Uh-Oh, and Open Thread: Cubs vs. Padres, Tuesday 4/17, 1:20 CT

I suppose you're all waiting for my comments on the injury to Alfonso Soriano, rather than a recap of the Cubs' impressive 12-4 win over the Padres, so here goes:

When Soriano made the attempt at the catch (which at first, we thought was a great catch, but which even Jeff said HE could see it had been trapped), you could instantly tell something was wrong, because he just sat there on the field, rather than even try to get up. And the instant he started to get up, you could tell he knew something was wrong.

It's a tweaked hamstring. Hamstring injuries, as you likely know, can have varying degrees of severity. Players have missed entire seasons with hamstring problems. Or, like Aramis Ramirez, they can play through them, at slower speed. We simply won't know this till later today -- the recap above quotes Soriano himself as saying:

"Yes, I don't like to get hurt," Soriano said, when asked if he's worried. "I know that I'm not going to be able to play tomorrow, so it's sad for me because ... I like to play every day. We'll see how I look tomorrow."
So today, we'll likely see Jacque Jones in center field (when Soriano went out, and Cliff Floyd came into LF, I said to Mike: "We now have a DH in left field, a right fielder in CF, and a left fielder in RF." Which is not as bad as this 1980 game which featured a left fielder in RF, and two first basemen at the other OF positions.), and if Soriano is out more than the five or so days that are indicated later on in the above recap, he may be placed on the DL and all of you who have been clamoring for Felix Pie to be called up, will get your wish.

At least this year, when a key player in the lineup gets hurt, there's a suitable replacement. Keep in mind that the lineup replacements for Derrek Lee last year included Neifi, Jerry Hairston and Tony Womack.

Even odder is that the rest of the lineup, which had been pretty quiet over the last couple of days, exploded in hit after hit after Soriano left the game. The Cubs took a fairly tight 3-1 game and blew it open with a four-run fifth and five-run sixth; everyone who started the game had at least a hit and an RBI, and everyone except Jones scored a run. Incidentally, Jones was well-received by the smallish bleacher crowd in LF. I told Jeff, "He's going to want to play out here every day now." Before last night, Jones hadn't played a game in left field since 2003. Meanwhile, Matt Murton did a credible job in right field, handling a couple of chances easily and actually hitting the cutoff man with a good throw. I'd expect to see more of this alignment in the future.

Speaking of the crowd, it was the "smallest" of the year, 32,126, held down by the lack of a marquee opponent, the day of the week, and the coolish weather -- and maybe 20,000 were in the ballpark, with the bleachers less than half full, and only four of us on our LF perch (and nine others in the front row the only other ones in our section). The temperature wasn't uncomfortable, since by the middle innings the wind had died down, and the temperature remained in the low 50's, not bad for mid-April. Michael Barrett, Cliff Floyd and Mark DeRosa (leading the team with three) all homered for the Cubs, although the scoreboard, which was wacky all night, kept posting that Jason Marquis (who had two hits) had two HR and four RBI. That wasn't even as bad as the stat page on the scorecard, which said that the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez had 21 hits in 6 at-bats, with four HR and one RBI. A bit of proofreading wouldn't hurt.

I was hoping that Lou would leave Angel Guzman, who threw two solid innings and at least twice hit 98 MPH on the scoreboard radar gun, in for a third inning so he'd qualify for a save (after he batted for himself in the 8th), but Will Ohman threw the 9th -- and badly, serving up a three-run homer, and I wonder if it might be time for a visit back to Iowa for him.

The home run by Marcus Giles off Ohman, incidentally, landed only about 20 feet from us in left field. Too bad -- I was ready with my throwback ball.

All we can do now is wait and see. Saying he was "bound" to be injured because he was playing a new position is just silly. He could easily have been hurt playing left field, or second base, or DH if the NL had one. It happened. Maybe it'll be only a few days. And if not... at least there's an exciting possibility awaiting us as a replacement.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Wade Miller
W. Miller
Cubs
vs. Greg Maddux
G. Maddux
Padres
0-1 W-L 1-1
13.50 ERA 3.18
0 SO 10
2 BB 1
2 HR 1
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs
The last time Greg Maddux pitched in Wrigley Field in a visitor's uniform was on a day when the stakes were a bit higher than they will be today -- game three of the 2003 NLDS. Some guy who's on the Iowa disabled list beat him that day.

Today's game is on WGN, so available nationally, and also at the MLB.com Mediacenter. According to this, you can get a five-day free trial of MLB.TV, if you are so inclined.

In twenty lifetime regular-season starts vs. the Cubs, Maddux is 11-3 with a 2.38 ERA -- but, of course, has not faced them since that 2003 playoff game, and not in the regular season since July 22, 2003. He's beatable if he doesn't have his location, as we all found out last year.

Wade Miller has made four career starts vs. the Padres, with a 1-2 record and 5.79 ERA. Again, this isn't too instructive a stat, as the last time he faced them was September 7, 2003; only Khalil Greene and Brian Giles, among players who were in that game, will likely play today. This is also a key game for Miller, who has not pitched in nine days and might wind up being let go if he doesn't throw better than he did in his only start so far this season.

MLB.com Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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