Gameday Open Thread / Cubs @ Angels

The Cubs travel to Tempe today to face the suddenly depleted Angels. Carlos Zamrbano's final tune-up before Opening Day and he'll be opposed by Jered Weaver. The game is on

The Cubs also settled on their position players to start the season, choosing the lefty bat and infield abilities of Mike Fontenot over the superior righty bat of Matt Murton's. A difficult, but understandable decision on the Cubs part. While Murton is the better hitter, the addition of Fontenot gives the Cubs two lefty bench bats and someone besides Ronny Cedeno to back up the middle infield. The bench will consist of Henry Blanco, Daryle Ward, Ronny Cedeno, Reed Johnson and Mike Fontenot. I can't say I'm thrilled, but I do hope that if Soriano or Fukudome go down with an injury that Murton is still the top choice to replace them on an everday basis. The Cubs also released non-roster invitee Alex Cintron.

Finally, a loyal reader has four tickets for the April 2nd game at Wrigley versus the Brewers. I'm not too interested in becoming a ticket exchange or broker, but he's offering them at below face value, so I thought I'd pass along the note. Drop me an email and I'll forward it to him if you're interested. They're in Aisle 434, Row 2 and retail for $23 each. He's willing to break them up into pairs and is only asking $20 for each ticket. In other words, $40 or $80 instead of $46 or $92. I take no responsibility for their authenticity and don't think I'll do this for everyone.


we'll see if they play the game...

Neyer's Top 50 players for the next 5 Cubs. Cubs surprise

We're gonna be awful old in 5 years. But we've got a nice window for the present in our little division.


I'll be there throughout my lunch...

Cubs vs. Angels on FSW in LA. Felix Pie (pronounced like Apple Pie by the LA announcers) just singled sharply through the right side.

Soriano hitting 3rd.

only the play-by-play announcer is pronouncing it wrong.

weird, huh?

and now he's doing it right as well.

Someone musta told them.

a late scratch
What's wrong with him?

Looks like he's got it in shape! 2nd inning assist that was a bullet.

DeRosa apparently scratched with sinusitis.

DeRosa apparently scratched with sinusitis.
So what was his sin?

Fancy name for sinus infection. Unfortunately I know that one well. :(

...and lol @ Cubster

Roberts Deal is off according to McPhail



Phil Rogers said this deal was done in February!

Well, great -- if DeRosa misses the entire year with sinusitis, then where will we be?

i live with it.

i have to take steroids once or twice a year to shrink tissue growth in my sinuses.

yeah, fun stuff.

at least he can easily afford the $200 a month in meds he may need if its chronic.

wildflower season in arizona is in its best flush in almost a decade. i think its the best flush they've had out there since 02/03 or so. the desert is alive. they have to get a concentrated amount of rain over the winter or there's little to no wildflowers at all.

What will I have left to obsess over?

"If Matt's not here with us, I hope we can find a Major League job for him, because he's a good player, and he deserves that," Piniella said. "I'm sure that, if he's not going to be here, that Jim will try to accomodate him as much as possible."

i can believe it...but i can't.

as much as i'd like to keep murton is absolutely done with AAA. he's not going to gain arm strength suddenly by playing the bus-leagues in RF. he's not going to suddenly turn into a defensive wizz in AAA. and unless there's some part-100 of tinkering with his swing (which i doubt at this point) i definitely dont see what his bat is doing in the minors.

even with floyd injured 1/2+ or so of the season it was nice having the R/L bench power option (for the first time in a long time) of murton/ward.

wish your opening day tickets post had been up a week ago, i paid $50 each for about those same seats...knew i could do better if i waited but didn't want the anxiety since i'm flying back into town specifically for opening day.

Rob, any chance that we could have some sort of section of TCR where people could post extras/needs for tickets? i have a mini-season ticket plan and will have some tickets that i would be happy to dump for face value. this would be awesome if possible.

also, sad that murton won't be on the opening day team but i guess it makes sense, i still would have taken him over fontenot.

those tickets aren't for Opening Day and no, not getting into being a ticket exchange forum or anything like that. Just doing a favor for someone....

Bleed Cubbie Blue has one if you want to use that...

kerry wood comes in with men on to relieve marmol (pitching unsuccessfully into his 2nd inning of work)...wild pitch...then retires the next 2 to escape the inning.



wood going for another inning after .2ip (both fielded outs) the inning before.

groundout to 1st, K (swinging), and K (looking)

1.2ip 0h 0bb 2k

Murton was basically doomed the moment that Soriano moved from CF to LF last year.

He would a great fit for the A's, who would value his OBP and low cost.

murton would be a great fit for a lot of clubs.

question i have is why these clubs dont have him yet.

at least it *seems* like hendry doesn't want to give him away just for the sake of moving far...

either way, if he tears up AAA and gets another callup he could move into that easy-to-get-hard-to-maintain cubs fan cult status. kerry wood could get 1/2 of wrigley to give him a standing O just getting up off the pen bench during a game to take a leak.

ah yes, not for opening day indeed. my bad.

i'll check over at the blog whose name shall not be spoken for ticket stuff. thanks for the heads-up.


Pignatello for MVP!

What is Lahey's status?

any real discussion of it, but man, do I wish the Cubs had taken a longer look at Josh Hamilton in 2006's Rule 5 draft. He's hitting .455/.492/.818 this spring and apparently playing a very good outfield.

a lot of people were looking at the reds when they wanted hamilton...they've done this before with players obviously not ready (willie mo pena), but hamilton was a guy many years and many drug related suspensions away from even playing organized ball.

i dunno what's more amazing...him or ankiel (even with known PEDs in ankiel's case).

