Chat with Bruce Levine, Doug Padilla
Welcome to ESPNChicago.com! Baseball beat reporters Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla stop by Tuesday to chat.
Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000. Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
Send your questions now and join the chat Tuesday at noon CT/1 p.m. ET!
Bruce Levine (1:03 PM)
Welcome to the regular season chat room. nice start for the Chicago teams. Pena is not playing today and most likely not for the next couple of days.
I don't think putting Byrd in the 3-hole is a mistake, and it's very early, but he looks uncomfortable at the plate. Should we Cubs fans give him time or how long until we ask for ARAM or Castro to take his place?
Bruce Levine (1:04 PM)
I would advise time. Swinging the bat in this weather is really no indication of what a player is capable of. It's a little bone-chilling out there these days. No excuses because he has looked behind on the fastball.
Why does Quade insist on platooning Barney/Baker. I think Barney is the better player and Baker is a good backup. Any chance Barney becomes everyday 2nd baseman or will it be a black hole like 3rd base was post Santo. We have not had a good 2nd baseman since Sandberg.
Bruce Levine (1:07 PM)
I think the Cubs would like to see Barney win it outright. But we still don't know if he can be a lead-off hitter and Quade likes Baker leading off against lefties so it becomes a little conviluted. Things have a wau of shaking out though.
Will Colvin be filling in the whole time at 1st Base? Also why is he batting ahead of Soriano who has had some big hits? Finally, how did he injure his thumb? One of Castro's crazy throws or something
Bruce Levine (1:08 PM)
Soriano is in that position because that's where Quade put him but he ii up one level in the lineup hitting sixth. Remember, Quade put him seventh last year when he took over. And you do have a right-handed pitcher today. For Colvin, not necessarily. Baker might start tomorrow although Arizona is throwing another right-hander. I would guess it's Colvin again.
What do you expect from Cashner today? A "quality" start too much to ask?
Bruce Levine (1:09 PM)
If he can get six innings allowing three runs or less I would look at that as a real successful start. Gathering innings, extending out to the sixth and seventh inning without going over his pitch count, is his biggest challenge.
How much of Millar's statement about Piniella's lack of organization is accurate? Or is he just bitter about not making the team last year and now it's time to vent? His comments seem like a pretty lame excuse for a number of players underachieving.
Bruce Levine (1:11 PM)
I'm kind of with you on this. The failure of Ramirez and Lee as well as the young pitchers in the pen have nothing to do with when the lineup was posted. On the other hand, players rather than looking in the mirror will usually blame someone else. Quade will not allow any excuses. It will be difficult for the players to find any if they fail this time around.
Nathan (Decatur, Il)
With the injuries the Cardinals have suffered, do you think the Cubs have a good shot at finishing ahead of the Cardinals in the Central? If so, could they be in the Wild Card race?
Bruce Levine (1:12 PM)
I caution anybody pointing to other teams' injuries as a blueprint for success. I think how the Cubs play will determine where they end up. Is it helpful that other teams lose good players? Yes, but it has little to do with the Cubs playing well.
tom (Marquette University)
Aside from Marmol being out of control by walking batters. I believe the Cubs have the best bullpen in baseball with Marshall Wood and Marmol. Can you name another team close to the talent the Cubs have in the pen.
Bruce Levine (1:13 PM)
The Padres still have a great bullpen as do the Yankees. The White Sox have great potential too.
angel (miami, fl)
Hi Bruce, how serious is Penas injury? Any chance of him going to the DL?
Bruce Levine (1:15 PM)
According to a reliable media source, Pena said he is available today and he definitely wants to play Wednesday. But the team might play it cautious because of the off day on Thursday.
Tyler R. (Knoxville, TN)
I already miss Derrek Lee. I just do not think Pena has looked like a good fit for this team so far. I think Lee would have been a better sign then Pena, Lee is better defensively and will put up a better average.
Bruce Levine (1:16 PM)
I only agree with the better average. Pena is more athletic defensively and will probably hit for more power and drive in more runs. But that's only my opinion.
T.J. McGowan (EIU)
With the Cubs drawing the smallest crowd since '02 is this something we should fear going into the season that people are finally getting tired of a losing team?
Bruce Levine (1:17 PM)
I don't think anybody likes a losing team especially in this day and age. Ticket prices are so high people want to make sure they are getting their money's worth. I believe people are more cautious about how they spend their entertainment dollar. That said, if the Cubs win six or seven in a row the place will be packed.
Castro has looked really good at the plate so far...any chance of him taking over the lead-off position full time?
Bruce Levine (1:18 PM)
He's probably their best first, second and third hitter. They like him at No. 2 because he is going to see a lot more fastballs when men are on base ahead of him. Eventually he is probably a three hitter.
