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April IS The Cruelest Month: Cubs vs. Marlins, Friday 5/1, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs have had worse Aprils than the one in 2009. Take 1997, for example, when they started 0-14 and were 6-19 at the end of the month on their way to a 94-loss season. Or 1994, when they were 6-15 in April, lost their first 12 home games and their manager, Tom Trebelhorn, held a "fan forum" in front of the firehouse on Waveland. I could cite more examples, but you get the idea.

However, expectations for the Cubs are a little higher this year than they were in 1994 or 1997. Injuries account for part of the 10-11 start, but not all of it -- last night's loss had nothing to do with injuries.

Enough of that, I think. There have been plenty of teams that have started the season one game under .500 after the first month and come back to make the playoffs. Is a team meeting required? Lou decided to make a joke:

"Look, when you're 12th in the league in hitting, 12th in the league in pitching, 10th in the league in defense, until those numbers get better, you can have all the meetings you want," Piniella said, laughing. "We can send them to a spa. We've got to get those numbers better, and we will."

Instead of a "spa", Lou, how about using the guys you have in the right way? Incidentally, in that link, Bruce Miles adds:

Although [Bobby] Scales was sent back to Iowa, Piniella did talk of another possible roster move, but the Cubs said none was forthcoming.

Hmmm. Sounds like Lou and Jim might not be on the same page right now. I repeat what I wrote last night: if Aramis Ramirez isn't going to go on the DL, he has to be available at least to pinch-hit. Otherwise you are playing short-handed, and that might have cost the team last night's game. Onward -- this month has to be better. Right?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Harden
Rich Harden
Cubs
vs. Graham Taylor
Graham Taylor
Marlins
0-0 W-L 0-1
9.82 ERA 3.60
5 SO 2
1 BB 6
0 HR 1
vs. Fla -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Rich Harden 2-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 21.0 15 10 9 5 10 35 3.86 1.19


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Graham Taylor 0-1 1 1 0 0 0 0 3.2 4 4 4 0 6 2 9.82 2.73

That's the best picture of Graham Taylor I could find. He pitched poorly in his major league debut five days ago against the Phillies. He walked six in less than four innnings; however, in his minor league career, his control was good, with only 60 walks in over 400 innings. The Cubs will need to be patient with him today.

Rich Harden has no decisions and a 1.69 ERA in two career starts vs. the Marlins, both last year, one while he was still with the A's, the other July 26 at Wrigley Field, where he struck out ten in five innings. Jeremy Hermida hit two homers that day, one off Harden and one off Sean Marshall. Harden was long gone by the time the Cubs lost that game in the 12th inning.

Today's game is back on cable, in both Chicago (CSN) and south Florida (FSN). This is the only day game today; for tonight's games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Discuss amongst yourselves.