Not Mark Prior

GAME 51 PREVIEW CHICAGO CUBS (26-24) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (26-25) Dodger Stadium, 9.10pm CT, TV: ESPN2, FSN2
SP Derrek Lowe SP *John Koronka
SS #Neifi Perez SS #Cesar Izturis
3B #Enrique Wilson 3B Antonio Perez
1B Derrek Lee CF *JD Drew
RF *Jeromy Burnitz 2B Jeff Kent
2B *Todd Walker 1B Olmedo Saenz
CF *Corey Patterson
d>RF Jayson Werth LF Todd Hollandsworth C Jason Phillips C Michael Barrett LF Mike Edwards Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot The Cubs' system is chock-a-block with pitching. Yet filling in today for the Mark Prior as the Cubs try to run the streak to a season-high six with a first sweep of the Dodgers in LA for a decade will be a real non-prospect making his major league debut. Koronka's not yet 25, but he's already into the eighth season of a minor league career over which he has a 4.41 ERA. If that doesn't say it all for his talent, his fastball doesn't reach the nineties, and his only quality off-speed offering is his changeup. The Cubs' decision to add him to the 40-man roster last November was then at best rather bizarre. Their decision to actually use him in a major-league game today probably borders on capitulation (of course, now that I've forecast him getting tatooed left, right and centre, watch for him throwing shutout ball). Strangely the decision makes some sense though. Besides Sergio Mitre, of all our prospects only Angel Guzman and Jerome Williams are refined enough to comfortably handle the jump to the majors. The diagnosis on Guzman though is a strained right forearm, and at best he'll only throw his first pitches since the spring in a few days' time. Jerome Williams meanwhile has struggled terribly of late, and the decision to place him for a while at Iowa, where he last night threw six solid innings (2 runs on 8 hits, 1 crushed home run that was only just fair, no walks and 4 strikeouts), is entirely the correct one in my view - he needs some confidence running through his veins again. Behind Guzman and Williams lies a whole host of talent, led by Renyel Pinto, Ricky Nolasco and Rich Hill from West Tennessee. Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt. Is that the wisest way to treat prospects? It's debatable. Of the more experienced options, the Cubs' decision to leave Todd Wellemeyer and Ryan Dempster, who've both started games this year, in the bullpen where they seem to have found a groove is probably wise. Though he only throws in the mid-eighties, Raul Valdez, signed out of the Dominican Republic last year, throws a wide variety of pitches at a wide variety of speeds from the left side, but he would be going on short rest today and he'd require someone being kicked off the forty. Jon Leicester meanwhile started a previous emergency start, but he was roughed up a bit by the Mets in that game and he's lost Dusty's faith. And that really leaves just Koronk-urgh. It's not ideal, but for today, it'll have to do. Hopefully the offence shows up, hopefully Valdez or Leicester can start next time around, and hopefully Mark Prior gets well soon. Roll on, Cubbies, roll on. [UPDATE Rob G.] I'm going to try and do a running diary of the game (twins permitting), updating every half inning or so.

Comments

Enrique Wilson at 3rd, batting 2nd.

I think I just threw up in my mouth...

No word yet on who got sent down????

It was Leicester.

Dear John Hill,

Calling them up would though represent really throwing them in at the deep end, sink or swim, since not one of the three has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt.

Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start.

If my eyes did not just deceive (watching GameCenter), Latroy just gave up a grand slam in relief in the 8th. Poor guy.

stupid ChiSox... lose already... I am missing the Cubs game!!!!!! stupid CSN+ for allowing no extra time. stupid black out rules... ARG!

On the plus side, ESPN's Sox coverage is offering a breath of fresh air, what with the best color man in the biz working the mic and all.

cant get ESPN Sox or Cubs because of black out rules... and this ChiSox post game stuff just wont end! aaaaaaahhh!

FINALLY

steve stone is a jackass i never like him all that much.

"could the cubs win without prior, sure, will they, i dont know but...."

can you stand anyone who talks like that?

" how are the sox winning you say, wellitsy wellitsy wellitsy, lets take a looksie"

From thescout.com

On Monday, Koronka threw from the bullpen mound at Dodger Stadium but left before the game began. It was the first time the southpaw had ever attended a major league game.

I'm sorry. Please tell me I'm reading this wrong. This kind has been a professional baseball player for 8 years and has never attended a major league BASEBALL GAME?!?!?!

This is just too nuts....

dlee makes me happy

Ienpw--
"Renyel Pinto was pretty good in AAA last season, save the first start."

I don't have the game log on him, but his overall numbers are Iowa last year were...