Right, and one of the main reasons it worked for the reds was because of that coach that had had a strong relationship with Hamilton. But man, the guy has talent. He would have solved our RF problem before Fukudome.

it's a bit too early to make the call on hamilton, but as of right now it would have been one of the biggest coups in cubs history if they had the foresight and willingness to risk the roster space.

it was a hell of one for the reds, and it though it got what most perceive to be an under-market return on hamilton...they turned it into a nice crop of prospects.

We did have Hamilton if I am not mistaken. His drug problems were/are serious. Yes, he's talented, but he's older and has to have a fulltime babysitter (Johnny Narron) with him most of the time. A guy whose sobriety is that tenuous, might be considered too much of a risk and expense for many teams. The Narrons have worked for the Rangers in the past. Not to mention he is injury prone and our outfield wouldn't be too kind to him I imagine.

Interesting. At least Theriot would be moved down.

So the left-handed Fukudome will lead off against lefties, and the right-handed Theriot will lead off against righties. What's wrong with this picture?

i hope lou (or carrie) is getting L/R mixed up there somewhere...

Any movement in the lower ranks ?

Is Iowa Daytona Tennessee and Peoria set ?


Pie with 3 more hits today.

Isn't he hitting like .988 since the Cubs "clearly soured on him" about a week ago?

Why didn't they think of this sooner?

A couple thoughts:

Pie hitting .356, leading the starters in hitting. Who saw that coming? Large.

Will someone please tell Lou to shut it about trading Murton? Even if we are going to trade him -- no, ESPECIALLY if we are going to trade him -- no one associated with the Cubs should be making public announcements about the fact that we don't need him anymore. It's another frustrating case of minimizing the trade value of a pretty good player who should fetch something useful in return.

I'm as excited as anyone for Pie to break out this year but let's not give him the batting crown yet. Remember these games still don't mean anything.

-Debbie Downer

Brian Dopirek released today---remember when he was such a hugh prospect

Where did you hear this?

I was rooting for a Dopirak comeback.

pie has been balls out since
that testiculer torsion was fixed

gerut and estes make the SD 25-man...

buck coats makes the TOR 25-man...

So the BJs got rid of Reed Johnson and Buck Coats makes their 25-man. What do you make of this?

and my deepest condolences to everyone who drafted Jarrod Saltalamacchia for their fantasy team.

made the Blue Jays as well, he was a Rule 5 draftee from our organization. We'll see if he sticks all year though.

Well, I was for getting Roberts mainly for what he would bring to the top of the lineup offensively. As long as the price was reasonable (e.g. Veal, Gallagher, and 1 of EPat, Cedeno, Murton), OK. Asking 4 or 5 players for one slightly above average second baseman is McPhail just being baseball retarded. My guess is Andy will regret not making this move by July when the O's are 25 games out of 1st, dead in the water, and it's a buyer's market for his expensive castoffs.

Nonetheless, the bright side is Hendry still has all his top and mid-level prospects from which to deal with between now and July 31st. My guess, again, is that Jimbo's going to need them for his starting rotation and LH hitting off his bench and middle infield. The 'pie in the sky' hope is that Gallagher, Samardzija, and/or Veal could be ready to step into the rotation and/or bullpen by mid-July.

Until then, I hope Angelos and McPhail choke on Roberts.

Couldnt have said it better myself. I have a gut feeling that negotiating with McFail would be like negotiating with the IRS or a Skilled Tax attorney. Or a petulant 5 year old for that matter.

March 23 San Diego North County Times
"Prior will continue to pitch every five days and may face live hitters soon. He hopes to rejoin the team in May"

March 27 Padres put MP on 60 day DL
"The flame-throwing Prior is not expected to pitch until June at the earliest."

I think everyone would be much MORE surprised if he actually started the season healthy.

Then May roles around...

Prior looking to throw off mound after All-Star Break

Kevin Towers Quote 6-15-2008 " Mark is really progressing nicely. When we get him back at the first of July. It will really be like making a deadline trade. Only we won't have to give anyone up to do it."

"flame throwing"?

Wasn't he down around 89-90 the last time we saw him. Even Padres' beat writers are more concerned with sun/surfing than baseball. Prior could be throwing towels on the PCH and no one in San Diego would even notice.

He struggled to hit 86 on the gun last time I saw him pitch. It was ugly. That maybe wasn't his last outing, that was just the last time I saw him.

I've been running a Home Run Pool for the last 5 years. You pick 11 players from 4 groups of players similar to this pool. But, you also get to write in 4 players that aren't on lists - a lot of people really like this strategic aspect. There is a total of 15 players selected plus 1 tiebreaker. It costs $20 per entry and all money is returned to the pot. Last year there were 80 participants. The 4 highest HR totals payout. I expect the same level of participation this year but am always hoping for more! If you're interested send me an email at [email protected] and I'll send you an entry form. The deadline to submit picks is March 30th at 11:59 PM CST so act quickly!

So the BJs got rid of Reed Johnson and Buck Coats makes their 25-man. What do you make of this?

Coats is a left-handed hitter.

Q: Who pitches first in an MLB game, Mark Prior or Angel Guzman?

A: None of the above.

Recent comments

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  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.

  • Unbeleivable Dodgers:
    I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
    Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:

    Some "Highlights"
    Carl Crawford $20MM
    Brandon McCarthy $17MM
    Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
    Darwin B $2.2MM
    Dan Haren $10MM
    Matt Kemp $18MM
    Brian Wilson $10MM
    Ryan Webb $2.2MM
    Dee Gordon $2.5MM

  • So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.


    And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):

  • i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.

    there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.

  • I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.

  • O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already. 

  • I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.

    I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.

  • Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.

  • With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined). 

  • BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.

    If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).

    As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).

  • I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.