - Zambrano, Lilly, Harden, Dempster

RP - Wood, Marmol, Samardzija, Cotts, Marquis, Gaudin (assuming he's healthy, which sounds like he is),  and anyone not named Bob Howry.

Sadly, I think Howry will make the roster and then it's just a matter if Gaudin is healthy and if Lou can stomach crushing the soul of Marquis for another season. I think Marquis has done enough down the stretch to shake those "he's a first-half pitcher" tag, so as long as he's not whining about being put in the pen, he'd be nice to have around in case our slightly fragile starting rotation gets hurt.

That also eaves one spot for either Micah Hoffpauir or Felix Pie. I actually think the Cubs need a righty bench bat like Casey McGehee, but he just hasn't done much. I'd probably give the spot to Hoffpauir myself. Although Pie offers more dimensions to his game, Hoffpauir might actually get a hit. And would anyone want to see Lou having to be forced to use Pie as a pinch-hitter? But that could all be subject to change when they figure out who the Cubs opponent is.

- I discovered a neat trick/tool for you Mac users. I've always had problems isolating clips to store on my own computer because I'm weird like that. But I came across Tube TV and have been saving clips from the 2008 season that you can find at Just find the clip you want, paste the URL in the Tube TV browser and download it. You can then convert if if necesary for your Ipod or Apple TV, but that's not necessary.





I actually think Vedder's song is great. But it's a bit melancholy to be a rally song.

I don't think anyone has better captured what it means to be a Cub fan.

"When you're born in Chicago, you're blessed and you're healed
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field"

"We are one with the Cubs, with the Cubs we're in love
Yeah, hold our head high as the underdog
We are not fair weather but fall weather fans
We're like brothers in arms in the streets and the stands"

"In the same ballpark, our diamond, our jewel
The home of our joy and our tears"

it's foul-weather fans fwiw...

rally song might be a poor word choice, let's say sing-along...

whatever, it's awesome.

Vedder's song is whiny and Cubs funs get accused of that all too often.
Me? I would like to hear a "spirited" cover of "Go Cubs Go," by : 1)Dinasaur Jr.
3)any random polka band
4)random death metal band
5)Bluegrass band
Assemble the musicians and get to work!

"Cubs funs"?

and it's whiny? didn't get that at all...

I agree totally. First time I heard the song, I thoroughly expected Michael Flatley to come out and start dancing that damn "Lord of the Dance" crap! I understand that Vedder is a Cub fan and just wants to add to the Cub mystic, but that song just "ain't" going to cut in CHICAGO!

I am just trying to figure out how Pearl Jam is selling their own bootlegs. Talk about an oxymoron.

that would be funny if it ended up to be true, but I would guess they had an agreement with the venue and I'm sure they had it planned ahead.

PJ records all their concerts, and they're available for download from their website the next day for like $9.95. It's actually a really cool deal. You can download the entire concert you just saw (or pick any other show that has a playlist you want). Not sure if they still do, but they also used to mail the discs to go along with it as well.

Anyway, the point is, they record everything so that's why that song is now available for download.

Yup... bands never sell live music. Ever.

Nothing is whinier then death metal.

Your mom disagrees. She says Brick is.

Nope sorry, the whiny list goes like this:

Death metal
Rage Against the Machine
Bob Dylan
Sarah Palin
Manny (from here)
Al Gore
Rosie O'Donnell
Colin Cowherd
Cindy Sheehan
Terrell Owens
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine

They're all desperate for your mom too?


Most of the world is it seems.

Rage Against the Machine though are desperate for decent lyrics. Keep chasing that dream boys!

I say we kidnap The Hold Steady and force them to give up the Twins and learn to love the Cubs. There's no better band for this team.

Here's their version of Take Me Out To The Ballgame. It's Twin's-centric but it freakin rocks.

wasn't overwhelmed by that one...

this remix is better

I kid...

Entourage sig line?

Why yes it is.

That was the worst remix ever.

I didn't look at the lyrics closely. That line is so key, too. We are foul weather fans.

And it is a great closing time song for Wrigley Field bars.

Funny, I thought the lockeroom division champ hat is butt ugly. Do you really want an "08 MLB" logo on the front brim of the cap?

I purchased a different one on, just to have a momento.
I'd happily pay a few extra bucks for a 2nd (and maybe 3rd) hat.

I'd hope to see Soto sit 3 times this week, and Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano sit 2 times each....just mix them up so only one is sitting at a time. I'd have to think MLB would accept that without question.

I do not think it would be the right decision, but I fully expect to see Zambrano start game 1 and Game 5. I see Harden starting game 3.

