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a little followup on anthony reyes' disablement: prospect expert john sickels had a q+a thread yesterday at his blog Minor League Ball (found right here on SB Nation), so i queried. you have to scroll way down to find our exchange -- so don't bother, just read it right here:

lboros on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 11:21:53 AM CST
anthony reyes went on the dl again with a sore shoulder --- 3d yr in a row. will he ever be healthy enough to become a useful big leaguer?

John Sickels on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 12:18:35 PM CST
Remember a 80s/90s pitcher named Steve Ontiveros? Good stuff, good command, pitched extremely well at times but was constantly injured? I think that is the future for Reyes.

here is steve ontiveros's career . . . . in consideration of which i am hoping the bombardment of questions in that q+a thread left sickels temporarily incapacitated.

Update [2005-6-17 11:14:17 by lboros]: also on triple-a front: adam wainwright pitched well but lost at round rock last night. 6 ip, 7 h, 2 er, 1 w, 5 k.

moving on: my pal al at Bleed Cubbie Blue (another SB Nationeer . . . . hope The Man sees me pimping my ass off out here) took advantage of yesterday's off day to parse the cubs' schedule betw now and the all-star break. the cubs play 23 games in that stretch; al's got his fingers crossed for 14 wins. BCB admits this is an idle exercise, and of course it is -- hence irresistible to me, so here i go. but i'm going to re-set the horizon from the all-star break to the next cards-cubs series, which takes place a week after action resumes. that's 30 games, taking us through the 95th game of the year. of the 67 games that will then ensue, 14 will pit the cards and cubs against each other.

but the race may -- ought to -- be all but over by then. over the next 30 games, the cards will play seven games against the two worst teams in baseball (tampa bay and colorado) and eight more against the two worst teams in the comedy central (houston and cincinnati). they have only four games against a plus-.500 opponent -- arizona, who may well be at or below .500 by the time we travel there in july. while the birds skip through that supposed competition, the cubs have to face two division leaders (the white sox and nats) and three wild-card contenders (fish, yankees, and braves) -- with four of those five series on the road. the cubs face only one truly easy opponent -- the reds, right before they meet the cardinals at busch on july 22. here are the full scheds:

dates cards cubs
jun 17-19 at tb (.348) at nyy (.508)
jun 20-22/23 at cin (.394) at mil (.446)
jun 22/23-26 pgh (.469 ) at chisox (.662)
jun 28-30 cin (.394) mil (.446)
jul 1-3 colo (.328) wash (.591)
jul 4-7 at ariz (.522) at atl (.515)
jul 8-10 at sf (.422) at fla (.524)
jul 14-17 hou (.406) pgh (.469)
jul 18-21 mil (.446) at cin (.394)

if the cards win 20 of those 30, they're disappointed; if the cubs win 20, they're sky high. even an 18-12 record (.600 ball) is satisfactory for the northsiders -- yet they could achieve that and still lose three or four games in the standings . . . .

we can simplify this by just looking at the next three series. the cards play tampa, cincy, and pittsburgh; the cubs are at the bronx, milwaukee, and the white sox. with rolen back (see below) and the bullpen at full strength, stl should bear down and try to sweep at least one of those series, win 8 or 9 of the 10, maybe run their lead out to 8 or 9 games. they seemed a bit unfocused in toronto, coming off their big wins v the yankees and boxos . . . or maybe it was just me who lacked focus. whatever. what i'm trying to say is that these are big games -- the next 10; the next 30.

i'll track the latter segment separately in the "perfect world" box (left-hand sidebar, if you've never noticed it) -- wins and losses in the "countdown to cubs" portion of the slate. looks like i can retire the "without rolen" line; he's due back from the dl this weekend, with (presumably) skippy schumaker returning to memphis with our thanks. the cards went 21-12 during rolen's convalesence (.636) and did it against good competition -- 18 games against teams at or above .500. of the 10 series they played without scott, stl won 7, lost 2, split 1. . . . . i hope the guy is 100 percent, but something tells me he isn't. he seems in a hurry to be back.

Update [2005-6-17 11:37:1 by lboros]: blog misinformation alert: rolen's not being activated just yet; he joins the team in tampa but won't be activated until monday at the earliest . . . . i'm fine with it. take your time scotty