James Russell Earned a Second Start and Other Sarcastic Bullets – April 17, 2011

Today the Cubs have a chance – a chance – to take a series from the team with the best record in baseball. By the transitive property, such a victory would mean the Cubs are now the best team in baseball. Definitively.

  • James Russell will get the fifth starter spot start on Tuesday against the San Diego Padres. Which, you know, totally makes sense, since he couldn’t make it out of the second inning agains the worst lineup in baseball last week. Oh, and he just pitched in relief yesterday. Oh, and the Cubs have a bunch of youngsters who are stretched out who couldn’t be any worse. But, whateves. Totally the right decision.
  • On the other side of the bump, the Cubs will face Alan Johnson, who is making his Major League Debut. Fortunately, the Cubs are totally never dominated by random guys filling in for other guys.
  • Marlon Byrd is totally tearing it up in the three-hole. Sure, it’s great that he’s batting .300, but he has four (4!!) RBI in 14 games batting in the three-hole with guys getting on base in front of him at an impressive clip. Why is it so easy for ALL of us to see he’s not a run-producer, but so hard for the decision-makers to see?
  • Ok, one non-sarcastic bullet: Kosuke Fukudome returned to the lineup after missing nearly a week with a strained hamstring, Carlos Pena’s thumb is feeling pretty good, and Casey Coleman is fine after taking a liner off his leg last night.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

46 responses to “James Russell Earned a Second Start and Other Sarcastic Bullets – April 17, 2011”

  1. jonathan

    i hate to say this but the cubs need to start samardzija. if he sucks, option him to AAA. if he doesnt clear waviers, hes someone elses problem. if he dominates, his trade value skyrockets. its a win-win

  2. roughriider

    I’d like to see them bring in Rafael Dolis to pitch the game. He would be pitching on 4 days rest and has pitched well in his 2 starts and on the 40 man roster.

  3. Michigan Goat

    Does anyone think that as great as Castro/Barney have been 1/2 we are wasting Castro’s production as a leadoff hitter. I would really like to see him in the three hole, or at least flipping with Barney. Of course if he is out of the leadoff spot then who would set the table for him? What does anyone think of the following:


    I think its time to accept that Pena is not a hitter but a great mentor

    1. Michigan Goat

      i could also see flipping Byrd with Fuk/Colvin

    2. awesome

      for 2011 castro stays lead off with Barney 2nd. Ramirez should hit 3rd. Barney is your perfect 2nd hitter.

      I’d play Colvin and find out once and for all if he’s an everyday player, I’d platoon Baker with Pena.

      2012 if Ricky goes back to his “play the kids”, hopefully B. Jackson can lead off with Barney 2nd, castro 3rd.

      it’s true, why do we see things the manager can’t see.

      Castro hands down was the better SS last year after ST, he should have started over Theriot from day 1, I’ve always said Fuld could play, but they wanted old, slow, has been power hitters. i said late last year Barney should play, but Louie, oops, Quade, both played the veterans.

      soriano as hard as they say he works, and i don’t believe it, is still a very, very bad lazy fielder.

      Quade is just happy to be a major league manager.

      Hendry is lucky Ricky knows nothing about ML BB.

  4. jonathan

    dont laugh but why not byrd swapping places with castro? he has a career OBP of over .340…hes probably the best 2nd option on the team

    1. Tom Allen

      Maybe you idea is not so ridiculous after seeing him get on the in the 5th today. Why he can’t do that with 2 on and 0 out in the 1st and 3rd inning is still a mystery though.

    2. pfk

      You can’t be serious.

  5. Wickit

    The future is coming gentlemen and their names are Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. Look at the smokies lineup they are raking,

    1. pfk

      Keep an eye on Matt Szczur folks, he’s off to an awesome start in Boise. I bet he’s in Peoria in a month and in Tennessee by the end of the season. Great athlete who is really exciting to watch. Some good kids coming along. Could be really exciting next year.

      1. awesome

        Matt could be another Castro, i hope.

  6. Eric

    Byrd has to be one of the worst 3-hole hitters in the league when it comes to power numbers…

  7. pfk

    I’m watching the game today and sure enough, here comes Byrd with nobody out and runners on first and third and he hits into a double play. What a joke! This may sound strange but I’d gamble putting Colvin hitting third, where he’ll se better pitches and is batting left handed so it left, right, left in the 3, 4 and 5 holes. If Colvin can’t cut it, well, in my opinion thats what this year is all about – to find out what the kids can do. Castro in the leadoff is perfect. He gets on, he can run and when he comes up later in the game he’s good at RBIs. Barney is perfect in the 2 hole as he is good at taking pitches and he can hit behind the runner effectively. So, lets find out what Colvin can do rather than hide him in the lineup. And, for god’s sake, get Byrd out of the 3 hole!

