39 players are on 40-MAN ROSTER (roster is full)
Three players are on 60-DAY DL (do not count against 40-man roster)
One player is on 15-day DL
13 players have been optioned to the minors
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* James Russell
* Travis Wood
# Dioner Navarro
* Anthony Rizzo
* Luis Valbuena
* Julio Borbon
* David DeJesus
* Nate Schierholtz
* Ryan Sweeney
15-DAY DL (1):
Matt Garza, P
60-DAY DL (3):
Scott Baker, P
* Steve Clevenger, C-IF
Arodys Vizcaino, P
Alberto Cabrera, P
Rafael Dolis, P
* Brett Jackson, OF
Junior Lake, IF-OF
Trey McNutt, P
* Brooks Raley, P
* Chris Rusin, P
Dave Sappelt, OF
Jorge Soler, OF
Matt Szczur, OF
Christian Villanueva, 3B
Josh Vitters, 3B-1B
* Logan Watkins, INF
The Cubs enter the game with an 8-1 record and 69-38 run differential this season against the Pirates. The lone loss occurred last Saturday at Wrigley Field, when these same two pitchers hooked up, and Zambrano, who has been so stellar in the first couple months of the campaign, went completely mental. Neither pitcher figured in the final decision, a 7-6 Pittsburgh win.
Tonight, Fukudome gets the night off, DeRosa moves to right, and Cedeño, who has hit Duke well (8-for-21), gets a start and gets to hit in front of DeRosa, who can't seem to hit at all on the road this year (11-for-62, .172, 530 OPS).
It appears that the Cubs have the edge in tonight's pitching matchup as Dempster continues his march to free agency. The Astros counter with Chris Sampson, who has fallen on some hard times since we last left him . He's given up five or more earned runs in four of
his last seven starts and his 6.46 ERA is enough to make
Jason Marquis blush.
But it seems the 30-year old saves his best against the Cubs...
On the heels of Saturday's loss to the Bucs and the unexpected appearance by Bad Carlos, the Cubs need a win to take this series from the Pirates and finish the homestand 8-2. Cedeño gets a start at shortstop and The Riot sits.
Z's quest for the Cy Young continues as does the Cubs quest for the best record in baseball, just a game behind the Diamondbacks. They'll have to battle known Cub killer Zach Duke (10 GS, 4-3, 2.56 ERA, 36 K, 16 BB). They seemed to start solving that Rubik's Cube in the last start when they got to Duke for five earned runs in four innings.
If the Cubs can overcome old friend Greg Maddux--perhaps making his last start ever at Wrigley Field--and the negative energy surrounding the addition of our new centerfielder, they'll take three of four from the Padres and improve their record on the homestand to a dandy 6-1, with three against the Pirates yet to go.
This, by the way, would be the first Wrigley Field series the Cubs had captured from San DIego since 1999. I'm sure the Mickey Morandini, Quilvio Veras references will be all over the broadcast.
Every once in awhile, a player that holds a special place in the hearts of Cubs fan comes back to Wrigley. And although they're wearing a different uniform, you can't help but root for them...
Oh wait, that's the beginning of Thursday's thread when Greg Maddux starts for the Padres. Today, it's Shawn Estes which most Cubs fans remember try to forget as the player who did his best to ruin the 2003 season. And just in case anyone thinks it wasn't that bad, here are his 2003 numbers:
The struggling Padres roll into town, their league-worst offense versus the league's best. Yes, the Cubs do have the best offense in the league. Repeat. Enjoy. Savor. A look at the game notes that are chocked full of offensive goodness, shows that the Cubs lead the NL in OBP, 2nd in walks, first in runs scored (in the majors), and first in pitches seen per plate appearance. The Cubs are also tied for third in the NL with 10 come-from-behind victories. It's rather unique in my lifetime to have a good Cubs team and then look at the underlying numbers and realize that this is indeed a good Cubs team, and not a fluke. I'm not saying that the wheels might not come off at some point, I mean, they're one Carlos Zambrano arm injury from that happening, but I'll enjoy it while I can.
The weather is bleak enough in Chicago to force both managers to change their starting pitchers for the game. Instead of the Big Unit vs Big Z, it's going to be Gallagher vs. Gonzalez. That is, if they get this in. The radar map actually looks like it should clear up relatively soon.
The Cubs go for their first series win in a few weeks and have already bucked their recent trend of dropping the first game, winning the second and then losing the rubber game. I look forward to the new trend of sweeping a couple series in a row.
Felix Pie must be on his way to Iowa as he's out of the lineup again versus a righty, losing playing time to a suddenly mortal Reed Johnson.
"Some of the best advice I've gotten is, I was sitting with Ian Stewart, talking about hitting and I was feeling for my swing as you do early in the season," Jackson recalled. "He asked if I was comfortable at the plate and I said I'm not very comfortable right now. He's like, 'You need to be yourself at the plate and be comfortable and be the type of hitter [you] want to be.'"
Interesting tweet in the tweet box: z'Remember when Rizzo was striking out a lot? No K's in last 31 AB's..tied for 2nd longest active streak in majors"
Don't know if that includes last night, but it sure goes a long way to explaining his improved hitting. It's a curious thing, though, the difference between the way his season started and now. How does that happen?
The Cubs will wait to see how Matt Garza (lat) feels and how his bullpen session goes Saturday before they make a decision about activating him.
Garza declared himself ready to rejoin the Cubs' rotation after six scoreless innings during Thursday's rehab start. It's probably just a formality at this point before the team announces that he'll rejoin the rotation next week. Carlos Villanueva is the likeliest candidate to be demoted to the bullpen.