Via tweet from Carrie, we learn that Lou has, in fact, dropped Aramis Ramirez to sixth in the lineup for tonight's game:
Ramy is batting 6th for #cubs wed. It'll be ss riot, rf fuke, 1b lee, cf byrd, lf sori, 3b ramy, 2b font, c hill, p lilly
We'll see if this makes any difference. Much of the time, lineup changes are overrated. If this gets him going, great. If not, they'll have to try something else.
If it's any consolation, the Cubs also lost the first game they played vs. the Pirates last year, then won the rest of that series and 10 of the 13 remaining games vs. Pittsburgh in 2009. That kind of performance is necessary against a team like this. The Cubs should win tonight and tomorrow, because, plain & simple, they are a better team than the Pirates -- winning a series on the road is always good. It should be noted that the Pirates had a winning record at home (5-4) before last night's game.
Without wanting to start another firestorm about the taser incident in Philadelphia on Monday (and the copycat from last night), Yahoo's Jeff Passan has some thoughts, including an interview with former Royals (and Cubs) coach Tom Gamboa, who was attacked on the field on the South Side in 2002:
"If there was mandatory jail time and people knew it and it was enforced, they wouldn’t go anywhere near the field," Gamboa said. "Too often, it’s a $250 fine and probation, which makes the guy famous for practically no repercussions. It’s almost a freebie."
The rest of Passan's article makes some excellent points, but Gamboa's comments above, I think, go to the crux of the matter. Too many people think they can behave like idiots at sporting events and nothing will happen -- and in reality, nothing ever does, and Gamboa essentially says, for $250 (or whatever the local fine is), you can run around on the field of your favorite sports team with essentially no penalty nor police record. Maybe some tougher penalties would discourage this kind of thing in the future.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2010 - Ted Lilly||1-1||2||2||0||0||0||0||11.0||10||6||6||3||4||10||4.91||1.27|
|2010 - Charlie Morton||0-5||5||5||0||0||0||0||19.1||34||31||27||7||8||20||12.57||2.17|
Ted Lilly has made one good start and one mediocre start since returning from the DL. That has led to sky-is-falling articles like this one by Paul Sullivan in which he says:
... if he struggles the way he did Thursday against the Diamondbacks, there may be whispers he came back too soon.
Seriously? From one mediocre-but-not-horrible start with the wind blowing out at Wrigley? Ted is 3-2, 3.24 in his last five starts vs. the Pirates and in his last start at PNC, last September 7, he gave the Pirates only two hits in six innings. Current Pirates are hitting .188 (15-for-80) vs. Ted with only 1 HR (Andy LaRoche).
I hesitate to write anything about Charlie Morton because his numbers to date this season are so bad (0-5, 12.57 ERA, 2.17 WHIP) that, as is typical for pitchers with results that bad, he's likely to throw a great game vs. the Cubs. In fact, his last start vs. the Cubs, last September 30 at Wrigley Field, resulted in a four-hit, CG shutout, with Ted Lilly his opponent. Four of the position players who started that game aren't on the Cubs roster right now, though, and Kosuke Fukudome, who had one of the four hits that night (Ryan Theriot had the other three), has homered off Morton. In short, who knows? Five different teams (Dodgers, Giants, Astros, Brewers, Diamondbacks) have all hit Morton hard this year. Let's have the Cubs make it six tonight.
Today's game is on CSN Plus -- again, the Blackhawks have the main CSN channel. The good news for people who want to watch both games: the hockey game starts at 8:30 CDT, by which time the Cubs game should be almost over. If you don't know where to find these games on your local cable system in the Chicago area, here's a handy guide from CSN Chicago. It's also on FSN Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.
Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 6 CDT, and the overflows will post at 7, 8 and 8:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.