April 2007

Rotation Shuffle

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

Tonight’s Game Canceled Due to Death of Cards Pitcher

Tonight's game between the Cubs and Cardinals has been canceled due to the tragic death of STL RHP Josh Hancock in a traffic accident in St. Louis early this morning. He just turned 29 a couple of weeks ago, and worked three innings in yesterday's 8-1 Cubs victory.

Short Story

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.

Déja´ Vu All Over Again

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.

Late-Inning (What’s The Opposite of Heroics?)

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

Livid

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.

TCR Friday Notes

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.

Chee and How

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").

A Change In Perspective

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.

Can we just start playing in May?

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.

It’s Official: Pie called up

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)

Game 12 Thread / Padres @ Cubs (1 of 2)

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.

2 Week Progress Report

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.

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  • if they dont win at least 130 games this season they can pack it all up, turn wrigley into a concert venue, and move the damn team to san jose.

    #Bernie130orBust

    crunch 58 min 36 sec ago view
  • I see where catcher Cael Brockmeyer was promoted to Tennessee a couple of days ago, to fill a roster spot vacated by David Freitas, recently promoted to Iowa. Caratini is the other catcher at Tennessee.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 1 min ago view
  • They've already clinched a minimum winning percentage of .607 for the month, and that's only if they lose the last 2 games. If they win both, they can push that up to .679. So much for "stumbling" in May. When you're winning over 60% of your games, you're doing baseball well.

    John Beasley 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • If the best walk-off hit possible is a solo home run in a zero-zero game--Eloy did it tonight!

    (But maybe it's a grand slam when your team is down three? He didn't do that.)

    Number eight for Jimenez. His team is 31-17. Yesterday they scored 17 runs against Lansing. Two weeks ago it was 15 runs against the same team. This is a nice team, South Bend. The Cubs must have had a good draft last year.

    Tonight the pitchers were Sands, Brooks and Effross.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 22 min ago view
  • RIP Zoobrest.

    crunch 3 hours 56 min ago view
  • He'll be fine. He's not some wimpy young pup.

    Old and Blue 4 hours 26 min ago view
  • In all seriousness the Cubs have the fewest amount of games played in the NL which means they're gonna be facing quite the grind later on including 24 games in a row at the end of June and beginning of July so I hope he does get a few days off.

    johann 6 hours 22 min ago view
  • Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?

    Old and Blue 6 hours 58 min ago view
  • 34-14...awww yeah.

    crunch 7 hours 54 min ago view
  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 9 hours 15 min ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 9 hours 49 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 45 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 48 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 58 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 18 hours 26 min ago view