Smile Politely

Let’s Talk About Cubs Pitching Come Playoff Time

I’m finding it difficult to write about anything other than the post-season. Call me crazy, start writing in about the Cubs inevitable collapse if you’d like — but I still think there’s no way they won’t be in the playoffs. Wildcard maybe, but in the playoffs nonetheless.

That said, before I get into the post-season topic burning my mind, I liked the six players the Cubs called up yesterday when rosters expanded. I love the September roster expansion. Gives playoff contenders a chance to rest some of their regulars and stay fresh and it gives teams out of the hunt an opportunity to see some of their future talent. Either way, it encourages every organization to put strong emphasis on having a deep farm system. As the Yankees continue to prove again and again, it’s not always about the money you spend if you don’t have quality prospects to bring up (or use as trade bait) to the big club. I could take this into a conversation about how baseball’s Luxury Tax is a far more brilliant system than the NFL or NBAs Salary Cap, but I digress…that’s probably an off-season discussion.

Yes, the Cubs called up the inevitable third catcher in Koyie Hill, big bat Micah Hoffpauir, every position Casey McGahee and three arms: Wuertz, Lieber and Angel Guzman.

Guzman is certainly the most intriguing; he has the stuff to have a similar impact as Samardzija. We’ll see if he can put it together. I think Pie will be up after Iowa is finished in the playoffs. I think we could use him as a pinch runner for sure…

So playoffs. Lots of discussion about the rotation. Especially in a short 5 game set. Here’s my opinion, let me know what you think. Assuming we win the division, I go Zambrano, Dempster, Harden. Here’s why. Starting with Zambrano may not make much sense given his performance lately, but putting Dempster in the two spot also puts dempster in the game five slot and let’s face it, he’s our best. Allowing Harden to go #3 puts him in position to start the first game on the road. Harden has been flat our nas-tay since joining the Cubs and is probably their most dominant starter, why not run him out there for the first road content, especially if it’s in Arizona.

What about Lilly you say? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten him. Lilly could be used in Game 4 if the Cubs win the first two games, but I’d prefer to him used as first out of the bullpen as a completely different look from the hard throwing right-handers. Let’s face it, Piniella will not let any of his starters collapse in the playoffs; give up four runs in three innings and you’ll get the hook – in comes Lilly.

Lou knows the key will be keeping it close with this comeback-prone offense.

And yes, I intentionally did not talk about instant replay, at least not right now.

Ok, so they’re using it for home run calls, it’s certainly worth testing out…but let’s not take it too far.

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