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Posted By Paul Jackson On Mar 31 2011 @ 3:34 pm In Chicago Cubs | 1 Comment
It is MLB Opening Day and I’m enjoying the Yankees and Tigers on ESPN as I write. It’s one day before Chicago Cubs opening day at Wrigley against the Pirates. As I prepare to watch this season, Mike Quade has had to make some final tweaks to the roster in preparation to play and has shown a willingness to let the youth step in and take over.
Blake Dewitt failed to show up this Spring, despite the fact the Cubs were going to hand him the starting 2B job. Darwin Barney had a great Spring after compiling a .286 BA in 4 minor League seasons. He hit .340 in 21 games, with a .411 OBP, 6 RBI and 7 Runs. Jeff Baker had a great Spring as well, hitting .360 with 1 Home Run and 6 RBI but he’s better suited for a reserve/utility infielder role. All that being said, Barney seems to have played himself into the Second Baseman starting role. It is great to see one of the home-grown Cubs come in and make some noise. I know it’s only Spring Training but the best thing you can do in Spring is play well, and he did exactly that.
Andrew Cashner is another young Cub who was able to take the reigns during Spring Training and never give them up. He was battling Carlos Silva and Braden Looper late into Spring for the fifth spot in the Starting Rotation. The Cubs promptly cut ties with Looper and the $11.5 million long relief/AAA starter to be, Carlos Silva after terrible Springs. As for Andrew Cashner, he finished with a 4.41 ERA in 16.1 IPs and that was enough to earn him the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He’ll make his first start as a Chicago Cub next Tuesday, April 5th against the Diamondbacks.
I feel good about this season. With a lot of the players that were on the team in 2007 & 2008, teams that won back-to-back division titles, there is no reason to think things can’t click all season long. Yes, there are questions and ifs but there is never one team who has nothing to count on or say “what if” about. The Cubs are healthy. They have some youth. They have some Vets. We should have a solid bullpen and a respectable rotation this year. If we can play some defense and hit the ball with any kind of consistency, we can make a run at a winnable NL Central.
Check back on Monday for my recap of the opening series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Happy Opening Day and Go Cubs!!!
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