The sad story of Josh Hancock’s crash Saturday night conjured the inevitable comparisons to Darryl Kile’s death at the Westin Hotel in Chicago in June, 2002.
In the wake of yesterday's tragedy, the Cubs will likely shuffle their rotation a bit. Angel Guzman was scheduled to be called up tomorrow but Lou is now leaning towards Sunday May 6th against the Nationals as he wants to split up Rich Hill and Ted Lilly from going back to back days. So the rotation will likely be: Today @ Pittsburgh: Rich Hill May 1st @ Pittsburgh: Ted Lilly May 2nd @ Pittsburgh: Jason Marquis May 4th vs. Washington: Carlos Zambrano May 5th vs Washington: Rich Hill
With Angel Guzman scheduled to get the start next Tuesday at Pittsburgh, but with a 5th starter not needed again until May 12th at Philadelphia, here is what the Cubs should do to give themselves a little bit of an edge, although they probably won't:
A compelling aspect of Wednesday’s Cubs-Brewers game, apart from the fact that the Cubs actually won, was Lou Piniella’s decision to start Ryan Theriot at short. As Lou explained:
"We need a lift. We need somebody who hopefully can get us going a little bit. I've been trying to figure out where to play him. He's been getting work at shortstop. We'll put him out there at shortstop and let him play."Theriot, naturally, was elated to get the opportunity and said he wasn’t intimidated about moving over from second.
Dr. Joseph Hecht with hopefully his very last Mark Prior update ever... UPDATE: Will Carroll stopped by in the comments to clear up a few matters and there's a follow-up by our doctor. -------------- I know, we’re all tired of reading about Mark Prior’s injuries. Now that we have diagnoses that match his symptoms, hopefully we can just move on. Cubs.com site says that Mark Prior’s surgeon, Dr. Andrews, did a debridement of Prior's right rotator cuff, as well as repair the labral and capsular injuries in his right shoulder. Sounds accurate enough to me. Will Carroll has an unfiltered update on Mark Prior if you have a Baseball Prospectus subscription. I wanted to try sort through the terminology and implications.
While much of the focus has been on the Cubs bullpen blowing these extra-inning and close games, there has been another culprit. Cubs Offense Innings 1-6: .290/.333/.459 66 Runs National League Average: 258/330/404 56 Runs Top Performers: Aramis Ramirez: 429/457/810 Derrek Lee: 400/492/520 Michael Barrett: 308/370/641 Ryan Theriot: 467/467/533 Mark Derosa: 244/279/634 Cubs Offense from the 7th Inning on: 212/299/288 21 Runs National League Average: 247/331/382 26 Runs
Some folks in the chat mentioned that Lou said as much in the pre-game interview and cubs.com has this quote (emphasis added):
Mark Prior is going under the knife for exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder tomorrow in Birmingham. The procedure will be done by Dr. James Andrews and IF he finds any damage, he's expected to repair it on the spot. Hopefully our resident doctor will be along to let us know what Prior can expect tomorrow.
If Carlos Zambrano can pitch 21 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings tonight--striking out 17 while walking four--he’ll have the same pitching line in ’07 as he did five appearances into 2006: 3.94 ERA, 33 K, 20 BB, 25 Hits Allowed. You remember 2006...when Carlos got off to such an awful start.
NL Central Standings (as of April 23, 2007)
If you haven't had a chance to see or hear about how the Cubs game ended today, let me explain. Mark Derosa singled with one out in the bottom of the ninth and was replaced with Ronny Cedeno on the bases (you'd think Felix Pie would be the choice but whatever). Jacque Jones was up next and worked a 3-2 count before an Isringhausen cutter missed off the inside part of the plate. Now here's where the trouble starts. The ball was clearly inside but as we learned last Sunday with the Kyle Lohse/Ted Lilly duel, balls clearly off the plate are called strikes every once in awhile.
