The One That Got Away
Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 06/13/2005 - 3:58pm
GAME 62 PREVIEW FLORIDA MARLINS (31-29) at CHICAGO CUBS (33-28) Wrigley Field, 7:05pm CT, TV: FSFL, CSN
The Cubs get a brief respite from interleague play (they're now 4-5 against the AL this year, with six games to play) as fishy Florida visit town. On the mound tonight for those Marlins will be the one that got away, Dontrelle Willis, who is currently enjoyable an unbelievable season. No, literally, I don't believe it - he's 10-2 with an ERA touching two. I don't believe he'll keep it up either. The Cubs tonight have their chance to give his numbers a little more respectability, and in the process they could make themselves feel a little less rueful about throwing in the young lefty who'd never pitched an inning above Low-A ball when it came to acquiring the bust of a closer that was Alfonseca and fellow throw-in Matt Clement. At least he didn't figure out too badly.
How the Cubs might be wishing they had either Clement or Willis starting for them tonight, given that as it is they have to throw John Koronka out there. Injuries or not, there's now no excuse for Koronka being in the rotation any more as far as I'm concerned, because the Cubs could surely by now have reconfigured schedules, days of rest and the like to avoid the unfortunate situation of a pitcher scarcely capable of getting out minor leaguers on a regular basis having to try and prevent major leaguers getting runs across the plate. Hopefully he can keep us in the game tonight, but I'm not holding my breath.
Jerome Williams at Iowa is looking like quite a coup given the way he's turned his season around in his first three starts as a member of the Cubs organisation (18.1 IP, 18 H, 2 HR, 3 BB, 13 K, 2.45 ERA). The Cubs certainly have to balance the short-term needs of the big league club with the long-term development of their prospects at all times, but there's no real conflict of interest here now as far as I can see. Williams' weight (reportedly 260 pounds, 20 pounds overweight) isn't a concern in the short term given Williams' recent success in spite of it, nor in long term given Williams' own determination to shift it. Neither is his lack of a truly refined third pitch too problematic, given that he's already achieved major league success without one. Refining either his slider or curveball while in the minors would certainly be nice, but it's hardly essential or urgent, and the need for someone better than Koronka in the rotation right now seems to me more pressing. And Williams, given his recent success, looks like a good bet. Unfortunately, the Cubs seem intent on keeping Williams at Iowa for a while yet. In that case we can only hope Kerry Wood returns double quick. He's making his first rehab start at Iowa tonight on a 60 pitch limit - listen live here from 7.05pm CT if you like.
The Marlins haven't been that impressive of late, winning just five of their last eighteen to drop from top to bottom of the NL East. Their big problem has been a shoddy bullpen and a lineup unintent upon scoring runs. Sound familiar? It was only a month or two ago we were in the same situation. Cubs, let's not go back there!
|SP *John Koronka||SP *Dontrelle Willis|
|CF *Juan Pierre||SS #Neifi Perez|
|2B #Luis Castillo||2B Jerry Hairston|
|LF Miguel Cabrera||1B Derrek Lee|
|1B *Carlos Delgado||3B Aramis Ramirez|
|3B Mike Lowell||LF Jason Dubois|
|C Paul Lo Duca||RF *Jeromy Burnitz|
|RF Juan Encarnacion||CF *Corey Patterson|
|SS Alex Gonzalez||C Michael Barrett|
|Pitcher's spot||Pitcher's spot|