Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hart, Soto on postseason roster

Lou Piniella has made some impulse moves coming into the playoffs and I'm sure he'd be tempted to do some more.

In 11 innings, Kevin Hart has allowed just one run and seven hits while striking out thirteen, and evidently Piniella was impressed enough to put him on the roster. Lou said he was going with 11 pitchers, but I'm really surprised that Scott Eyre is the lone lefty. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Will Ohman and I don't think Carmen Pignatiello is much better, but I still think that Piniella should've taken a second lefty. I understand that Howry, Wuertz, and Marmol have been effective against lefties this year, but not even having a second lefty available makes strategizing a lot easier for Bob Melvin.


Ryan Dempster
Scott Eyre
Kevin Hart
Rich Hill
Bob Howry
Ted Lilly
Carlos Marmol
Jason Marquis
Kerry Wood
Michael Wuertz
Carlos Zambrano

Jason Kendall
Geovany Soto

Ronny Cedeno
Mark DeRosa
Mike Fontenot
Derrek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Ryan Theriot
Daryle Ward

Cliff Floyd
Jacque Jones
Matt Murton
Felix Pie
Alfonso Soriano


Piniella also made two more moves that the general public might like and one that the fans don't like, and all three of them go against the book. Geovany Soto was not only named to the team, but it looks like he would get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate, despite the fact that Soto hasn't worked much with the Cubs' pitching staff this year and the fact that Kendall is a three-time all-star.

Also, Piniella demoted Jason Marquis to the bullpen. After three consecutive horrible appearances by Marquis to end the season, Piniella has decided to go with a three-man rotation. This means that Carlos Zambrano would have to pitch on short rest in game four, but the extra off-day allows Lilly to be at full strength for the fifth and final game. Should we be down 2-1 at that point, it may be best to try to turn the ball over to Zambrano with the season on the line, but holding back Zambrano and Lilly, two very different pitchers that throw with opposite hands, for the deciding game in Arizona (if necessary) could be a very special weapon.

With that having been said, Piniella still has a few more impulse move the fans want him to make. Specifically, I know people want Lou to use Carlos Marmol and his 1.43 ERA in the closer's role, while making Dempster a set-up man. It may be something to consider in the off-season, but at this point, I don't think that you want to try to make any major changes to the bullpen. Granted, Ozzie Guillen turned to Bobby Jenks as the closer late in the 2005 season, but this is different. Jenks was a closer in the minor leagues and was always projected to be the closer of the big league club at some point. In Marmol's six professional seasons in baseball, he has one career save. Besides, Ryan Dempster is 28-for-31 in save opportunities, no matter his ERA.

Even with all of that, the biggest surprise on the roster for me is Ronny Cedeno. He has hit at a .203 clip and has reached base just barely over 23% of the time, yet he takes up a precious spot on the 25-man roster. Yes, Cedeno has been hot over the past couple of weeks and we know how Piniella likes to play the hot hand, but it makes me wonder about the health of Ryan Theriot. Theriot has been struggling lately, and has needed some off days in the final weeks of the season either because he needed to rest or nurse a sore back. There may be some question as to whether Theriot is capable of going every inning of every game and that could've led to the decision to carry two shortstops, a decision that cost Craig Monroe or Henry Blanco a roster spot.

Marshall in limbo: Just because Sean Marshall wasn't named to the roster for the first round of the playoffs, doesn't mean that his season is over. The team will continue to work with him to get stretched out a bit. Speculation has it, should the Cubs advance past the Diamondbacks and onto the LCS, Marshall might become the team's fourth starter. As bad as Jason Marquis has been, I still think it's his job to lose. Last month, I thought that third starting spot was Marquis' to lose and he lost it, but to me, he's still got a long way to go before falling behind Marshall on the depth chart.

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