What I'd want:
1. Dempster
2. Zambrano
3. Harden
4. Lilly
5. Dempster (assuming a good game 1 start)

What I expect:
1. Zambrano
2. Dempster
3. Harden
4. Lilly (Or Z on short rest, down 2-1)
5. Zambrano

That's 9 days off over seven days. It's going to be quite a trick to sit only one at a time. I agree with the thought though. I would like all the starters to get Saturday or Sunday off. With that and the 3 days until the start of the playoffs, they should be good. Theriot is getting overpowered by thigh high 90 MPH fastballs. He can rest 4 days this week, if they think that will get him going.

also a good point....don't mind Z going Game 3 either myself. He could come back out of the pen for a couple of innings in Game 5 if necessary. You know they wouldn't risk that with Harden. Although they probably shouldn't be risking it with Z either.

Tough to nail this down though until you know the opponent.


whoops, meant to reply to your other comment about Harden pitching Game 2.

Lord of the Dance? That clown doesn't stomp to slow stuff. The Vedder tune is a classic drinking song with the requisite repeated phrase, in this case, "Someday we'll go all the way" to be sung at the top of one's inebriated lungs. It's not meant to whip fans into a frenzy.

I like a lot of Steve Goodman's songs but Go Cubs Go is, without a doubt, his worst. It makes Bear Down Chicago Bears seem like Stravinsky.

Oh, and I doubt Marshall will be left off the post season roster. Seems like it's between Marquis, the Notre Dame guy and Howry.

bar/party anthem is what I was thinking as well.

It's good stuff...

Rob G , I meant Cubs fans. Don't be so anal. I stand by my suggestions. It's matter of taste. "Go Cubs Go" on its own is pretty lame; it needs aggression. I don't wah wah crying in my beer victimhood. No prisoners! That's the idea.
Marshall should stay on the roster. Howry? Not so much.

honestly didn't know what you were trying to say...I was guilty of being slow, not anal.

arguing music tastes is about as fruitless as arguing politics, but I prefer the slower sing-alongs to bond with my fellow Cubs fans.

Harden in game 2 makes a lot of sense, since you know the bullpen will be working 3 innings and they'll have Friday off.

Well, you may be right, but I would also expect Harden to be stretched out a little more in the playoffs. He has averaged 99 pitches a start since coming to the Cubs (and 97 pitches with the A's), but I would expect him to be pushed further than that in the playoffs.

Of course, if he has the same control as he had in the last start, he will be lucky to finish 5 innings again.

Vedder is a poseur from Evanston who pretended to be from Seattle until it was convenient for him to be from the Chicago area. No biggie, but he's a whiny guy from the get - go; let's try for something else, please.

BTW, why does the song have to mention the Cubs specifically? "Jump" was a pretty good tune for the '84 team, and no one gave a damn that it wasn't about the Cubs.

I think the best team anthems are the ones that arise organically. As much as I effing hate that the White Sox stole "Don't Stop Believin'" back in 2005, that one just started as a rallying cry for the team and stuck around. Trying to force Steve Goodman on us, and now Vedder's song feels just that - forced (and I love Pearl Jam, but I feel the song is a bit too slow/repetitive/sentimental to be a rallying song).

Jump is/was a terrible song. It signaled the end of Van Halen as a great rock band.


To each their own, I guess, but I love Pearl Jam, and I think this song rocks. Of course, I don't expect everyone to agree, it's just my opinion. I've been listening to it about every couple of hours since I first heard it. And I'll continue to listen to it at least for the rest of the season.

As far as a rallying song - it's not great. It doesn't have the ring of a rallying song. It's more of a bar song that everyone can sing along with while drinking their beer.

I'm no great Pearl Jam fan, but I think the Eddie Vedder song is poetic, touching and real. I am a Cubs fan in large part because it connects me to my memories of my Dad, who died when I was 7 years old.

"In the same ballpark, our diamond, our jewel.
The home of our joy and our tears.

Keeping traditions and wishes made new.
The place where our grandfathers' fathers they grew.
A spiritual feeling if I ever knew.
And if you ain't been I am sorry for you."

EV captures the pull of memories, our connections between the past and the present and our love of a place and a team and our hope within an epic struggle. You can hear in his voice that he means what he says -- and he sings it with true hope for the future. Yes, someday we'll go all the way.

I listened to it about 5 times through and by the 5th time, when the words and the emotion of his voice had sunk in, I was in tears.

Most sports team songs are just plain bad or embarrassing. This one is beautiful and moving. IMO.

Good job, Eddie Vedder.


There's no point in arguing music, it's too subjective. Let's just get a college marching band and some hot cheerleaders and go at it.

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.