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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Garland’

Early Thoughts From Chicago Cubs Camp

Posted by sportsmaven on March 4, 2007

The spring games have started and it seems like developments are becoming more apparent as the early games begin. Some of my thoughts on the Chicago Cubs in the early going are:

1. Looks like the Cubs are going to hit and score runs this season. The batting order looks solid with some questions around who will hit in the #2 hole (early leader appears to be Matt Murton when he’s playing, although Murton is getting some time hitting lower in the order.) With Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Murton, Michael Barrett, and Jacque Jones, there aren’t a lot of spots in the Cub order to pitch around. If Mark DeRosa hits like he did last year, sprinkle in a healthy Cliff Floyd, this lineup of hitters are the best in the National League Central Division.

2. On the other hand, defense may be an issue. Cesar Izturis is a Gold Glove caliber player. So is Derrek Lee. After that, it gets quite sketchy. Mark DeRosa appears to be solid and if he indeed is the starting second baseman, playing one position will help him, defensively. Soriano in CF is an unknown at this point. Ramirez can play defense if he wants, and Pinella will demand that he does. Barrett needs work, especially with baserunners and limiting his passed balls. Jones and Murton are ordinary. Most of the defensive lapses from the Cubs through the first three games of Cactus League play are from guys that are probably not going to make the team (like Scott Moore, Ronny Cedeno, and Mike Kinkade) but clearly, Lou Piniella is not pleased.

3. Speaking of Lou Piniella, looks like he will be more demanding from the players both publicly and privately, than Dusty Baker ever was with the Cubs. I like that. Lou calls it like he sees it. He’s not blunt, he’s honest. I look forward to more of that in the upcoming season. This will be refreshing, informative, and certainly entertaining.

Tomorrow is Cubs-White Sox in Mesa, Rich Hill vs. Jon Garland. Monday, is Mark Prior’s scheduled debut in Cactus League play and Kerry Wood is also scheduled to pich. It’s starting to get more interesting……

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White Sox Open Cactus League Play With A Thud

Posted by sportsmaven on March 1, 2007

Or more like a wheezing, hissing sound that comes from air leaking from a hole in the front right tire of the Chicago White Sox bandwagon. Kenny Williams starting pitching remodel took a bit of a hit today when top of rotation starters Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland got hit hard in today’s Chicago White Sox Cactus league opener, losing to the Colorado Rockies 12-4. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s the first spring training game of the season and this is to be expected. We all know that the hitting comes around much faster than the pitching, but I will say this: If you are a White Sox fan, you have to be very concerned about Mark Buehrle. He essentially picked up where he left off last year by getting hit hard. His line: 2IP, 6H, 4 ER, 18.00 ERA. Not very pretty.

Mark Buehrle Cactus League OpenerBobby Jenks Cactus League Opener
(AP photos by M. Spencer Green)

Jon Garland was worse, although I am willing to cut a break to a back to back 18 game winner at this point. Bobby Jenks shoulder tightness is yet another early concern. Combined with Gavin Floyd’s injured ankle yesterday, looks like the White Sox pitching staff is already under duress, especially the starters. This couldn’t be the start that Ozzie Guillen, Don Cooper, nor Mark Buehrle wanted for the pitching staff.

The every day lineup is not a big concern at this point, for the Sox have enough hitting to keep them in games, but I will say that no team in baseball has enough hitting to keep an ineffective Mark Buehrle and a starting rotation with a 4.50 ERA in many games. Moreso than the Cubs, the success of the White Sox this season comes down to one thing, their starting rotation and unfortunately, that will most likely be their undoing. The Mark Buehrle Farewell Tour looks like its it’s revving it’s engine in the thin Tucson air.

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Sox to Sign Erstad, Podsednik Groin, and Cliff Floyd To Cubs?

Posted by sportsmaven on January 24, 2007

With less than 28 days remaning until the start of spring training, the short slumber of baseball transactions is about to end. Both the Chicago newspapers are reporting that the Chicago White Sox are on the verge of signing OF Darin Erstad to a free agent contract. The White Sox have been pursuing Erstad for about 6 years now, dating back to 2001 when they offered the Angels P Jon Garland and OF Chris Singleton. What a disaster that would have been, since Erstad’s best days were clearly behind him, even in 2001 and Garland has emerged as a stong top of the rotation starter and the Sox most consistent pitcher in a pitching-challenged 2006 season.

Still, this is a fairly shrewd pickup by Sox GM Kenny Williams. Pick up a solid CF veteran to bridge to the Josh Fields era. (Does anyone miss the Brian Anderson era yet?)

On another note, Scott Podsednik’s groin is acting up again, causing the White Sox LF and leadoff man to have surgery on Tuesday for a sports hernia. The surgery will most likely set back Podsednik a couple of weeks in spring training.

Finally, Cliff Floyd rumblings about the quiet Chicago skyline. MLB.com is reporting a deal with Floyd and the Chicago Cubs is eminent. Floyd was an all-star as recently as 2001 (.273 avg, 34HR’s 98 RBI), but had an injury-plagued season for the New York Mets, batting .244 11 HR’s and 44 RBI. So will we be getting good Cliff or bad Cliff?

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