Who do you think will be better overall Soto or Castillo
Bruce Levine (1:20 PM)
Nice problem to have. I don't know. When was the last time the Cubs could project two outstanding catchers? Maybe the late '80s-early 90s when they had Girardi, Berryhill and Rick Wilkins?
Mike (Virginia Beach)
What are the chances that Fukudome is still with the Cubs after the trade deadline
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
Probably pretty good because he will still be owed almost $4.5 million. Unless he has a real good season and the Cubs don't, teams will not be interested.
Alfonso Soriano (Wrigley Field)
Can i hit 40 hr's this year i already have 2 in four games?
Bruce Levine (1:21 PM)
You can if you get into a good whiffle ball league. I think you should be happy with 30.
Bruce,Why in the world are we already getting a start from Koyie Hill? For a team that hasn't had timely hitting to start the season, its going to hurt even more than usual. I certainly hope we don't see him for another 3 weeks, I can't stomach him catching once a week.
Bruce Levine (1:23 PM)
Managers think ahead. The Cubs have an off day on Thursday. That means Soto will have two off days sandwiched by a day that he plays.
What's your prediction for when we'll see Brett Jackson in the Cubs' outfield? Clearly he's the future of this team, and Marlon Byrd has been good for just about one-half of one season....
Bruce Levine (1:24 PM)
It depends on how well the Cubs do and injuries in the outfield. Jackson will be there at some point. They still don't know how Colvin fits in yet.
Bill Wiggins (Rockville, VA)
Did Jerry Krause sign anyone before his sudden departure and did he leave because of lack of finances to pay top prospects?
Bruce Levine (1:25 PM)
Yes and yes. He signed a good-looking left-handed pitcher who they paid $125,000 to. The White Sox are reluctant to spend money in the Dominican.
Eric (Oak Lawn)
is blake dewitt going to get any starts or did he blow his chance in spring
Bruce Levine (1:27 PM)
He will get some but right now he is a backup at second and third. Banrey and Baker will get most of the starts for now.
Cronin (Chicago Ridge)
Now that the Cubs have made Chris Carpenter a RP how long does it take for him to get to Wrigley?
Bruce Levine (1:28 PM)
Probably an hour and 45 minutes on plane. Six hours in a car. I'll use my same line: good health in the bullpen and the Cubs won't need his services for awhile.
Did the Cubs ever consider batting Soto first or second? He had the on base percentage on the team last season. Yes, he's slow, but the Cubs are a station to station team anyway.
Bruce Levine (1:29 PM)
Too slow. It's one thing to be slow and another to be well below average. You don't want guys to hurt themselves. Just let him drive in 85 runs.
Bill (North Side)
Has anything happened with Silva? Any teams make him an offer? He seems to think he's a Cy Young candidate so I'd imagine there would be a lot of interest.
Bruce Levine (1:30 PM)
Not a lot of interest for Silva. Most teams look at him as washed up. Also they consider him having some baggage that he brings with. In most cases it's Hi-Ho-Silva.
Bruce Levine (1:31 PM)
Let's see if the Cubs can get over .500 for the first time since the Ricketts bought the team. See you next Tuesday for our weekly chat. And now here's Doug with the White Sox ...
ESPNChicago.com (1:37 PM)
Doug will be along shortly. He has to go on ESPN 1000 with "Waddle & Silvy." Keep the questions coming ...
Doug Padilla (1:40 PM)
Just landed in KC. Might have to go on the air soon. ESPN 1000.
Has Ozzie set any goals for the month of April? Besides trying to convert a sacrifice bunt before the month ends!
Doug Padilla (1:41 PM)
No goals. Just play well. Ozzie says great starts are fool's gold. You can always go in the tank later. Same with bad starts like last season. They found a way to dig out of that hole only to falter later. He just wants good play. Not bad so far.
How many more outings do we need out of him until Sox brass realize Ohman is not the lefty out of the pen this team needs?
Doug Padilla (1:43 PM)
Lots of Ohman questions. Yes, he has been awful. He's going to get more chances though. Not much you can do with him. You still have to pay him. His opportunities will slow and if this still continues at the end of the month they might take action then.
Doug Padilla (1:44 PM)
Just got out of my radio appearance. So I'll continue on with the chat. Nice bagel shop I'm at on the side of the highway outside of KC.
Is Peavy going to pitch in the big leagues in April?
Doug Padilla (1:46 PM)
Possibly. He will get to 75 pithces this week at Double A then 90 five days after that. He could be back around the 25th of the month. He's feeling much better.
Doug, why is Will Ohman being used SO much?
