Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An Ohman. or a Blessing?

My daughter Ava and I were playing with chalk about six last night. The usual: Flowers, sunsets, the Chicago skyline, our names, and of course the Cubs logo. Below that, I was chalking up the lineup with Soriano at the the top. He was the only one I wrote, Ava crossing him it, being time for pre dinner: Chips and Salsa. Soriano leaves with a strained hamstring, and Will Ohman just can't pitch in the majors. Goodbye Will, have fun with Prior in triple A.
Felix Pie is up and will play centerfield this afternoon. MLB team rosters are max at 25, so I would say Will is a goner. The bullpen, seemingly a strength, has been weak, and the starting pitching has been a surprise so far, with Rich Hill pitching great, Ted Lilly mowing people over, and Marquis hanging in there. Zambrano has been decent, but he's our ace and I'm not worried about him. The fifth starter is a weak spot, and Wade Miller has a chance to make another start after this if he beats Hall of Famer Greg Maddux.
Felix Pie is tearing it up in the minors. .444 batting average, nine walks to four strikeouts. Good on base percentage, and his defense seems to be his strongest point to begin with. He's here, and I'm excited about it. Does this mean "Jock" Jones is being shopped? Perhaps not yet, we'll have to see what Pie can do over a stretch of time. This could be an eventual outfield of Soriano in left, Pie in center, and Murton in right. Maybe.
So the line-up could look like this today:

1. Ryan "The Riot" Theriot 3B
2. Michael Barrett C
3. D. Lee 1B
4. "Jock" Jones RF
5. Matt Murton LF
6. Mark DeRosa 2B
7. Felix Pie CF
8. Cesar Izturis SS
9. Wade Miller P

This lineup is nothing more than a guess at 10 in the morning. I don't believe it is set yet, or any announcement of Pie. Jones could hit two, three or four, depending on where Lou wants to bat Lee, but I can't imagine taking him away from that spot. Jones can hit five and six as well. Barrett can hit just about anywhere. I don't think Pie will lead off against Maddux, but if that's going to be his spot on this team or any other, I think Sweet Uncle Lou will throw him into the fire. You only lead off the game once, and what a better start than to face Maddog. Talk about the knees shivering.
I guess we'll find out everything soon, and I hope the Cubs come out and perform well. The fans should be electric today.

Good Luck Cubbies!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Cubs versus Reds: Game 2

Ted Lily makes his Cubs Debut as he faces Bronson Arroyo, who smoked the Cubs on the mound and at the plate last year. It's going to be cold in Cincinnati, and may have some flurries, which leaves me to wonder how much baseball will be played today. I hope they get it in, because I will be out watching it somewhere.

The lineup remains the same as far as I know, and I hope I see the swagger today. Patience at the plate is going to be key as always. Arroyo boasts some nice off speed pitches that will test the Cubs today. If they can hold off, they might be able to draw some walks, which can lead to some easy runs early. The Cubs left 13 men on base during the first game, and I'd like to see that number come down below ten. Also, Arroyo, who Was named after the great actor Charles Bronson, gave up 31 homers last year. A good chance for our power hitters to wait around for that fastball or hanging curve to send it out of The Great American Ballpark, a tough place to hit.

On the radar for me, which includes every game, is "Jock Jones". He is a veteran, but sometimes he looks like he forgets where he is. I'd like to see him improve his average this year, and spread the ball to more than just the right side. He's a lot like Jeremy Burnitz in that aspect.
Always on the radar is the outfield defense. Concentrate on the ball off the bat and get to that spot as quick as possible. Know where your cut off men are, and don't try to be a hero. Keep those fundamentals in check.

That middle infield is going to be key getting out of some innings. The tandem of Izturis and Derosa is still in question for many fans, but I like what both can bring, as opposed to Cedeno and Theriot.

That being said, the bats need to come early and often tonight.

Good Luck Cubs!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Cubs versus Reds: Game one thoughts

Win or lose, it's always good to get that opening game out of the way. The last two openings days, the Cubs scored at will and won both of those games. This season was much different. Carlos Zambrano gave up 5 walks and 5 earned runs. Matt Murton already apologizing for his poor performance, striking out three times. In the sixth or seventh as I was watching, the combo of Lee, Ramirez, and Jones went down 1,2,3 on five pitches. Aaron Harang smoked all the Cubs, and patience at the plate was non-existent. I will let this game go under the radar, but there was truly no swagger to the Cubs on Monday.

The line-up is something I would already change. I would take a chance right off the bat with Felix Pie. Trade away "Jock" Jones and a pitching prospect for whoever, maybe another fifth starter(not like we have enough already). Stick Felix Pie in right field and make him lead off. Alfonso Soriano just strikes out to much there, and is too much of a free swinger. I say the new order should be:


It may turn out the order is fine the way it is, but I believe this is the way to shake it up. Experience means a lot, but when our we going to give someone with great potential a shot. Pie has at least got to be as good in the field as Jones. Wrigley can be a deathtrap, but I think we should have Pie get used to it as early as possible. If not, trade him and let's get a veteran, defensive outfielder who has the same power as Jones.

Ted Lily faces Bronson Arroyo Wednesday night in Cincinnati. Stay tuned for pre-game thoughts and coverage.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Cubs Versus Reds

Carlos Zambrano faces Aaron Harang, who is no slouch. In 2006 Harang was 16-11, with an e.r.a. of 3.76, with only 56 bases on balls as opposed to 216 strikeouts. That tells me he has at least four pitches, if not five. Going to have to be patient at the plate Soriano, who led the Cubs with 19 strikeouts in the spring. My previous post crashed on me, and to lay down all the stats I had for spring would stink. The game is almost on!

Just a recap though. Lee and Ramirez tore it up. Ryan Theriot was third behind Lee and tied Ramirez with hits.

Two guys that looked very good in the spring who was sent to the little league were Felix Pie and reliever Rocky Cherry, who in 12 innings was 1-1, with an e.r.a. of 1.46, surrendering only 11 hits with 6 bases on ball to 19 strikeouts. Novoa had an Ugly spring, and I would say Rocky could get a chance.

Ronny "Woo Woo" Cedeno got much better this spring in the field with the help of Coach Alan Trammel.

Felix Pie had as many hits as "Jock"Jones, and hit for a better average, and had a better on base percentage. He may even be better in the field. He could get a chance this year.
Good bench in Daryle Ward, Ryan Theriot, Cliff Floyd, Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco. Every team has weaknesses. Ours is defense, and possibly strikeouts. Lou will have to make plenty of substitutions defensivley late and games, so he better drink some coffee during night games.

Here is the line-up today.

1. Alfonso Soriano CF
2. Matt Murton LF
3. Derrek Lee 1B
4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
5. "Jock" Jones RF
6. Michael Barrett C
7. Mark DeRosa 2B
8. Cesar Izturis SS
9. Carlos Zambrano P

Good Luck.