If the Cubs have any hope to win today’s rubber game against Boston, it’s going to have to come from the bats. James Russell will be the nominal starter once again – a role in which he’s 0-4 with an ERA over 10 (you’re welcome, Red Sox) – and then it’s bullpen fever thereafter. Wakefield hasn’t had much of anything in three years, but all it takes is a decent breeze in the face of a knuckleballer to make him effective. Also, the Cubs often make guys who’ve looked eminently hittable for multiple years instead look like Cy Young.
- As noted in the updates to the Matt Garza Doom post, neither Mike Quade nor Matt Garza are worried long-term about his elbow tightness. Part of me says, “excellent – it sucks to lose him for a start against the Red Sox, but, hey, it could be a lot worse!” Another part of me – we’ll call it the Cubs fan part of me – says, “I’m pretty sure Randy Wells said he wasn’t worried about his forearm, either.” Garza has said that, if it was October, he’d be going, and that he’s actually felt the tightness for a couple starts but has pitched through it. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. He will see the team doctor tomorrow.
- Marlon Byrd stayed in the hospital last night for observation, and the Cubs are hoping to get an update on him today. It’s still unknown whether he suffered any facial fractures, and what his prognosis is. It could really be anything from missing a couple days due to pain and swelling, or missing a couple months with a broken face.
- You probably already knew that the Cubs had the worst rotation by ERA in MLB at 5.54 through Friday. What you probably didn’t know – I didn’t until I read it this morning – is that the Cubs have the worst rotation by a LONG stretch. Their rotation ERA is 0.76 worse than the second-to-last Astros. That pretty much knocked me on my ass. It’s a far cry from preseason debates about whether the Cubs might have one of the top three rotations in the NL. Obviously the injuries have played a huge part, but Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano have pitched like 4 and 5s, rather than 1s and 2s.
- I continue to really, really like Carlos Pena as a cool dude/teammate. Discussing teammates asking him about what it’s like at Fenway Park, Pena said this: “I said, ‘I’m not saying a word. I want you to take it in when you get there.’ For me, when I got to Wrigley, I was flipping out when I saw it — it was a special moment. So why would I ruin it for them if it’s the same type of feeling?” He’s just a great guy.