Doug Padilla (1:48 PM)
Oz wanted Ohman to get back on the mound to get the first bad outing out of his system. That didn't work. Can't quit on a guy after two outings, but his spring was no picnic either.
If the Sox fall out of contention in July, what are the chances of Beuhrle going to the Cardinals?
Doug Padilla (1:50 PM)
They're going to really have to be way behind the division leaders. At least 15 games to start shedding guys. But Buehrle would be a good candidate to go. Unless, of course, he's a big reason they are so far behind. Who would take him at that point?
Will Ohman = Lefty Scott Linebrink
Doug Padilla (1:52 PM)
Yes, this has been a popular joke. It seems to have run its course though.
Can Dunn hit 50 HR's this year?
Doug Padilla (1:53 PM)
He can. Are you asking me if he will? The Cell should be very nice to him this summer when it heats up. Heck, he can crush 'em in the cold too. With PK beind him, 50 is reachable.
Cheese (Washington, D.C.)
What's the first change Ozzie makes this season?
Doug Padilla (1:54 PM)
Everybody looks to be well set in their spots. If I had to pick something, I'd say he changes his closer to Sale or Santos if Thornton struggles. But I think Thornton will be just fine in that role.
Will I FINALLY win the Gold Glove?
Doug Padilla (1:55 PM)
Yes. If you don't, I will lead the investigation.
What has impressed you most with Dunn so far?
Doug Padilla (1:56 PM)
He's just pretty calm and collected. He's a really good guy. You're going to have to be OK with yourself when you strike out so much. I'm sure the fans will get on him at some point for his Ks. But his HRs are his redemption.
wasnt ohman supposed to just face lefties or did that change when they only kept 11 in the bullpen?
Doug Padilla (1:57 PM)
Yeah, that did change a little. Everybody is going to have to do a little heavier lifting. I'm guessing Ohman goes to mopup duty now until he can figure out what's wrong. Somebody is sure to ask Ozzie about it today.
Any chatter from Sox coaches on why Rios has struggled so far?
Doug Padilla (1:58 PM)
Rios is fine. He hit the ball as hard as anybody in the first two games. He crushed two balls that the wind knocked down. Should easily have 2 HRs and about 5 RBI.
greg (north side)
Do you see Ozzie switching Paulie and Dunn in the order to break up the 3 righties at 4-5-6?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
That would take some drastic sttruggles by somebody. The offense is fine. If it was a priority he would have started the season that way.
Where's Oney at?
Doug Padilla (1:59 PM)
He's on Twitter. Check him out.
frank (St Louis)
How good will the Royals be this year? Better than Cleveland, but any chance they can finish in the top three of he division?
Doug Padilla (2:01 PM)
Haven't seen much of the new KC. Sorry Frank. But according to the SI time machine, they win a bunch of titles later in the decade.
Ken (Oak Brook)
Are the White Sox the slowest team in baseball (on the base paths)?
Doug Padilla (2:02 PM)
They're slow in the midle for sure. But with Pierre and Gordon up top and Ramirez and Morel at the bottom, they're about average. Rios can run in the middle too.
Ozzie Guillen (Kauffman Stadium)
I'm thinking of batting Alexi behind Quentin. What do you think?
Doug Padilla (2:03 PM)
Oz likes the lefty there. If AJ batted right-handed that would be a slam dunk.
Any coaches worried about Morel's 2 errors in 1 game? Or was that just due to weather?
Doug Padilla (2:04 PM)
That was due to a ball he bobbled. He then overcompensated and tried to rush a throw. It was a young guy doing too much. Don't worry about his defense. He's only going to get better with big league experience.
Should we concerned by Danks outing last weekend?
Doug Padilla (2:05 PM)
What did he have 9 Ks I think it was? What's to worry about? He made a mistake to Cabrera and didn't get much run support.
Ryan (Arlington Heights)
Oney vs. Joe Cowley in a cage match. Who would win?
Doug Padilla (2:06 PM)
All of us from laughing so hard.
Brooks Boyer (The Cell)
Sox Fans - come out and support the team this weekend!
Doug Padilla (2:07 PM)
The hardest working marketing guy in the game. Good luck to your ND women's team.
Ozzie said that Teahen would be the backup to 3rd base rather than Omar. Why? Hasn't he seen Teahen play 3rd base? Any trade possibilities around the league as of yet to trade Teahen, for salary dump?
Doug Padilla (2:09 PM)
The guy had one of the hottest bats this spring. Oz wants to try it out. He will play the most of any of the reserves. And if you don't like the guy, what makes you think another team wants to take him?
...how many more pieces of gum do you think I can fit in my mouth?
Doug Padilla (2:10 PM)
I don't know. I'll meet you in the clubhouse right now so I can videotape it. I'm outta here. Anybody want a bagel?
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