Game Sixty-Eight: Cubs (26-41) vs. Tigers (45-24)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 180
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Mark Prior (0-0, -.–) vs. Kenny Rogers (9-3, 3.25)
Updated – 10:48am C.T./1:21pm C.T. – Glendon Rusch to be placed on 15-day DL – Angel Pagan Transferred to 60-Day DL
Happy Father’s Day to all….today is the day that some wondered would ever come this season, Mark Prior making a start for the Chicago Cubs. Prior should have started the second game of the season but instead he has been on the 60-day DL and 68 games into the season he is scheduled to come off the DL and attempt to end the Cubs 5-game losing streak, a tough task especially against lefty Kenny Rogers who has been very good for the Tigers all season. When Prior went down in March with a strained muscle in his right shoulder many thought that was the reason the Cubs were attempting to trade him last off-season, others thought Prior was upset with the organization for attempting to trade him in the off-season. Jim Hendry has denied the rumors of shopping Prior and regardless of what happened in the off-season, Prior needs to prove his critics wrong and show the baseball world why he deserves to be mentioned among the leagues top pitchers.
Prior has not pitched since September 28 against the Pirates, he and the Cubs lost the game and Prior allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 7 strikeouts….that was the 2-game series that the Pirates swept and all but ended the Cubs chances at .500 for the season. Now Prior makes his first start of the season for a club that cannot score enough runs to support their starting pitchers and ranks just above the Kansas City Royals for the fewest runs scored in all of baseball. The Cubs are hitting just .235 this season with runners in scoring position, just above the Oakland A’s for last in the Majors as well.
The Cubs’ offense will not get any breaks today against Kenny Rogers. Rogers has pitched better than anyone expected and with the Cubs struggles against lefties this season (7-14) the Cubs will need a breakout day in order to end the losing streak and salvage the last game of the home stand. The Cubs are 1-4 this season against the American League.
The Cubs will have to make possibly two roster moves in order for Prior to pitch today. All indications are that either Carlos Marmol or Angel Guzman will be sent back down to the Minors and if that is the case the Cubs will also have to remove a player from the 40-man roster. The move that makes the most sense….probably will not happen, the release of Glendon Rusch. Rusch should be designated for assignment and allow Marmol and Guzman to learn how to pitch in the Majors out of the bullpen, both have promise and Rusch has been horrible in both roles….time to move on and put the Glendon Rusch era in Chicago behind them.
“When I’m Sixty-Four”….well hopefully it does not take that long for the Cubs to get to and win the World Series, but in this case today is Sir Paul McCartney’s 64th Birthday. For those of you that are Beatles fans it is hard to believe.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….
Update – ESPN 1000 in Chicago is reporting that Glendon Rusch will be placed on the 15-day DL with back spasms. Will update the 40-man roster move and any additional information when it becomes available.
Update – The Cubs have not made the move official or announced why, I have my “guesstimations”, but they transferred Angel Pagan to the 60-Day DL before Sunday’s game.