For further discussion of yesterday's incident and what appears to be an imminent suspension announcement for Carlos Zambrano, go to this FanPost. In the meantime, there's a game to be played!
The Dodgers come into Wrigley Field tonight with the best record in baseball and I'm kind of scratching my head trying to figure out how. Their pitching has been good -- they're second in the league in ERA -- but not that much better than several other teams, who are just behind them. Without Manny, they are 12th in the league in home runs -- but have allowed the second-fewest number of homers (so should we expect a homereless series?).
And can someone please explain these numbers to me: .404/.469/.544
Those look like numbers Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera should have, right? But no, those are the current triple-slash numbers of Juan Pierre. They are so wildly better than Pierre's career numbers (.302/.349/.374) that you have to wonder if someone else is inhabiting Pierre's body. And that's all being done despite the fact that Pierre sat on the bench virtually the entire time until Manny's suspension, starting only four games before then.
In case you missed it earlier, Ryan Freel is headed to the DL after pulling his hamstring yesterday. Bobby Scales will return to the 25-man roster. Also buried in that notes article:
Leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano revealed to the Sun-Times before the game that he has been dealing with a sore left knee for most of this month. While rounding the bases on a fifth-inning leadoff double, it was clear Soriano was not 100 percent.And could Jake Fox actually play third base?
"I've been battling with my knee for three or four weeks," Soriano said. "Nothing serious. A little sore, but I'm fine. Nothing to worry about. I get treatment every day to feel better because this game is not easy to play with pain."
Is Fox -- a converted catcher -- ready to tackle third after making one start there at Iowa?
"It's the difference between what I think and what they think," Fox said with a laugh. "I feel comfortable there. I feel the start I had, I felt I played well there. It's just a different spot. In the last three years, I've learned four different positions. It's the same kind of feeling as learning those other positions. I had a good game there. Will I make some mistakes there? Yes I would because I haven't had a lot of innings there, but with the time and hard work, I could play anywhere on the field."
Playing Fox at 3B would get an extra bat in the lineup, but at what cost defensively? Apparently, the Cubs are going to at least work him out there:
Fox took grounders at third before Wednesday's game with bench coach Alan Trammell watching.
"Let's see him over there for a few more days working with Alan, and I'll let Alan make that determination," Piniella said.
I wouldn't do it vs. the Dodgers, because if they do Juan Pierre is likely to have four bunt hits every game.
Oddity: since the Cubs and Dodgers franchises began playing each other in 1890 (when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn), the two teams have won exactly the same number of games from each other, entering tonight: 1012 wins each.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
When we last saw Randy Wolf, he was in a Houston Astros uniform throwing a six-hit shutout against the Cubs last September 3. That was very uncharacteristic of his career vs. the Cubs; lifetime in 15 starts, he is 3-7, 4.71. This year he's pitched fairly well (3.02 ERA) but has seven no-decisions in 10 starts. He handles most of the current Cubs pretty well -- the only player who'll play tonight who has hit him well is Geovany Soto (3-for-8).
Randy Wells, who has had three good starts this season, will be facing the Dodgers for the first time.
Good news for those of you who hate the WCIU games, which can, apparently, only be seen within a four-block radius of the station's transmitter -- the game is also being carried by the MLB Network, so it is available nationally. For today's other games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Overflow comment threads will post today at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.