The Cubs will play their next eight games in the afternoon -- today and tomorrow in Cincinnati, and the entire upcoming homestand against the Brewers and Astros. Last year, the Cubs were 44-33 in day games, 39-45 in night games. Only the Yankees, Phillies and Angels had better 2009 winning percentages in day games than the Cubs did. Even the 2008 Cubs, who won 97 games and won just about anywhere, any time, had a .623 percentage during the day, .583 at night.
So what's this about needing more home night games?
"Look, it's not the easiest thing in the world to do, but we're doing the best we can," said Piniella, who added the big promise in the next breath:
"Invariably, what'll happen is the guys that are doing the best are the guys that'll get the bulk of the playing time. That's the way it was when I played, and that's the way it is still."
The "that's the way it was when I played" is something Piniella must be really sensitive about, 26 years after his playing career ended. Lou was a decent hitter (and remember when you are looking at those numbers, he played in a lower-offense era), but only four times had over 500 at-bats in a season, and was basically platooned once he became a Yankee.
Bruce Miles explains why Koyie Hill caught his second game in a row last night:
With a day game [Saturday], Lou says Soto will catch Big Z. Soto is 1-for-6 after a poor spring, and Lou repeated that he needs to hit for the Cubs offense to go full tilt.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
Well. Those numbers are interesting, from Opening Day. Z's ERA is literally ten times Aaron Harang's. The good news is, Z couldn't possibly be worse than he was on Monday. Right? Last year Z was 1-1, 1.98 in two starts, 13.2 innings, against the Reds, and did not allow them a homer in either of those starts. Among current Reds, only Joey Votto (8-for-20, .400, four doubles) has hit him well.
Aaron Harang has made 22 career starts against the Cubs and is 9-8, 4.63. Last year he was 1-2, winning in April, then getting hit pretty hard in July and September. Harang doesn't appear to be anywhere near the pitcher he was before Dusty Baker became his manager. Not that there's any correlation between those two events or anything. Derrek Lee has homered off Harang five times in 56 career AB and Aramis Ramirez four times in 49.
Today's game is again on WGN, and also on FSN Ohio. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
This afternoon's first pitch thread will be up at 12 noon CDT (today, for sure!), and the overflows will post at 1:15, 2:15 and 3 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.