Lou Tinkers With Rotation - Z May Not Freak Out Until Game 3

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lou Tinkers With Rotation - Z May Not Freak Out Until Game 3

. Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Don't make me frowny. You wouldn't like me when i'm frowny."

No matter the peaks and valleys he's been through this year, there's always been sort of an assumption that Carlos Zambrano will be the game 1 starter in any playoff series the Cubs make. Given that he tends to start freaking out and screaming to the point of expected colonic prolapse, it can be a worrying idea in "Wait Till Next Year" #100. We believe in Big Z like hell, but we're chewing our nails to the cuticle wondering if it'll be No Hitter Z or No Sanity Z throwing heat in the crisp October night.

I wonder if this was preceded by a "Hey guys, watch this!"

Lou Piniella, never one for much bullshit, has apparently cut this conversation off at the root. Or made it a really, really big media story that may not die for a few days. Either way, it's an enjoyable move on Sweet Lou's part. While the Spanish Stallion won't announce his playoff rotation until this weekend's tilt with the Fat Bastards in Wisconsin, he has pushed Rich Harden's next start back. Sean Marshall will instead pitch tonight in the Queens Toilet Bowl. Z and the Canadian are still on track for Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Ted Lilly has been pushed back to Saturday. What that means is should this realignment remain for the playoffs, the series rotation would look as such:

Game 1: Ryan Dempster

Game 2: Rich Harden

Game 3: Carlos Zambrano

Game 4: Ted Lilly

This really doesn't seem like a bad idea. Zambrano's game has been hurting since the All-Star break, and he's only pitched 10 2/3 in the last two starts since coming back from that panic-inducing tendinitis. Ryan Dempster has played above and beyond what anyone could have ever expected of him, and his record at Wrigley (where game 1 will be played) speaks for itself. If Harden is feeling okay, it's hard to not want to pitch him in game 2, where he's still boosted by the unusual level of fan support (Harden having come from Oakland) when he's throwing.

Looking for more of this

If it doesn't work out as planned for Z's postseason redemption, we've got Ted Lilly, who has been solid lately, on the back end. If he bounces back and pitches like he should, we've potentially got a great mismatch on our side for game 3. And no matter who we face, you need every advantage you can get in the playoffs.


Josh said...

I think the rotation would work out great that way. Dempster (as mentioned) pitches well at home. I think Harden pitches fine anywhere (though he prefers the cool evenings) but since Harden doesn't get to the 7th too often, it might be nice having to use the bulk of our bullpen at home.

And then Z for the first road game.

Good enough for me.