Wood and Marquis Kick In One Door While Another Opens For Pignatiello

Wow. What a great game today and it was a blast listening to it and chatting with the couple fans that found their way into the Prose and Ivy Chat room. Looking forward to doing that with more of you in the near future!

All of us agreed that it was about Marquis and Wood today and they both came through. Marquis was great with his bat going 2 for 2 with an RBI and after a rough first inning, locked it in and came away with the win. Marquis_on_the_moundresized In 4 1/3 innings, he allowed four hits and three runs while striking out five. The three runs came off of one errant pitch, a 3 run shot given up to AdrianGonzalez. I think Marquis must have understood what wsa at stake today as he buckled in and retired the next 11 batters! I don’t envy Lou today having to pick between Lieber, Marquis and Dempster to round out the rotation. A quick side note though, how awful must it look/feel to be the guy guaranteeing a championship this year…and then not even make the rotation? Oh boy. No worries though, I believe it will be Dempster and Marquis rounding out the starting five. If this were T-Mobile, Zambrano, Lilly, Hill, Dempster and Marquis would be in Lou’s five.

Wood kicked in his door of opportunity today too by recording yet another scoreless inning, striking out two! With today’s outing, I have to expect Wood will be named the closer…for now. Good job Wood…two days in a row, scoreless dominating innings. Nice.

A door may have opened today for Pignatiello (YES) seeing that Eyre seems to be experiencing some tightness in his left elbow. Pignatiello along with Marquis, Dempster and Marmol is a guy I’ve been pulling for this Spring. Without this time Eyre may miss, Pignatiello has no shot. Now it looks like he may get the shot he most definitely deserves after the way he’s pitched this Spring.

Feel better Derosa (flu) let’s get you back out there asap. The guys looked great today on the basepaths: 3 stolen bases today (Theriot, Soriano, Patterson)…speed is so huge with this team and its great to see one of the guys we’re really counting on there apparently has his legs coming back strong! As for power: COME ON LEE…WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!? And everyone, 8 guys left on base? Way too many. Fun game to listen to but definitely a lot of polishing left to do before March 31st!

Piniella_bobblehead_resized Tomorrow should be an amazing day with all the decisions that are supposed to be being made. Busy Easter evening for Lou and the boys…looking forward to hearing what you have to say tomorrow!

Go Cubs Go!

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How Concerned About Lee Should We Be?

As its a slow Easter Sunday for me today, I decided to crunch some numbers. I’ve been pretty hard on Lee this Spring and I was curious to see if I was justified in being as worried about him as I am going into the regular season. Lee finished in the top 20 as far as MLB batting averages were concerned at the end of the 2007 season. He finished the season batting .317, tied for 20th. As of today, he is batting .184 for the Spring. I know we all say its just Spring, it doesn’t matter…no one cares about spring training numbers and it hardly reflects the big names of Summer. Those that normally do well, will do well…don’t sweat their Spring numbers, etc.

I decided to take the top 20 MLB averages from last season and see how they are doing this Spring to see if Lee was one of a few who is doing poorly, or are they all struggling to pull it together. Here is the complete list of the 2007 top 20 batting averages in MLB:

Top_20_2007_batting_avg

And here are the same 20 players with their final average from last season compared to what they are hitting so far this Spring (with regular season games RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!):

Player 2007 Spring ’08 +/-M Ordonez .363 .306 -.057
I. Suzuki .351 .180 -.171
P. Polanco .341 .449 +.108
M. Holliday .340 .326 -.014
J. Posada .338 .241 -.197
C. Jones .337 .406 +.069
D. Ortiz .332 .267 -.065
H. Ramirez .332 .415 +.083
E. Renteria .332 .220 -.112
C. Utley .332 .233 -.099
C. Figgins .330 .341 +.011
A. Pujols .327 .400 +.073
D. Wright .325 .306 -.019
V. Guerrero .324 .293 -.031
M. Lowell .324 .237 -.087
D. Jeter .322 .222 -.100
M. Cabrera.320 .271 -.049
T. Helton .320 .415 +.095
D. Young .320 .300 -.020
D. Lee .317 .184 -.133

