The Rubber Game

Ted Lilly's first start of the season and him and the TLFC are all amped up to try and take the first series of the year.

"It's the biggest game of the year," Lilly said.

Ted's Intensity (aka Tedtensity) just made us punch through the TLFCHQ
Italian Granite counter tops... and our hand doesn't even hurt. Damn
right it's the biggest game of the year, Ted continues,

it's the first one," Lilly said. "They're all important. Every one I'm
starting is the most important, and that's the mentality you have to
Here's the lineup courtesy of Wittenmyer's twitter feed: Soriano,
Fukudome, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fontenot, Theriot, Hill, Lilly

Some minor site news after the jump...

Game 2 Recap: Astros 3, Cubs 2 in 10 Innings

Update--more on Soto...

From Wittenmyer's game story in the Sun-Times:

Soto, who said he felt ''discomfort'' on an awkward throw to to be re-examined [Wednesday]. Manager Lou Piniella
suggested a possible return during the next series, which opens Friday
in Milwaukee. It wasn't considered serious enough to schedule an MRI.

Soto...downplayed the
injury. He said he has had similar discomfort before, as recently as
this spring.


W - Doug Brocail (1-0)
L - Neil Cotts (0-1)

Box score

In the early innings of Tuesday night's game, Pat Hughes and Ron Santo discussed the fact that the Cubs have not started a season 2-0 since Pat and Ron began working together in the WGN radio booth in 1996. Naturally, this had the effect of jinxing the team and thus, the outcome was inevitable.


2009 Opening Day Minor League Rosters


C - Mark Johnson, Chris Robinson

INF - Andres Blanco, Matt Matulia, Luis Rivas, Nate Spears, Bobby Scales, Jake Fox

OF - Sam Fuld, Doug Deeds, So Taguchi, Jason Dubois, Brad Snyder

SP - Jose Ascanio, Mitch Atkins, Esmalian Caridad, Jeff Samardzija, Randy Wells

RP - Justin Berg, Jessie Estrada, Chad Fox, Kevin Hart, J.R. Mathes, Greg Reinhard, Jeff Stevens, Jason Waddell

That starting rotation is according to the press release and it mentions that Mitch Atkins will get Iowa's opening day start. Also, Triple A and Double A rosters should max out at 24 (according to AZ Phil at least) so there's a good chance two players are headed to the DL right away unless there's been a rule change. Then of course, why wouldn't they just sit back in extended spring training?

Missed It By That Much

Those Jake Peavy talks will probably heat up again once the Ricketts take over the team or Rich Harden hits the disabled list, but just how close were they to completing the trade over the winter?

 They were so close, in fact, that Peavy's side had begun the process of negotiating how much of his salary would be deferred. I's were being dotted, t's were being crossed.

Buster Olney makes it sounds like they were in the middle of the press conference before the red phone rang from Sam Zell to put a stop to the deal. I guess we may never know, but Padres general manager Kevin Towers certainly thought a deal was just about in place, so there's probably more truth than fiction to that story.

The other newsworthy item is that USA Today pegs the Cubs total payroll at $134,809,000. That's the third highest in baseball behind the Mets and Yankees and well ahead of the fourth place Boston Red Sox ($121,745,999).

Game 1 Recap: Cubs 4, Astros 2

Perfect Season?
W - Zambrano (1-0)
L - Oswalt (0-1)
S - Gregg (1)


Things to Take from This Game


1. Zambrano is Sharp
Zambrano cruised through six before getting into a bit of trouble in the seventh.  He got pulled before he could get himself too far into a jam, Heilman immediately induced a GIDP, but a run then went onto Z's account when Bourn "drove in" a runner from third with a 40 foot chopper up the first base line.  For Zambrano it was one measly run, 6 Ks, 3 BB, a bunch of ground balls and a very efficient first six innings, 98 pitches total.


2. Cubs Get to Oswalt Early
Soriano and Ramirez led off the first and second innings with solo home runs to left: Soriano's a bomb to deep left-center, Ramirez's a liner into the boxes more down the line.  Oswalt settled down and also induced one grounder after another through an efficient seven innings. The Cubs added two more runs with a Theriot sac fly scoring Fontenot in the 6th, and a Hoffpauir single scoring Fontenot in the 9th.


3. Bullpen works as planned
Heilman and Cotts got the Cubs out of a seventh-inning jam, allowing Marmol and Gregg to cover the eighth and ninth.  The run against Gregg came after Bradley had the ball pop out of his glove on a tough-but-ought-to-be-caught effort at a sinking line drive.  Overall, about all one could hope for on Opening Day:  The big bats hit a couple homers, the middle infielders got on and got around, the pinch-hitter pinch-hit, Z was Good Z, and set up the bullpen to execute their assignments.


The undefeated details follow.

The 162 Game Preseason Begins

That was the title for my entry for the Maple Street Press team preview I wrote, and pretty much sums up how I'm approaching the 2008 season. Oh sure, I should be grateful for the back-to-back playoff appearances and the fact that the Cubs are the favorites to do it again. But I'm just having a hard time mustering the excitement right now. It seems a lot like the 2008 team, and sure I'm curious about the new blood, but they don't quite have my full attention yet. Plus, after last year, what could they possibly do during the season to make me any more confident about their postseason chances than I was last year? Well they could be healthy and Harden and Z could be hitting 95+ regularly in Septemeber, but that's about it. And I have to wait until September for that to happen.

So now that I peed all over your Opening Day enthusiasm (send hate mail to carriedotmuskatatcubsdotcom)...on to the game we go.

It's Opening Day; I'm Going to Throw Out the First Hurricane Ike Reference

The Astros hate the Cubs. Everyone who is not a Cubs fan hates Carlos Zambrano. And the Houstons are opening the season at home with the best pitcher in team history on the mound. You'd think that would be enough to activate their adrenal glands. But of course, there's that other business left over from 2008:

Cubs Set Final Roster

The Cubs and Jim Hendry cost themselves $1.6 million today by releasing Chad Gaudin(assuming another team signs him). They also optioned Jeff Samardzija to Iowa and the 25-man roster is set. Angel Guzman and David Patton make the team and the Cubs will start with these 25.

Catchers - Soto, K. Hill

1st Base - D. Lee, M. Hoffpauir

2nd Base - M. Fontenot, A. Miles

TCR '09 Contest

It's time for another TCR contest. 10 questions which you need to enter on this google spreadsheet. Just enter your name below the last entry and fill-in your response. It should auto-save as you enter your answers. I short-handed the questions on the spreadsheet, but here are the full questions (10 pts for each correct answer):

1) Total regular season wins for the team (10 pts for the correct answer, subtract 1 pt for each win you're off by)


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