Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Cubs Fans, Welcome Kerry Wood Jr.!
He throws his fastball in the upper 90's with ease. He's got a huge K/9IP ratio. But he's been on the DL 6 times since 2005. Thinking about Kerry Wood after this description? Wrong! Look what you've won Chicago, your very own reincarnation of Wood named Rich Harden! Yay!
Harden and Chad Gaudin come to the North Side after parting ways with Matt "the ginger" Murton, Eric Patterson, Sean Gallager and Single A catcher Josh Donaldson.
According to Dave van Dyck from the Tribune, One other scout who watched said Harden has changed since the injuries, throwing "only fastballs and changeups, no sliders or splitters," and that he topped out about 90-92 m.p.h. on the radar gun. Earlier in the year his fastball had been clocked at 94 m.p.h.
Kinda Santana-esque in the fact that he only really throws two pitches, but Harden is no Santana. And he's only throwing in the low 90's, that's not good. Santana is in the 93-95 range, and while it's not a huge difference, every split-second counts.
Harden has had shoulder, elbow, and oblique issues in the past.
I would be cautiously optimistic if I were a Cubs fan. On one hand, you make a statement right back to the Brewers and the rest of the NL Central that you mean business. You get that 2nd starter really need for the postseason.
On the other, Eric Patterson has looked like a hitting machine from what I've seen in a Cubs uniform, and Gallagher has very good stuff. I was never sold on Matt Murton being an everyday starter for the Cubs, so it's good that he gets a chance to do that in Oakland. I don't know anything about the prospect catcher, but I do know that Chad Gaudin has given the Sox fits before in some spot starts.
Just don't expect anything like a Wednesday, May 6th 1998 performance from Harden. He'll give you 5-6 innings every start, and that should be enough to lead to the bullpen.
Speaking of that particular date, you'd swear it was like fucking Kennedy getting shot with Cubs fans' descriptions:
I sitting in my apartment on grace street right off Clark. I had just gotten a thirty pack of Old Style from the Jewel down the street on Southport. It was a warm, beautiful day when number 34, Kid K, earned his nickname. I received 12 phone calls in span of 10 minutes as he piled up the punch outs. It was so magical...