May 28, 2005
Friday's easy 10-3 win over the Rockies was marred by a freakish injury to Mark Prior. In the fourth inning, Brad Hawpe hit a rocket that I read was clocked at 117 mph, hitting Prior in his pitching elbow. The ball hit Prior so hard that it bounced into the air high enough for Aramis Ramirez to have to dive behind third base to catch. Prior fractured a bone in his arm and it sounds like he will be out until the All-Star Break at the very earliest. Hopefully the Cubs will still be in contention in the second half, but if not Prior might be shut down for the rest of the year. It is really frustrating for Cubs fans to once again see so many players injured. You especially have to feel bad for Prior, as this will be his fifth trip to the disabled list since he arrived in the majors in 2002. He's still young and hopefully he can overcome his bad luck and still have a great career.
In the meantime, the Cubs are gonna have to figure out who is gonna replace Prior in the rotation. Todd Wellemeyer might get a chance; he did a good job in relief of Prior in Friday's game. Sergio Mitre earned another start after a solid outing against The Rocket and Houston earlier this week, and now it looks more likely that he will stay in the rotation for a while. Glendon Rusch continues to be solid, but Greg Maddux is gonna have to revert to the Greg Maddux of old if the Cubs are gonna have a serious chance. Carlos Zambrano is now the undisputed leader of the rotation and will have to stay healthy and perform well. Hopefully Kerry Wood will be back in just a few weeks; they are gonna need him to be on the top of his game down the stretch.
I'll bet the Cubs are regretting their decision to let Matt Clement leave in the offseason without a fight. Even though he was having a tough time winning games last year, he was still solid and I was disappointed that he left. Coming into the season the starting rotation looked great on paper but any injuries to an injury-prone staff would have put them in serious trouble. Starting pitching has been a strength of the team so far and hopefully someone either in the minors or outside the organization will step up and at least come close to statistically replacing Prior.