AVG: .331 .301 -.061

So as you can see some people have a great average in comparison, but most are way behind where they finished last year. On average in fact, players are .061 lower than what they finished with last year. And I know their numbers last year is a cumulation of an entire season of ups and downs over the course of a 6 month period and Spring numbers are not and compiled before they really get into the swing of things. However, they are AVERAGES so it should give us a good idea still as to where they are at going into the regular season and no matter the fact that the numbers will improve come the end of ’08, this is where they are at on average right now approaching games in a week in a half that DO count.

So, a few things you can say about these results: 1) All most all of the top hitters in the game are struggling this Spring making Lee no different and nothing to worry about. 2) Lee is hitting .133 lower this Spring than where he finished last year, twice as low as the average difference among the other members of the top 20 group from last year making it a big deal and definitely something to be concerned about. 3) Pujols is having a great camp hitting .073 better than he finished last year putting his BA for the Spring at .400. Yikes, possibly something that could be problem for us if it continues into the regular season.

In the end, I don’t really know what to make of all this and really, I think I may have tried to do it to comfort myself and ended up even more concerned about Lee than I was before I did this. Good thing there’s plenty of jelly beans today…see you in the chat room during the game in a bit! Go Cubs Go!

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Happy Easter for Marquis and Wood?

Happy Easter everyone!  Today’s game against the Padres should be an interesting one!  Marquis will get the start and with the way Dempster and Lieber have been pitching lately, he best get the egg hunt out of the way early and get focused asap.  Lou’s looking to make the remaining club roster/pitching decisions by tomorrow (finally) and Marquis has a huge opportunity today to make a statement and keep himself out of the bullpen/another city.  I personally would like to see Lieber in the bullpen if that’s an option and round out the rotation with Marquis and Dempster…too bad one of the three isn’t a lefty…I’d gladly switch out for Hill.

Wood is going to get his chance to shine today as well.  While I do believe Wood is going to break down in April no matter what and Marmol will end up being the guy we go to with Howry in the set up role…until then…I’ll be rooting for Wood to do well today.  If he can prove me and any other doubter wrong, gain some momentum going into the season and continue to deliver scoreless innings including two or more strikeouts within those innings I will be first in line to apologize, say I’m wrong and thank him for getting it done when it counted.   Lou believes in Wood and I believe in Lou (no matter how much I think he’s missing something when it comes to some recent decisions in leaving people off the roster come Opening Day ie: Pignatiello).  And I surely haven’t won any World Series…so Lou wants to go with Wood?  Let’s do it.  But I can’t promise I won’t eventually write a posting with the title "I Told You So".

I hope we’re able to go with the same lineup as yesterday yet feature Theriot in the leadoff spot.  I enjoy Spring games but much more so as we get closer to Opening Day and the lineups are more true to form.

The Oriole was back again this morning (see my posting titled ‘Over and Over and Over and Over and Over’).  I know ‘Oriole’ shouldn’t be capitalized in this case really, but its more fun that way as we’ve officially begun calling the bird ‘Brian Roberts’ here.  I must say, the more this trade lingers, the less I care about it.  Spring is for tinkering not the regular season.  The longer they wait to make the trade, the more regular season time it will take for Lou to get comfortable with his lineup 2-8.  He’s already played with so many in the Spring and he wants to stick to one come the regular season as much as possible.  I realize that Roberts would leadoff, no question leaving very little to move around for Lou if it happens.  I just have a bad feeling about it taking so long to actually go through and how it may affect the beginning of the season.

I’ll be around here and there throughout the day today to chat during the game.  Feel free to use the chat room anytime you’d like and hopefully I’ll catch a couple of you on there later this afternoon!  ‘Til then…do your thing Marquis and Wood and Go Cubs Go!Blogfooter2rectangle_34