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.
  • Jeff

    Garza has had tightness for a couple of starts, it seems to me that if you invest that much in a player, you make sure he’s going to stay healthy. So he’s going to take a couple of days off and no MRI. I can see this already, he pitches one or two more times, and then out for the season with elbow problems.

    Does it seem to anyone else that ARam is injured and playing through it? He really doesn’t seem to have very good lateral movement or any kind of speed burst. If he’s not hurt, he’s become extremely lazy.

  • http://BleacherNation Bric

    If Garza has to go on the DL then it’s official the Cubs can’t compete. Even with Wells coming back, it’s just not reasonable to see them keeping up the the Reds, Cards, and Brewers when they have only a decent shot at their pitching keeping them in a game 2 or 3 times out of five.
    So if he goes on the DL I think it’s time to start dumping some of these salaries. Fuk could be moved tomorrow if the Cubs will eat 50% of his salary. Byrd could stay in Boston- I remember hearing a possible trade for Jacoby Ellsbury because Boston is so left handed in the OF. If Hendry could move these two players it would free up space in the OF, clear salaries, and start making the team younger, something that is sorely needed. The new outfield would be Colvin, Ellsbury, Campana, and Jackson when he’s ready. Now, what to do with Soriano…

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    The Red Sox would never trade Ellsbury for Byrd.

    • Ace

      And I’m not sure I’d want Ellsbury as a long-term piece anyway. Very inconsistent. And he’ll turn 28 this year.

      • Raymond Robert Koenig

        As compared to the young starting outfielders the Cubs have now.

        • Raymond Robert Koenig

          Yikes! My eyesight must be getting worse. I missed the other post completely. The DMV says I can see fine, though. Oh well, I am almost twice as old as Ellsbury.

          • Ace

            And then I missed this one.

        • Ace

          That’s my point – if the Cubs are going to build for the future and go young, then really go young. 28 is the back-end of a player’s physical peak years. I know it sounds young (it’s younger than I), but it’s not really that young. Just because the other Cubs’ OFers are much older doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason to go even younger.

          • http://Bleachernation Bric

            That rumor was back in December when Ellsbury was coming back from and injury. He seems fully healed now so the Byrd rumor is probably dead in regard to Ellsbury. But the point is the Red Sox showed interest in him before which means they probably still have some. After the shopping spree they went on, 5 mil more for a right handed bat in the outfield to help them get a ring isn’t out of the question. And their outfield is way left handed. If the rotation conttinues to tank, I could see Byrd going there before August. Let’s just hope it’s also before July, when his return will be considerably less- prospect wise.

  • Steve

    Ellsbury for Byrd? You made me chuckle. Theo wouldn’t do that on his drunkest day. You’re a dreamer; I’ll give you that.

  • Steve

    Hey Jeff…ARam, and “speed burst” should never be used in relation to one another.

  • Steve

    28? Huh. Alf and Fuk are both, what, 5-6 years older than him? Yeah. Who’d want him?

    • Ace

      Yup, that’s exactly the point I was making. You nailed it. Spot on.

  • awesome

    yes, now if Pena could only hit, he’d really be a great guy.

    I’m not so sure Colvin will ever be a regular.

    many beat writers said late last year and over the winter that the Cubs were offering to pay 75% of Fukudome’s contract and no one wanted him.

    Byrd is over rated by some fans.

    has anyone ever hit 11 homers in April playing regular and come back with none in May?

    I’d pay 75% of Soriano’s contract if any team wanted him, if i owned the Cubs, lol. he’s the first guy they should get rid of.

    trade for that kid SS on Tampa, think his name is Lee. i know, i know it won’t happen.

    move Castro to 2B, Barney to SS. something they should have done this spring.

    problem is Quade and Hendry. Quade doesn’t have the balls to sit certain guys, so he’ll keep playing the old/young bad players and not the prospects or better players.

    for the Hendry fans, he’s over rated, has Ricky fooled. wouldn’t let him make any more trades, signings, nothing, zip, zilch, 0,

    that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    everyone is invited to the BBQ.

    • Ace

      That is a serious BBQ of thoughts. I agree with numbers two, three, four, five (well, I also wonder about it), six, and ten.

    • Jeff

      I think Colvin becoming regular depends largely on how the Cubs finish this year, and who is in charge of putting the team together for next year. Hendry flat out said he isn’t making plans beyond this year and is all in, so as long as everything stays as is(Hendry as gm/Quade as manager/Ricketts as an owner who prefers making money to winning), Colvin won’t be playing. If Hendry is relieved of his duty, I think Colvin will get another, more fair shot, sooner rather than later.

  • Cheryl

    If Ricketts wants to make money, he’d make more with a winner than repeating the same old stuff. Attendance is rarely mentioned so it must be down. I doubt Colvin will ever see the major leagues under the Cubs. Most likely he’ll be traded as soon as possible under the present regime. Sorry about Byrd, but Campana may get more playing time, that is if Quade will ever stop using DeWitt in the outfield.

    • Ace

      I’m actually starting to work on a financial analysis of the Cubs’ (and other teams’) performance in the books relative to their performance on the team. I’m hoping that the answer is that it’s more profitable to win than not to win, but we’ll see.