Gameday Open Thread

Game Thread: Rockies (19-19) @ Cubs (17-22)

The Cubs go for a third consecutive win and try to close out the homestand at 4-4 before they get the crap beaten out of them in Philadelphia as they match-up with the Rockies.

Jhoulys Chacin (yo-LEES cha-SEEN), 2-1, 2.66, goes up against Carlos Silva (CAR-los SIL-va). Silva, 4-0, 3.40, is attempting to become the first Cub pitcher to begin a season 5-0 since Greg Maddux did so back in 2006.

Marlins Make it Rain

The Cubs open a four game set versus the suddenly popular Florida Marlins who are riding a two game win streak and are first in the NL East. They are  just 3-7 over their last 10 though and are fifth in the NL in runs scored (Cubs are 9th) and 10th in runs allowed (Cubs are 8th), so maybe the Cubs bats can start waking up.

Desert Storm

The Cubs open a three game set in Phoenix tonight against a team battling their own set of injuries. For the D'Backs, it's Brandon Webb and Stephen Drew on the disabled list, although Tom Gordon should be activated for the series. So far on the season, the Snakes have scored the second least amount of runs while allowing the fifth most. I guess no better time to play them short-handed.

Soriano Back to Leadoff

Two more days of a lackluster offense and Alfonso Soriano is back in the leadoff spot...Soriano, Riot, Fukudome, Lee, Reed Johnson, Fontenot, Soto, Miles and Harden try to avoid the sweep today.

Way to stick with it, Lou.

"We said we'd try it and we did," Lou Piniella said of Soriano, who
struck out three times on Saturday. "We'll just put him in the leadoff
spot. That's where he feels comfortable, and that's where we'll leave

Red Dawn

Baseball should be back tonight from its two-day unscheduled and scheduled hiatus, as the Cubs start a stretch of 20 straight. Rich Harden gets the nod and says it's the best he's felt in a long time. We'll see how good he's feeling after pitching in 30 degree temperatures and a light drizzle, although that's probably picnic weather in Victoria, B.C. It's also the first night game of the year for the Cubs, where they went 20-8 last season.

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...

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.

Gameday Open Thread/Angels @ Cubs; Bullpen Rumors

The Angels show up in Mesa today sending prospect Nick Adenhart to the mound -  Sean Marshall will go for the Cubs. Here is the lineup according to Muskat:

LF Alfonso Soriano, CF Kosuke Fukudome, 1B Lee, RF Micah Hoffpauir, 3B
Aramis Ramirez, 2B Mike Fontenot, C Geovany Soto, SS Ryan Theriot, P
Sean Marshall.

Other than Hoffpauir in there for Bradley, it's pretty much what we should expect to see on Opening Day.

On the rumor mill, Paul Sullivan says that Chad Fox will head down to Iowa after the Cubs vs. Yankees series which leaves Patton, Gaudin, Guzman and Samardzija for the final two spots in the bullpen. Sullivan says a trade would have to go down by Wednesday and it looks like the Cubs are trying to move Gaudin or Guzman. Also, Lou said, "There will either be a trade, an option.... anything but (putting one of them through) waivers."

Gameday Open Thread/Rockies @ Cubs & 2 Get Cut

Colorado strolls into Mesa today with lefty Franklin Morales to start and Lou trots out what might be the regular lineup versus lefties to start the season.

LF Alfonso Soriano, SS Ryan Theriot, 1B Derrek Lee, RF Milton Bradley,
3B Aramis Ramirez, CF Reed Johnson, C Geovany Soto, 2B Aaron Miles, P
Chad Gaudin.

Also, Sam Fuld and Jake Fox have been sent to minor league camp and there should be more roster cuts later today.

Gameday Open Thread/Cubs @ Dodgers

The Cubs travel to Glendale to play the Dodgers, Carlos Zambrano gets his fourth start of the spring.  Randy Wolf goes for the Dodgers.

The batting order from Muskat:

LF Alfonso Soriano, 2B Miles, CF Reed Johnson,
1B Derrek Lee, RF So Taguchi, 3B Koskie, C Koyie Hill, SS Andres
Blanco, P Carlos Zambrano.


Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.