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


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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