Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Preparing for the Big Day

Tomorrow is Opening Day at Wrigley Field! The Cubs host the Washington Nationals at 1:20. The game will be televised on WGN-TV with Len Kasper and Bob Brenly and broadcast on WGN Radio with Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland. For the second consecutive year, Ryan Dempster will receive the opening day nod for the Chicago Cubs. Young right hander Stephen Strasburg will take the hill for the Nats.

Dale Sveum settled his bullpen today to figure out the final spots on his roster. In addition, infielder Luis Valbuena was claimed off waiver from the Blue Jays in a surprising move. He will fill a spot on the 25-man roster, serving as Starlin Castro's backup at shortstop. The Cubs will go with 14 position players and just 11 pitchers to start the season.

According to Carrie Muskat the six man bullpen will be made up of Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, Rafael Dolis, Shawn Camp and Lendy Castillo. Rodrigo Lopez will not start the season on the roster but is expected to be called up quickly. Frankie De La Cruz was outrighted, while Manny Corpas was also cut from the big league squad.

Tomorrow's lineup is still pending whether or not Bryan LaHair, who stat out the last four Cactus League games with a back issue. Either Blake DeWitt, Joe Mather or Jeff Baker will start in his place if he cannot go. There is a 50-50 chance that LaHair will start. Tony Campana is still with the team in case a disabled list stint is necessary.

Today the Cubs worked out at Wrigley Field for the first time this season. According to multiple reports, the ivy is already green. Bill Murray will throw out the first pitch and sing the 7th inning Stretch on Opening Day. Friday is an off day before the series continues Saturday at 12:05.

The games that count are here! David DeJesus and Ian Stewart will make their Cubs debuts today.

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My 2012 Bold Cubs Predictions

Each season I enjoy making off-the-wall predictions that may or may not come true. Here are my results from my 2011 predictions.

  • Mike Quade will lead the team to the division title and be named the NL Manager of the Year. Way Wrong, Quade was let go after leading the team to a fifth place finish

  • Starlin Castro will win the NL batting title.Wrong, he finished sixth.

  • Aramis Ramirez will have a bounce back season with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.Wrong, barely. He drove in 93 runs and launched 26 homers.

  • Carlos Marmol will only blow two saves all season.Way wrong, he blew ten saves and had many other bad outings.

  • Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster will combine for 55 wins.WRONG, try 29 combined wins.

  • Darwin Barney will join Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin to form a trio of young talented players that carry the offense.Not so much.

  • Reed Johnson's glove work will make several appearances on Sports Center's Top 10 Plays.Not sure if that happened or not, I'll go with no.

  • VCU will win the NCAA tournament... wait- how did that get on this list?Nope.

  • Welington Castillo will take Koyie Hill's job by the end of May.Should have happened but didn't.

  • Marlon Byrd, Ryan Dempster and Starlin Castro will represent the Cubs in the All-Star game.Well, I got one out of three.

  • The NBA champion Bulls will sing the 7th Inning Stretch at Wrigley in July.Wrong again.

  • Jim Hendry will pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade in July to help put the Cubs in position for their playoff run.Playoff run? Wrong

  • The Cubs will wear their #10 patches all the way to a World Series title.Well, half of that came true.

My 2011 score: 0-for-13, let's see if I can make some improvements with my 2012 bold predictions, some of which I hope do not come true.

  • The Cubs will play meaningful games in September because of the extra Wild Card spot.

  • Marlon Byrd will be traded by the deadline.

  • Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo will make their big league debuts by the end of June.

  • Bryan LaHair will be sent to Triple-A or benched by the end of June and never heard from again.

  • Jeff Samardzija will hold onto his rotation spot all year and win at least ten games.

  • Carlos Zambrano will pitch very well and pick up the W against his former team.

  • Carlos Marmol will be removed from the closer's role by season's end.

  • Joe Mather will be a bust after his hot spring, he will be replaced on the Cubs bench by the end of May.

  • The Florida Marlins will reach the World Series.

  • Kerry Wood will have at least two stints on the disabled list.

  • James Russell will have the best ERA on the team.

  • Starlin Castro will be the only Cub in the All-Star game once again.

  • Matt Garza will toss a no-hitter.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts!