Out of nowhere, Silva stays in the picture


Out of nowhere, Silva stays in the picture

Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Posted: 7:48 p.m.

By Patrick Mooney

MESA, Ariz. Carlos Silva viewed this as a last chance. He had no idea what was going to happen and still doesnt but he needed it for his state of mind.

Silva pulled his blue socks up to his knees on Wednesday, a different look for a pitcher who desperately hoped to change his luck. He normally wears his pants baggy, long around the cleats, which causes rips. He says hes not superstitious the only other available pair ran short.

A month from his 32nd birthday, Silva can be insecure, sensitive and emotional. The pressure to compete for a spot in the rotation has weighed on him heavily. And as the Cubs finished off a 3-1 victory over the Oakland As, a religious man stood in front of his locker and said: Thank God for this game. I know I can pitch.

The 9,061 fans at HoHoKam Park saw Silva make his case for the rotation. He stretched out to six innings and allowed only one run on three hits. He retired the final 10 batters he faced, and 17 of the final 18.

When I cross that line with high confidence, Silva said, when I feel strong, powerful in my mind, its like (a) whole different pitcher out there.

All of a sudden Silva looked nothing like the guy who allowed 26 runs 20 earned on 29 hits through his first 11.1 innings. After Wednesdays game, Silva had lowered his ERA from 15.88 to 10.90.

At times Silva blamed his defenders, which led to a dugout altercation with Aramis Ramirez, and rationalized it as balls just finding holes. But really opponents made it look like batting practice this spring.

On a sunny, 67-degree afternoon, Silva did what manager Mike Quade dared him to do: Make it tough on me.

Quade said a decision on the fifth starter wasnt set in stone. He mentioned that ideally it would be finalized before Saturday, when Andrew Cashner starts again and tries to extend beyond four innings for the first time this spring.

But if it took watching another Cashner audition, Quade said he was good with that. Two data points released Wednesday indirectly showed you where the Cubs are at with Silva and Cashner.

Forbes assessed the Cubs as baseballs fourth-most valuable franchise at 773 million, which represents a six percent increase from the year before. They are a big-market team with resources that must figure out what to do with the 13.5 million Silvas guaranteed.

Baseball America also unveiled its minor-league system rankings and slotted the Cubs at No. 16, a drop from the top tier because of the prospects it took to import Matt Garza from Tampa Bay. They are invested in the idea of the homegrown Cashner, a 2008 first-round pick and a billboard for how the organization wants to run.

Even Silva knew his time could be running out with the Cubs.

This is a business, Silva said. If Ive been pitching good and got traded, Im going to be ok, but I dont want to walk out the door the way I was pitching.

(If they said) we need to trade you because were not going to use you, we dont need you here (thats) tough. One of the greatest places to pitch is Chicago and I would love to be there.

Silva said hed be fine if the Cubs asked him to come out of the bullpen. But hes too proud to ignore the chance to make the rotation.

When you say something to me like: Youre in the competition for the fifth-starter (spot) Im going to kill people for (it).

Quade is not an old-school manager like Lou Piniella or Yogi Berra. But he sounded like one before Wednesdays game, when a reporter asked if Braden Looper was still in the mix.

Looper will relieve Garza on Thursday against the White Sox, his second straight appearance out of the bullpen, which shows the Cubs could be looking at him as a long man. It could be either Looper or Silva for a final bullpen spot.

Until youre gone, youre here, Quade said.

Everyone assumed Silva was a goner. But after this performance the manager had to admit: The plot thickens.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Cubs set World Series roster, complete with Kyle Schwarber

Cubs set World Series roster, complete with Kyle Schwarber

CLEVELAND - The Chicago Cubs set their 25-man roster for the World Series Tuesday morning.

There's a phrase a lot of Cubs fans may have thought they'd never be reading.

The World Series kicks off Tuesday night in Cleveland as the Indians and Cubs square off in a Game 1 matchup between Corey Kluber and Jon Lester. 

And with the roster announcement comes the official declaration that Kyle Schwarber will be back in a uniform and will take the field as an active player.

Schwarber, rehabbing from a torn ACL and LCL in the first week of the season, spent the last couple days seeing live pitching and getting some game action in the Arizona Fall League. He flew to Cleveland Monday night to get ready for the World Series.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

To add Schwarber - the franchise leader in postseason home runs - to the roster, the Cubs removed left-handed relief pitcher Rob Zastryzny from the NLCS roster. Zastryzny was added as another weapon to combat all the Los Angeles Dodgers' left-handed hitters, but the rookie never got into a game.

Here's the rest of the Cubs World Series roster:


Willson Contreras
Miguel Montero
David Ross


Anthony Rizzo
Kris Bryant
Javy Baez
Addison Russell


Dexter Fowler
Jason Heyward
Ben Zobrist
Albert Almora Jr.
Chris Coghlan
Kyle Schwarber
Jorge Soler


Jon Lester
Jake Arrieta
Kyle Hendricks
John Lackey


Aroldis Chapman
Hector Rondon
Pedro Strop
Carl Edwards Jr.
Justin Grimm
Mike Montgomery
Travis Wood

Schwarber is listed as an outfielder, but he will almost assuredly not play the field and act simply as a designated hitter during games in Cleveland or a pinch hitter in Chicago.

Zobrist spent most of the season playing second base, but he's been in the outfield almost exclusively in the postseason in order to get Baez - the breakout star of October - into the lineup every day.

The Cubs released a hype video for Schwarber's return:

The Indians also released their roster, with their own injured star (pitcher Danny Salazar) returning as well:


Yan Gomes
Roberto Perez


Jason Kipnis
Francisco Lindor
Mike Napoli
Jose Ramirez
Carlos Santana
Michael Martinez


Lonnie Chisenhall
Coco Crisp
Rajai Davis
Brandon Guyer
Tyler Naquin


Corey Kluber
Josh Tomlin
Trevor Bauer
Ryan Merrit


Cody Allen
Andrew Miller
Bryan Shaw
Danny Salazar
Mike Clevinger
Jeff Manship
Zach McAllister
Dan Otero

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

Morning Update: Cubs open World Series tonight; Hawks lose in shootout

Here are some of the biggest stories from the day in Chicago sports:

Complete Cubs-Indians World Series Game 1 coverage on CSN

Blackhawks get a point but Kris Versteeg wins it for Flames in shootout

Cubs see Kyle Schwarber looming as potential World Series hero

Five Things from Blackhawks-Flames: Same old story on the penalty kill

Local product and former fan Jason Kipnis has 'zero conflict' extending Cubs' World Series title drought

Bears get Jay Cutler back as QB competition with Brian Hoyer fades to black

No-brainer: Cubs rolling with Jon Lester again in World Series Game 1

The making of a superstar: Kris Bryant believes in Cubs — not goats or curses

What can the Cubs expect from the Cleveland Indians in the World Series?