    1. Tom Allen

      Well at least in the 3rd inning with 2 on and 0 outs, he decided to just strike out instead of hitting into a double play.

  8. pfk

    OK, THAT’S IT! Byrd has to be moved out of the 3 hole. Twice today he has come up with 2 on, nobody out and hit into a double play once and struck out once.

    1. Tom Allen

      And Len Kasper is trying to defend him…

      1. Bric

        Seriously, is it just me or are the Rockies pitching staff the slowest in either league? Last night’s game and this one are putting me to sleep.

        1. Tom Allen

          Isn’t that just baseball? :-)

          1. Bric

            I changed my mind, I think it’s just the stadium. It’s so quiet (especially for a first place team) it sounds like spring training game.

  9. pfk

    If Soriano can have a good year he could be a good trade bait (although I think he has a no-trade clause) having to swallow some salary. Maybe to the American League as a DH. Make room for some of these exciting kids. The enthusiasm that Castro and Barney bring to the game puts Soriano and Ramirez to shame. I love watching them and we need more of that.

    1. Tom Allen

      Maybe it is just me, but I feel like every time a ball gets hit to left field, Soriano nonchalantly trots to it. It would not disappoint me the slightest bit if I did not see his name on the lineup card.

    2. Hogie

      I sure didnt think Vernon Wells would get traded, so with a good year, who knows.

  10. Eric

    i’ll give dempster some credit, atleast he is consistent when it comes to giving the lead away the next half inning.

    1. Tom Allen

      hahaha… that is something that he will want to put on his resume.

  11. pfk

    While we are agonizing over Byrd, lets not forget how awful Pena is. Of the 3, 4 and 5 hitters, only Ramirez is any good. Byrd and Pena are both brutal. Scott Bora deserves a bonus for getting Pena a $10M deal. Amazing. The guy simply cannot hit a baseball. The middle of the Cubs order is killing them.

    1. Tom Allen

      Just be thankful its a 1 year deal. He’s just keeping the area warm for Pujols or Fielder.

      1. curt

        any one besides me think pena would have gotten 3 yrs 30 million r more if pujols wasnt a free agent at the end of the year

        1. pfk

          I think they were probably looking more at Prince Fielder as a reality as they will not (and should not) pay Pujol’s price. Plus, it is highly unlikely that the Cards will let him get away.

          1. Hogie

            Everyone is talking like Fielder is gonna go for peanuts. With a decent year this season, Prince is gonna want at least 25 mil/yr for at least 7,8 years.

            1. pfk

              Sources say he is looking for $180M. It will be interesting to see how this next free agent season plays out as there are very few super stars coming on the market except for Fielder and Pujols. And, if Pujols has a so so year (he’s hitting .239 now) it could change everything. We may see the end of the multi year super sized deal for veterans.

  12. Bric

    Okay- the issue with Byrd missing the sign, leaving Dempster in past the sixth inning in any game, starting Russell on Tuesday, not moving Byrd in the lineup, leaving Mateo in, the mishandling of Garza, Hill making the team, etc. Raise your hand if you thought this is what we were getting in Quade. Really three of you think so? What, too soon?

    1. Michigan Goat

      I’m with you there… I wonder how much influence Hendry has, could it be he doesn’t want to anger the guy who gave him his job or Hendry trying to get Byrd numbers so he would look tradeable? I really hope these are not Quade’s decisions or it’s worth questioning his ability if this doesn’t change by mid-may I think we have our answer

      1. Bric

        That’s what I’m thinking, too. I don’t have a problem with Quade, it just seems that he’s already done alot of explaining after only 15 games for a team that’s not expected to be over .500 this year anyway. Let’s hope he doesn’t end up a Jim Hendry Jr.

        1. Michigan Goat

          Spot on… I can’t believe Q would make these decisions in the minors, let’s hope this is Hendrys last year and Q starts to make the right decisions once these bad contracts are off the books. Just imagine how Q would do with Barney, Castro, Vitters, Jackson, and Colvin next year or the end of this year…. It’s fun to dream