Samardzija In, Gaudin Out?; Playoff News

Lou Piniella has announced that Jeff Samardzija will in fact make the 2008 Cubs playoff roster. Having already announced an 11 man playoff pitching staff, this may be bad news for the Chad Gaudin. The final 2 bullpen spots are going to come from Samardzija, Gaudin, and Bob Howry. While the major media outlets (as in, even more major than TD) are all speculating that the announcement of Samardzija getting the nod spells bad news for Gaudin, don't forget that Bruce Miles said just last Tuesday that he'd be "surprised" to see Howry make the roster.

Gaudin has been solid since the trade from Oakland that also netted Rich Harden in exchange for a Patterson, Sean Gallagher, and a warm case of Old Milwaukee, but a recent injury and resulting lack of confidence in his breaking stuff may have Gaudin watching the playoffs from the sidelines. If Gaudin can somehow convince the Cubs managerial staff that he can hack it, maybe he gets the nod over Howry. But it's not looking good.

It's also looking like, against my learned and always uber-impeccable advice, that Jason Marquis is going to make the playoff squad in a relief role. To tune up for the role, Marquis pitched in relief in last night's dub against the Brewers. How'd it go? 0.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 H, 2 Ernies. Dude sucks guys. Dude sucks. But hey, poor Jason's "passion" is starting...""Starting's my passion, starting is what I feel my best at," Marquis said Saturday. "But we have four pretty good starters, too. We all have confidence in each other. They made a decision to go with the other four [starters], and that's fine." (Link to his dumb quote)

Here's how the hurlers will line up:
SPs: 1. Dempster, 2. Zambrano, 3. Harden, 4. Lilly
RPs: Wood, Marmol, Samardzija, Marquis, Marshall, Cotts, & Howry/Gaudin?

Lou is set to announce the position players for the playoff roster probably today.

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In playoff news-it's all coming down to today's last day of the regular season. With the 3 NL division winners set (Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies) it's up to the New York Metropolitans and the Milwaukee Choke...Brewers to determine the wild card. New York is home to the Marlins, who Johan Santana beat yesterday 2-0 on short rest. Oliver Perez goes for the Mets, Scott Olsen for the Marlins. The Cubs, of course, are on the road to Milwaukee. Some dude named CC Sabathia going for the Brew Crew, Angel Guzman (!) for the Cubs. (Sidebar: This matchup seems so wildly uneven doesn't it? The arguable NL Cy Young/MVP vs. a dude who's pitched 94 innings of 6.13 ERA ball across 3 seasons. A team fighting for their playoff lives against a team that clinched over a week ago. But just watch...the Cubs will win this game today. The Brewers, somehow, will blow this...again. And it will be funny. Not to mention helpful-we want the Mets, not the Dodgers.)

If both the Mets and Brewers win today, they will remain tied and will be forced into a one game playoff on Monday in New York. If both lose, same thing.

If the Mets win and the Brewers lose-the Cubs, with the best record in the NL, will face the wild card Mets in the NLDS.

If the Brewers win and the Mets lose-the Cubs will instead face the Dodgers as a division winner can not face a wild card team that comes from its own division in the first round of the playoffs.

We've got to be rooting for the former situation here. I think we want to face the Mets over the Dodgers. The Cubs, at least Alfonso Soriano, agree. The Mets have been battling to make the playoffs while the Dodgers, like the Cubs, have had it sewn up for a while. The Dodgers have been resting players and aligning their pitching staff. The Mets have been forced to throw Johan Santana on short rest, play their balls off, and struggle to even get in. Additionally...the Cubs didn't fare too well having to travel way out west last year to play the Dbacks.

Actually...the best possible situation for the Cubs would be if the Mets/Brewers had to play this playoff game on Monday and have the Mets win that. More innings equals more tired, mentally and physically, players, and less rest for the pitchers. Were that to occur, the Mets would then have to go on the road and somehow be ready to begin the playoffs in Chicago on Wednesday. I'll take it.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out. Either way, though...the Cubs playoff run begins Wednesday. Check in often to TD as we run up to and through the playoffs with the great in-depth and statistically heavy analysis you've come to expect from us. We gon' bring it, and we gon' bring its good.

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