Gameday Open Thread
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Wow. 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,
"Because 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 have."
Some minor site news after the jump...
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.
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."
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.
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.