A quick tour of the Wonderful Wide World of the Web... - If you're a scouting junkie or just a masochist who enjoys enduring the bitter downfall of Mark Prior, the good folks at The Hardball Times put together a wonderful breakdown of Prior's pitching mechanics over the years. - MySpace isn't just for picking up under-aged girls (use your inner voice, Rob), it's also good for showing off your man-love of Cubs players. The latest is for Ted Lilly. If you check out his friends you'll find a number of other Cubs pages as well. Our (former) fearless leader Christian sent me some links for actual Cubs players' Myspace pages once upon a time, I'm going to have to dig that out soon.
Now that our new wonder-kid centerfielder is up with the big club, and since he's spent his entire minor league career being unfairly compared to our last wonder-kid centerfielder, I thought it would be appropriate to continue the unjust association. So let's see how the major league debuts of Corey and Pie match up.
Yesterday was the last Cubs EXST game for two visitors from another country, two aspiring baseball players who have been working out with the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent at Fitch Park in Mesa the past couple of weeks. The National Baseball Team of the Peoples Republic of China arrived at Scottsdale Community College for Spring Training last month, led by head coach (and ex-Cub manager) Jim Lefebvre and pitching coach (and ex-MLB LHP) Bruce Hurst. They played games against various minor league ST squads and college teams in Arizona, before having their team split up and sent to various MLB EXST camps, with the team's players (and Chinese translators) assigned to the MLB clubs who expressed an interest in the program. The Cubs EXST contingent at Fitch Park was lucky enough to get two of China's better players, outfielder Qi Ze (pronounced "Chee") and catcher Hao Guo-chen (they call him "How").
I’m really looking forward to the Opener tonight down in Atlanta. I think Hill is going to be a terrific #1. I’m hopeful that Lilly and Marquis can hold their own as numbers 2 and 3, and make all of their regular starts, as has been their history. I figure Miller is a short-timer in the #4 spot—Guzman has GOT to fill that role—but Zambrano is, no doubt, the best fifth starter in baseball. Maybe the best fifth starter ever.
What player stole the most bases with the Cubs in the 1990s?As always, try to answer without a web search.
The good doctor, Joseph Hecht, gives us the latest on Soriano's hamstring injury.... -------- April 19th has been a painful day for Cub players and fans for two years running. I painfully remember Nomar Garciaparra falling in a heap near home plate when he ripped his adductor muscle off the groin. Derrek Lee’s wrist fracture needs no instant replay for me to remember it. So when April 16th produces another injury to a star player I think we should just petition the powers that be to start playing the schedule May 1st. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly live on Comcast TV, after Alfonso Soriano grabbed the back of his left thigh, immediately recognized that he “tweaked” his hammy.
The Tribune is now reporting that Pie will lead off and play center for today's game in Chicago. As of this hastily written post in response to the briefest of announcements at ChicagoSports.com, there is no explanation of how the roster will be worked to fit Pie. Soriano reports he is feeling much better, and the MRI is negative. (No indication of a torn hamstring)
Here's the way it works: every degree over 50 is good for 1.5 runs. Sunday gametime temp--50; runs scored--0. Monday gametime temp--58; runs scored--12. Tuesday gametime temp (forecast)--62; runs scored (forecast)--18.
Game Chat Clay Hensley vs. Jason Marquis ---- I'm not sure I'll be around to post lineups although WSCR and Steve Stone claims this will be the Cubs lineup tonight: Soriano CF, Theriot 3B, Lee 1B, Murton RF, Barrett C, Jones LF, Derosa 2b, Izturis SS, Marquis P I'd love to hear some theories on why Murton plays right tonight and Jones moves to left.
I'm not much into the daily post-game reviews, far too easy to be overly-reactionary about one play or one moment that doesn't really say much about the team or individuals in generals. But now that we're two weeks and eleven games into the season, let's discuss a few trends and other tidbits that have caught my eye.