Saturday, May 28, 2005

« Prior restraint? Cubs won't give up quite yet »

By Suss
With one swing of the bat, Brad Hawpe made Cubs fans begin jumping off the Sears Tower.

Prior's injury, from MLB.comHawpe swung and hit Prior's pitch right back to the pitcher, at which point it struck him on his pitching elbow. An MRI later revealed a fracture. Prior's season was in doubt, and with it the Cubs hopes.

While the elbow fracture already compounded his previous elbow problems, this loss compounded the problems of the injury bug Cubs players have had to face. In April, Nomar Garciaparra left a game with a groin injury after hustling out of the batter's box. He will probably miss two months. Kerry Wood is currently trying to rehab a shoulder injury sustained earlier in the year. In fact, the luck is so bad relief pitcher Mike Remlinger went on the 15-day DL for breaking his pinky, which was inflicted while sitting in a recliner.

But as the sun rose on Saturday, good news began to shine on the storied but jinxed organization.

The Cubs beat up on the Rockies Saturday afternoon 5-1, courtesty of two Derrek Lee home runs.

Mark Prior's injury is better than expected. His elbow only suffered a compression fracture, not a hairline as previously thought. According to Cubs team doctors, Prior may come back this year if when he has "full, pain-free range of motion."

The rotation still has two aces - young Carlos Zambrano (3-3, 3.62 ERA) and 300-game winner Greg Maddux (2-3, 4.33 ERA) . Their numbers aren't great but can improve, and today's game was won by journeyman Glendon Rusch (4-1, 2.35 ERA) who only gave up one run in 7 innings of work. Their fourth starter is currently Sergio Mitre (0-0, 2.57 ERA) who has started one game, a 7-inning, 2-run no-decision effort against Houston earlier this year.

Their fifth starter will be Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 1.35 ERA, 1/1 sv) who has not started a game this year.

And the Cubs are wheelin' and dealin' arms as well. They traded inconsistent pitcher LaTroy Hawkins (1-4, 3.32 ERA, 4/8 sv) to the Giants for two 23-year old pitchers, Jerome Williams and David Aardsma. They're going to be sent to AAA immediately but will resurface and make contributions.

By no means do the Cubs have a good chance to even compete for the wild card, but if they still play hard and keep the hope alive by the time Garciaparra, Wood and Prior come back, they may be able to salvage the season. As it stands the Cubs are 23-24, already 8 games behind the elite St. Louis Cardinals (31-16). Finishing second in the division ahead of up-and-coming Milwaukee (24-23) would be a small victory for an injury-plagued year; that way Cubs can take that confidence and move the chess pieces into a position for a future pennant run in 2006.



Blogger rfetesrfg said...

Your blog is so incredible, you make Ghandi look like a child pornographer.

May 29, 2005 12:14 AM  

Blogger Cullen said...

Just to remind you...they were in far worse shape a few years ago, yet still made the playoffs......they are in good shape if prior comes back as expected(within the 15 days).

May 30, 2005 8:13 AM  

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