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  #1  
Old Sep 23rd 2008, 7:08 am
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Game 1 starter

Lou has been pretty mum on this whole thing....and he has yet to see Z try to see if he bounces back, but last night on Comcast, Dan Pleasac said he believes that Lou is going to go with Demp as the first starter.... with taking into consideration how well and sold Demp pitches at home, how dependable he is, and how up and down Z has been, we need to come out of the gates with a bang, I am very comfy with this if it is the way Lou goes. Pleasac also pointed out that the way Lou has arranged the rotation this final week has Demp lined up to pitch Wednesday on his normal 5 days rest.

this is from today's suntimes:

Quote:
One risk of not starting Zambrano in the opener would be the possibility of messing with the emotional pitcher's head.

Zambrano, the Opening Day starter, has been even more of an enigma than usual the last two months. Before pitching a no-hitter nine days ago, he was 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in his previous five starts, taking himself out of the last of those Sept. 2 because of shoulder discomfort.

An MRI exam, an anti-inflammatory injection and 12 days later, he pitched the no-hitter -- then followed it up with perhaps the worst outing of his career Friday following a brief trip home to Venezuela after his grandmother died.

Zambrano declined interview requests Monday.

At this point, it's anything but certain what the Cubs will get from Zambrano on any given day, and he has one more start before the playoffs to try to make Friday's outing look like the aberration and not the no-hitter.

''He needs work,'' Piniella said. ''He missed two starts prior to the no-hitter, and the last start was an inning-plus. It's obvious he needs work. So that's why we didn't alter his [schedule]. We've got him on his fifth day, and we're going to let him work as much as possible [Wednesday] and then we'll go from there.''

Meanwhile, Piniella adjusted other parts of his rotation for the final week, dropping Jason Marquis from the final turn and moving Rich Harden back from today to Thursday. Sean Marshall was inserted to start tonight.

One result of the changes is that left-hander Ted Lilly (16-9) now makes his final start Saturday in Milwaukee, the day after Ryan Dempster (17-6) opens that series. That keeps Lilly, who beat the Mets in April, from giving them a fresh look at him a week before a possible playoff matchup.

The changes would allow Piniella to open the playoffs with Dempster and Lilly pitching the first two games at Wrigley Field on their normal rest. If he did that, Zambrano (14-6) and Harden (5-1) would slot naturally into the third and fourth games of the best-of-five series.

As for the rest of the postseason pitching staff, Piniella said he's playing with two possible scenarios -- one in which he carries 11 pitchers, the other in which he sticks with the 12-man staff he carried most of the season. He said the 11-man staff is more likely.

And despite dropping Marquis (3.74 ERA since June) from the rotation, Piniella suggested he will be on the playoff roster.
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 7:12 am
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And Phil Rogers from the Tribune:

Quote:
Rich Harden has been pushed back in the Cubs' pitching rotation, a hint that Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano could slide all the way to the No. 3 slot in manager Lou Piniella's postseason rotation.
Quote:
"We're starting to get ourselves realigned for postseason play," Piniella said. "I don't have anything to tell you, but we will sometime during the Milwaukee series."

Ryan Dempster, who is 14-3 with a 2.86 earned-run average at Wrigley Field, won his 17th game on Sunday and is on track to face Milwaukee on Friday at Miller Park. That lines him up to start Game 1 of the playoffs on Oct. 1. Harden would have six days' rest before a start in Game 2.

Zambrano, who has a 5.51 ERA since the All-Star break, is lined up to throw a simulated game Monday and then work Game 3.

"He needs work," Piniella said of Zambrano, who has pitched only 102/3 innings in the last 27 days. "He missed two starts prior to the no-no, then the next start was messy. We're going to let him work as much as possible."

Ted Lilly, who initially was scheduled to start against the Mets on Thursday, has been pushed back to Saturday in Milwaukee. He could be available to work out of the bullpen in Games 1 and 2 before a possible start in Game 4, if necessary. Dempster would be on track to work a Game 5 at Wrigley.

The good news for the Cubs is that all four possible playoff opponents are less productive (judged by OPS) against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers. The Cubs are currently set to face the Mets, who hit 14 points lower against right-handers than lefties (.277-.263).
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 8:17 am
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I can understand Demps being the #1, but I'm not so sure about pushing Z all the way back to #3.
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 8:36 am
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Demp should start , BigZ gets too amped up at home . He will pitch Z third then because he will put Lilly ( the lefty ) between the two righties .
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 8:50 am
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I've been hearing Harden as the #2
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 10:22 am
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iheard Harden or lilly 2
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 9:16 pm
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Completely agree with the thinking behind putting Z back at 3. Demps is a excellent choice, you know what you are going to get with Dempster, good record at home, composure and gives you good innings, exactly what you need to start the play-offs.
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 9:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Cubbies10 View Post
Completely agree with the thinking behind putting Z back at 3. Demps is a excellent choice, you know what you are going to get with Dempster, good record at home, composure and gives you good innings, exactly what you need to start the play-offs.
I couldn't agree more. Besides, I think I heard Z say he would rather pitch game 3 in one of his interviews after his no-hitter. If that's the case, you wouldn't have to worry about upsetting him by putting him in the 3rd spot.
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Old Sep 23rd 2008, 10:11 pm
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I think that is just another sign of how he is maturing, a year or 2 ago he would want to be that guy to start the first game, now he realises that the team comes first and everything that helps the team win must be done.
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Old Sep 24th 2008, 11:25 am
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Demp is perfect for game 1. Pitches strong at home and is having great season.
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