Posted by sportsmaven on July 27, 2008
Somebody should have warned Rich Harden that life with the Chicago Cubs
was about to get maniacally interesting for the pitcher from Victoria, British Columbia. Western Canada is about as far away philosophically, as well as geographically, from the world of the Cubs, yet Rich Harden’s
performance in America’s Pastime has been nothing short of spectacular — with maddening results.
Cubs P Rich Harden
Harden was acquired on July 8th, along with P Chad Gaudin for Cubs P Sean Gallagher, OF Matt Murton, IF Eric Patterson, and C Josh Donaldson. Harden was Cubs GM Jim Hendry’s answer for the Milwaukee Brewers acquisition of P CC Sabathia the day before, and he was everything advertised and more.
After today’s start, Harden has been spectacular. Three starts, 17 1/3 innings pitched, 30K’s 8 hits, 2 ER, 1.04 ERA, 0-1 record. The Cubs are 1-2 in his 3 starts. Harden is 5-2 with a 2.04 ERA overall. The Chicago Cubs have wasted performances that have been absolutely dominant, so much so that they match up substantially to Sabathia’s performance as a Milwaukee Brewer.
Sabathia’s numbers are: 4 starts, 33 IP, 20 hits, 6 ER, 31K’s, 1.36 ERA, 4-0 record. Four wins for Sabathia, none for Harden. The Chicago Cubs have 59 games left in the season after today. Harden will likely have 12 more starts if he stays healthy. The Chicago Cubs badly need to take advantage of Harden’s dominance. Only in Chicago, could a pitcher post the numbers that Harden has put up and have no victories to show for it.
Posted in Chicago Cubs | Tagged: CC Sabathia, Chad Gaudin, Chicago Cubs, Eric Patterson, Jim Hendry, Josh Donaldson, Matt Murton, Milwaukee Brewers, Rich Harden, Sean Gallagher | Leave a Comment »
Posted by sportsmaven on July 10, 2008
Who would have thought that Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti was a budding baseball GM? In his Tuesday column titled “CC This: After bid deal, all eyes turn to Hendry”, Mariotti wrote about the importance of a Chicago Cubs response to the Milwaukee Brewers pickup in reigning AL Cy Young Award winning pitcher CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians. Mariotti writes:
Job One should be Rich Harden, he of the 5-1 record, 2.34 ERA, 91 strikeouts and nine consecutive impressive starts until recent speed bumps. The Oakland righty is healthy, and while a hefty talent package will be extracted by A’s dictator Billy Beane, the Cubs should have enough youthful pieces to make a match.
Impressive? You would think that most anyone with baseball sense could have picked then Oakland A’s pitcher Rich Harden as the next logical target, if one truly believed that the Cubs were actually in the CC Sabathia sweepstakes. I believe they were in, but were not serious contenders because they lacked the necessary pieces that Cleveland desired for a difference maker with the stature of Sabathia, by far the best pitcher available in what is quickly appearing to be a bear market for impact players. The Cubs didn’t pursue Harden as openly as Brewers stalked Sabathia. Who even knew that Cubs GM Jim Hendry and A’s GM Billy “Moneyball” Beane were even seriously talking? But less than 24 hours later, the deal was complete, Harden was a Cub along with an important insurance policy,”throw-in” P Chad Gaudin. The inclusion of the 25-year old Gaudin is what makes a very, very good trade a great trade.
Jay Mariotti not only reveled his sound baseball logic, but he also predicted the huge amount of talent the Cubs would have to give up for Harden (although I thought the Cubs got off easy in that regard, with the only painful departure being RHP Sean Gallagher). Mariotti also nailed the timing, although that may have had more to do with being lucky than being good. But he was good with the rest of the story. You might not like Jay Mariotti, and believe me, there are many that don’t, but you can’t say that he wasn’t on top of his game on this one. Kudos. Jay. Maybe Jim Hendry does read your columns after all.
Posted in Chicago Cubs | Tagged: Billy Beane, CC Sabathia, Chad Gaudin, Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Jay Mariotti, Jim Hendry, Milwaukee Brewers, Rich Harden, Sean Gallagher, Sun-Times | 2 Comments »
Posted by sportsmaven on March 10, 2007
The hot competition for the Chicago Cubs 5th starter job has officially hit the level of disaster. LHP Neal Cotts was the leader for that spot, going into this afternoon, but Cotts got pounded again today against the Texas Rangers, giving up 4 unearned runs and 7 hits in 2 innings of work. That is a completely abysmal line, to the point that there is no longer a front runner for the 5th starter role. Mark Prior is scheduled to pitch in a relief role tomorrow and Wade Miller pitched 3 innings yesterday, giving up 6 hits and 1 earned run. Miller may have moved back into being the favorite for the 5th starter job, his fastball topping out at 88 mph, which is a bit scary to me.
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
On a more positive note, although Kerry Wood gave up 4 runs on a grand slam to Padres OF Terrmel Sledge, he struck out 3 in his one inning of work, feeling no pain at all in his right shoulder. The Cubs have a few positions open for competition this spring, and none more highly visible than the 5th starter in the rotation. I believe that 1-4 should be solid, with Rich Hill turning in another solid outing today against the San Diego Padres. It will be safe to say that one of the three of Prior, Cotts, and Miller will be the 5th starter. Right now, my money is on Wade Miller, with Cotts going to the pen and Prior not being ready to go when the season opens. Overall, through the first 3 weeks of spring training, I have been impressed with the Cubs pitching to date, minus the 5th starter competition. Guys who have no chance of making the big league roster are pitching well, guys like Jeff Samardzjia, Sean Gallagher, Angel Guzman, and even minor league veteran Les Walrond. Surprises so far on the pitching staff: Jason Marquis, 5 IP, 6 SO, 1.80 ERA, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly giving up no earned runs so far this spring (Carlos Zambrano has also not given up an earned run this spring) and no pitchers injured or on the DL. Now, if we can only get the 5th starter resolved…….who wants it?
Posted in Chicago Cubs | Tagged: Angel Guzman, Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, Jason Marquis, Jeff Samardzija, Kerry Wood, Les Walrond, Mark Prior, Neal Cotts, Rich Hill, Ryan Dempster, San Diego Padres, Sean Gallagher, Ted Lilly, Termel Sledge, Texas Rangers, Wade Miller | Leave a Comment »