Larry Who? Cubs Still Getting K's

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Larry, Larry, quite contrary. Also, Yankees suck.

Remember Larry Rothschild? He hasn't been gone for that long. He's with the Yankees now, but from 2002 to 2010 Larry worked with Cub hurlers as the team's pitching coach. Throughout his career, Rothschild has been considered a successful coach, and during his time with the Cubs pundits often pointed to team strikeout totals to make their case.

Consider the following: between 2001 and 2008, the Cubs led the league in strikeouts. In 2009, they were 2nd, and in 2010 they were 4th. 
Interestingly, here we are four games into the 2011 season, and which team do you suppose is already back on top of the strikeout leaderboard? 

Indeed, it's the Cubs, with 40 -- and I'll preempt you rate-state nitpickers by also pointing out that the Cubs are the only team with a double-digit K/9 rate so far this season, with 10 K per 9 innings pitched.
The Cubs have six pitchers with at least three innings already this year, and of that group, only Carlos Zambrano failed to get a strikeout per inning -- he only notched four in his six-inning start. The others: Ryan Dempster (7 in 6.2), Randy Wells (6 in 6), Kerry Wood (4 in 3), Carlos Marmol (3 in 3), and Matt "The New Guy" Garza (12 in 7). 
So, should you make the call to Vegas and bet on the Cubs leading the league in K's again? Let's think. Demp, Woodie and Marmol have always had great K-rates, so they're fine bets to continue the trend. And I'm not so sure people think of Z as a K-machine, but his career rate is actually 7.71 strikeouts per 9 IP, which is pretty solid. That leaves three other significant names to consider:
- Randy Wells. You shouldn't listen to anything I have to say about him because I am irrationally bullish. He' a career 6 K/9 guy, but I think he's primed to improve this season. (What's that? You think I'm biased by one start against the offense that struck out the most often last season by far? Poppycock!!)
- Matt Garza. In terms of career K-rate, he's closer to Z and Wells than he is Dempster. But he's also a career AL guy. By getting to face the opponent's pitcher 60 or 70 times in a season, plus the fact that Houston and Pittsburgh's offenses suck worse than the Orioles' and Rays', Matt could conceivably end up in Dempster territory (~8 K per 9 IP career).
The last name in the discussion is the Cubs' fifth starter, which as of today refers to Andrew Cashner. And speaking of today, the kid's due to pitch in like an hour. How about that?
Forget Larry; this franchise could yet again be positioned to yet again snag the title for team strikeouts within a season. Hey, at least we might win something!

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  • The first injury of the year belongs to Pena, who will miss today's game with a thumb injury. Colvin to start at 1B in his stead.

  • Good start for Cashner. 1-2-3 inning with 3 groundball outs.

  • Got a run, lets get some more.

  • And Fukudome runs through a stop sign and ends the inning thrown out at the plate. 2-0 Cubs, but fuuuuuuck. There could have been more.

  • Eh, I'll take the two. You really think Byrd woulda done something in the next at-bat?

  • Straight Cash, Andy (can that be his nickname please?) gives up a solo shot and it's 2-1 Cubs.

  • I also like Cash Money, speaking of obvious nicknames. There's also Kashi.

  • I'll pass on Kashi.

  • HR Tyler Colvin!!!! 4-1 Cubs!

  • Kashi freaking rules! Check yourself!

  • Enright isn't long for this game. The Cubs are lighting him up.

  • Andrew is pitching very well and Castro already looks like a better SS than last year.

  • The range has never been a problem; it's those throws over to first, particularly when he has a lot of time to make it. But yeah, he looks fine to me early on. Also he's a hitting MACHINE.

  • The Cubs are using the anti - AL lineup today. Having Hill and Cashner in the lineup is like letting two pitchers hit.

  • AJ - random, but that "hitting MACHINE" comment reminded me of the European exchange student from Can't Hardly Wait. "I am a sex machine! Sex machine!"

  • Cashner just left the game with an undisclosed injury. Pat and Keith sound baffled.

  • Len and Bob baffled too. We'll see what's up.

  • Smardjuzijahzjia in to pitch. Committing harakiri..... NOW

  • Tightness in his pitching shoulder. That isn't a positive.

  • Get Mateo out of there damn it!

  • Holy balls did he pitch like garbage. Save us, Russell.

  • Unfuckingbelievable. The bullpen just shat itself and it's a tie game.

  • Cubs get the lead back, putting James Russell in line for the coveted 'blown save/win.'

  • Cubs win. An ugly one, but it's a win. We're above .500.

  • Can we clone kerry to cover the middle innings?

  • Yeah we don't have a particularly shutdown reliever in the whole lot. At least Marmol only walks guys, rather than give up hits.

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