The Cubbies bats finally came alive today on Easter Sunday in a 7-3 Cubs victory today. Six of the runs came in the first inning, as former Cub Greg "Mad Dog Maddux was given a whuppin’ by the Cubs. The first five Cubs managed to reach base. Eric Patteson led off the game by reaching on an error by Khalil Greene. Patterson stole second off of Maddux/Michael Barrett. Soriano singled, moving Patterson to third, and Soriano stole second. With runners at first and second, Lee walked. A-Ram came through with a nice 2 RBI single. Fukudome then walked, Maddux’s second of the inning, and the bases were loaded with no outs. Then, Michah Hoffpauir pops out and Geovany strikes out. Just when it looked like the Cubs would blow this golden opportunity, Ryan Theriot hit a huge bases clearing double, giving the Cubs a 5-0 lead. Clutch. Marquis hit an RBI single to add another run. Speaking of Marquis, he had a shakey first inning, He gave up two singles and a home run to the first three batters he faced, cutting the Cubs lead in half, but then Marquis was able to settle down and not give up anymore runs. In the end, Marquis went 4 1/3 innings,allowed four hits and three runs while striking out five. He retired the final 11 batters he faced. If you listen to Lou, sounds like Marquis will be in the rotation.
Pinella is expected to make an announcement on what the rotation will be tomorrow.
"When you’re in this business here," Piniella said Sunday, "you turn pages real quick and you let people compete. It’s been really good competition for the starters. I enjoyed seeing Lieber and Dempster and Marquis all compete for jobs. The amazing part about it is nobody deserves to be in the bullpen, but that’s going to be the case."
Rich Hill starts tomorrow against the Giants at 3:05. Is this his last chance to save face after a horrible spring, or will Marquis be traded? Who knows?
Probably the best part of Sunday’s game were the quality arms coming out of the bullpen. Crawly’s Cub Kingdom favorite Carmen Pignatiello took over for Marquis in the fifth, going 1.2 innings and giving up one hit and no runs while striking out two batters. Kerry Wood followed in the seventh, also giving up one hit and striking out two. Tim Lahey followed in the eighth, only going 2/3rds of an inning and giving up a hit and the only walk of the day. He did strike out two batters. Les Walrond got the final out. Bob Howry ended the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Speaking of the Bullpen
Looks like Scott Eyre could possibly start the season on the DL. You never wish injury on any players, especially Cubs players, but this could end up helping the club. This now opens up a spot for Carmen "Piggy" Pignatiello or Sean Marshall. Both have far outperformed Eyre, especially Piggy, who still hasn’t given up a run this spring.
Some New Signings??
As we get to this time of year, players begin getting cut and other teams see if there is anyone on the scrap heap who could help them out. Switch-hitting center fielder Jeff DaVanon was released by the Padres, and right-handed hitting outfielder Reed Johnson was released by Toronto. Lou has mentioned that he wants to have a right handed hitting center fielder to platoon with Pie. Neither of these guys will complain about playing time or interfere with Pie’s progress like a Coco Crisp or Marlon Byrd would. These guys would just be happy to have a job. Pinella met today with Hendry, and afterwards saidhe feels the
“odds increased a little bit today that something could happen [with the roster].”
Maybe it’s something minor, like signing DeVanon or Johnson, or maybe one of the big trades will happen. Brian Roberts and his agent met on Sunday with Andy MacPhail. Maybe the Coco Crisp deal goes through. But there are too many questions that need to be answered, and Opening Day is only a day away!! Tim Lahey is a rule 5 guy. If he is not making the roster, then he will have to go on waivers and lose him. They would keep him on the roster or trade him to avoid getting nothing for him. Lou cannot possibly tell Dempster or Lieber that they are going to the bullpen. And how could you send Marquis to the bullpen after his pring and the money he’s owed. One of them has to go. Will Jim Hendry be on the phone all night????!?!! Keep it tuned here for all the latest updates.
Cubs vs Giants at 3:05. Go ahead and grab your laptop during the game and chat as it is going on. I’ll probably start chatting around 3:30ish.