As you know by now, the Chicago Cubs are helping open up the new Yankee Stadium – $1.5 billion worth of ill-timed lavishness – with a couple exhibition games. Yesterday the Cubs lost to the Yanks, and the item of note was Ted Lilly’s poor outting. He’s only had three true Spring starts with the Cubs (due to the WBC), and they haven’t looked good. He’s been a slow starter for the Cubs, so let’s hope he’s getting it out of his system.
Today’s game, the last of the Spring (woo!), is critically important for two reasons. First, Rich Harden gets the start and has to show he’s ready for a full, regular start five days from now. He has certainly not looked ready thus far. Fortunately, with off-days, he could take another full week off and it wouldn’t really throw the rotation off-kilter. Still, it would be nice to know Harden is ready to go.
Second, the bullpen is going to be decided after today. Rule V pick David Patton is going to get his last chance to show the Cubs simply can’t give him back to the Rockies. He had his first rough outting of the Spring last time out, and now his back is up against the wall in front of 50,000 fans in the grand opening of new Yankee Stadium. If this kid pitches even mediocre in light of those circumstances, he’s on the team. Period.