Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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Joe Distelheim previewed the Cubs today over at the Hardball Times in a five questions column. He starts with a discussion on the manager change and gets around to a discussion on Alfonso Soriano and then closes with whether the Cubs will be any good this year (sure they will).
This is a huge surprise but Mark Prior is going to start the season at Iowa to build up his arm strength. There’s reason to be optimistic because Lou Piniella said that Prior has made some progress and the hope is that he continues to improve in the minors.
This is a drag but not at all surprising. Now it’s Kerry Wood’s shoulder that’s bothering him and the end result will be a stint on the disabled list. He’ll miss opening day and there’s no time table for his return. I wasn’t banking on Wood doing much for us this year but it sure would have been a boon had he and Prior did some damage and made an impact in 2007. I guess there’s still time but the chances are looking pretty slim.
John Perrote at Baseball Prospectus previewed the Cubs today. He talks about their drought and the poor 2006 season and then gets into all of the free agent signings. He then gets into how Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis should throw in 2007 and the state of the bullpen. He does offer some hope with the NL Central being a weak division but I think the Cubs are still a player or two away. Guess that’s why they play the games.
Should we really be that surprised that the odds are good that neither Mark Prior nor Kerry Wood will start the season on the big league team. It looks like it’s the DL for both of them but there’s still a chance if they get enough AND can show they’re ready, that one or both of them could be out there. No likely, but you never know.
While I’d never advocate gambling, sometimes it just makes watching the game that much better. An hey, the Cubs haven’t won it in a while so if it keeps you interested, then I’m all for it. Just make sure you use Bodog Sportsbook since they’re the best.
The Rocky Mountain News recently interviewed Ron Santo in what’s a great read. He touches on everything from all of the moves the Cubs made in the offseason to more personal stuff like his diabetes. He also talks about his prospects for getting into the Hall of Fame. Good stuff from Mr. Santo.
Tim Brown recently penned a column about future Hall of Famer, err, Triple A bound Mark Prior. You have to feel for Prior. He was on top of the world and then the injuries began to hit. Anyway, it’s a solid read and everyone has to keep in mind that Prior is still just 26, when a lot of major league careers kick off so there’s still time for him to turn it around. He’s still throwing in the 80s and while he got it by some minor leaguers, he hasn’t been able to do as well against the big league players.
The Cubs beat the Mariners today 9-3 and improved to 8-6 on the spring season. Ted Lilly picked up the win although he didn’t even last four innings. He only gave up one earned run on four hits and a walk with a strikeout.
Cliff Floyd and Aramis Ramirez both homered and Alfonso Soriano had a nice game. He went three for three with a triple and two runs. Jacque Jones had two hits and two runs.
Angel Guzman gets the start tomorrow for the Cubs. It’s against the Cubs cross town rivals, the White Sox.
Cubs centerfield prospect Felix Pie ended up in second place amongst centerfield prospects based on PECOTA. And he comes in second place to who many think will walk away with the rookie of the year, Chris Young. For 2007, PECOTA has him at a weighted mean average of .288/.342/.480 with some above average defense in centerfield. It’d be a shame if he ended up back in Triple A.
The Peerless Leader, Frank Chance, was the Cubs first baseman/manager through out the Cubs great run from 1906 through 1908. One of the toughest players in the league, Chance led the team in OPS in 1907 (.756) and he was sixth in the league. While he wasn’t amongst the team leaders in runs or RBIs it was more because he only played in 111 games. Chance had a propensity for getting hit by pitches and that kept him out of a fair share of games.
I’m going to defer to an expert on this one because there is biography of Chance that’s a great read at SABR’s Bioproject. It looked like when it came to playing nasty, not even Ty Cobb could roll with Frank Chance.
Here are Frank Chanc’s numbers in 1907:
Stolen Bases 35
Caught Stealing ??
Man, this was ugly. The White Sox took it to the Cubs and it was on WGN no less. Rich Hill was actually one of the better hurlers, and he still gave up a run in his two innings of work. Juan Mateo took a particularly hard beating. He gave up four runs in one inning.
Alfonso Soriano was the hitting star. He went three for three with two doubles and an RBI. Derek Lee went yard for the Cubs with a solo shot in the fourth and that was the extent of the offense.
It’s a day game against the Mariners tomorrow. And if you’re just itching for more baseball tomorrow, the Yankees and Tigers play at 1 pm EST on ESPN.
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