2 GS, 9.1 IP, 9 H, 2 HR, 8 BB, 9 K, 7.71 ERA

Ewww. His numbers there this year...

6 GS, 22.2 IP, 31 H, 3 HR, 24 BB, 24 K, 9.53 ERA

And Nolasco's there last year...

9 GS, 40.2 IP, 68 H, 7 HR, 16 BB, 28 K, 9.30 ERA

And, when I published the statement "not one [of the three] has a successful inning at Triple-A under their belt", Rich Hill had yet to appear at Triple-A. However, he made his debut there last night (against the best offensive team in the PCL no less)..

6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 K, 5.40 ERA (4 ER)

Holy Cow! The last Cub to make his Iowa debut and strikeout double-digits was Mark Prior. Hill fell just short of the Iowa franchise record of 16 held by Vida Blue! Now that's some esteemed company!

Hill has never had any trouble striking a lot of people out though. What he did have trouble doing was striking a lot of people out while not walking just about everyone he didn't strike out. And there you have that. Just two walks, I think that's the best thing about last night's performance. He was according to someone that was at the game absolutely dealing, really attacking hitters and getting ahead in counts, and keeping them clueless at to whether they could expect the big hook or the heater (as many strikeouts were on the fastball as the curve). One of the walks was on 3-2 count, the other was a four-pitch lead-off walk in the sixth.

After that walk he allowed a very hit hard hit double off the wall (2nd, 3rd, no outs). He got a popout, but an RBI groundout to second followed, and the next batter absolutely crushed a fastball to deep, deep left, and that's the only real blackmark on his night. He left with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh, and an incompetent bullpen allowed the inherited runner to score.

Here's Hill's last nine starts (eight at West Tenn)...

55 IP, 32 H, 5 HR, 17 BB, 95 K, 2.13 ERA

That deserves a wolf whistle.

Let me put it this way, Rich Hill is going to be in Chicago before too long.

Recent comments

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  • The hot start was nice, but it won't always come easy. It's nice to see them have to work for it every once in a while.

    Ryno 48 min 29 sec ago view
  • Hey, AZ, are you as high on DJ Wilson as your pal John Arguello is?

    Old and Blue 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Phil, I just wanted to say thank you for diligently tracking the Cubs prospects in extended spring training and sharing your knowledge with us. It's remarkable how you're able to keep box scores for multiple games at once. I, and I'm sure others here, appreciate the data and insight you provide for us.

    K Dub 3 hours 59 min ago view
  • Thanks PHIL.

    Boy, that is a nifty K:BB ratio Hudson has going at almost 4:1!

    I hope he continues improving.

    The E-Man 9 hours 56 min ago view
  • And of course the Bucs won again playing AZ (not PHIL). They dont seem to have a problem yet with the bottom feeders.

    They picked up 3 games this last week.

    I'm looking forward to them coming to the Chi.

    The E-Man 10 hours 24 min ago view
  • Don't mess with the SI jinx. Since the Javy/Cubs cover came out, he is 2-for-20 with no walks.

    billybucks 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: If all three are assigned to Eugene, the Cubs can play Galindo, Paredes, and Paniagua at the same time by moving Paredes between SS-3B-DH, Galindo between 3B-1B-DH, and Paniagua between 1B-LF-DH. 

    The Cubs like to have their players (including their minor leaguers) learn to play more than one position even if they eventually are projected to settle at one spot, and I suspect that will be reflected at Eugene, with just about everybody who will be assigned there able to play at least two positions. 

    Arizona Phil 10 hours 56 min ago view
  • Thanks - at least the scorer was consistent

    Eric S 11 hours 9 min ago view
  • I don't think the error call was completely out of the blue but the ball took a very bad hop and would have taken a very good play to get it. Same with one of the Stella throws where I think it could have easily been ruled a hit. Neither were cut and dry calls though imo.

    johann 11 hours 38 min ago view
  • chased a high fastball...

    I think his BABIP during his run has been around .950

    Rob G. 11 hours 54 min ago view
  • Great stuff CubbyBlue!!! I think it inspired today's six spot as well.

    Eric S 11 hours 58 min ago view
  • That's all fine and good, but I think it's short-changing the Arrieta-like affect of his beard

    Eric S 12 hours 2 min ago view
  • Was the error scored on Zobrist's third ab ruled correctly? Ron was saying that it was a pretty tough chance for the fielder

    Eric S 12 hours 11 min ago view
  • Did anybody see that Zobrist strikeout?

    That was extremely disappointing.

    Old and Blue 13 hours 47 min ago view
  • Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.

    billybucks 14 hours 22 min ago view
  • Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.

    Eric S 14 hours 38 min ago view