The Chicago Cubs finish April at 12-14, which is not, in itself, a terrible number. But when that April featured 15 games against the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Astros and Padres, you’d like to believe the Cubs could have pulled out a few more wins. The Cubs didn’t quite lose it in April, but they certainly didn’t test anyone’s theory that you can’t win it in April.
- I am prone to hyperbole. This, I know. But right now, as we speak, the Chicago Cubs are preparing to make the single most pathetic, inexcusable, unexplainable, unthinking decision in the last 20 years. Do I have to say it? They’re preparing to start James Russell *AGAIN* on Monday. What was a bad decision the first time, a surprisingly bad decision the second time, and an absolutely bafflingly awful decision the third time, now lives again. There remains a tiny chance that the Cubs will call up someone like Jay Jackson to take the start, but if James Russell indeed starts on Monday, this organization should be metaphorically blindfolded and shot. And I’m flexible on the blindfold.
- Though it ceased to be an excuse two weeks ago, the Cubs seem hellbent on justifying Russell in the rotation by suggesting there isn’t anyone else available to take the spot. Even if that were true (and it isn’t) the organization should be *humiliated* that it couldn’t find a *single* pitcher to take a couple spot starts from a guy who *clearly* isn’t capable of doing so. But, as I said, it isn’t even true: Jay Jackson is now stretched out. So is Ramon Ortiz. There was always youngsters Rafael Dolis and Alberto Cabrera at AA. There are guys who’ve been terrible at AAA who might as well have gotten a shot. And then there’s Jeff Samardzija, who easily could have been stretched out by now (see how desperate I am?). If Russell goes again, this issue will become my Alamo. I will never forget.
- Mike Quade’s ejection last night was both well-timed and, it turns out, based on a mistake. The second-base call that Quade came out to argue - whether an errant throw pulled Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew off the bag – was called correctly.
- Alfonso Soriano now leads Major League Baseball in home runs (tied with Ryan Braun at 10). The rest of the Cubs combined have just 10.
- Despite his struggles, Ryan Dempster emphatically denies that he’s hurt, or that there’s anything physically wrong with him. Which is… good news?
- Gordon Wittenmyer calls the discussion of Starlin Castro at second base, which was prompted by a thoughtful and considered Dave Kaplan post, a “knee-jerk” reaction to Castro’s defensive struggles. A subtle shot at his crosstown colleague? Probably. Mike Quade denied that the Cubs are thinking about moving Castro because they believe his long-term future is as a successful shortstop (which, recall, was my conclusion on the matter). But to call such a discussion “knee-jerk,” given the fact that moving Castro to second base was the plan as recently as last year, seems a bit thoughtless.
- Want to get hammered on a Tuesday? Starting May 10 (against the Cardinals, no less), the Cubs will be offering $3 beer in the bleachers.Try to limit your party fouls.