Yes, the blown call at second base yesterday preceded the Marlins’s scoring in the 8th. I get that. A correct call, and the Cubs are out of the inning with no runs scored. But, at the same time, Kerry Wood allowed three more base runners after that, and three runs. It’s not like we’re talking about one cheap single, or one close walk. That makes it harder to feel like the blown call caused the loss as much as crappy pitching did.
- Mike Quade sure was pissed, though. “I don’t make a lot of excuses,” Quade said. “I probably could have got run two or three times in this series alone. Thrown out three times, young manager, all that crap. But it’s getting tough to watch some of this. I have all the respect in the world for [umpires]. We’ve heard a lot of [negative] comments lately and I’ve tried to stay out of it, but there were a couple of calls in this series that were mind-boggling. And were crucial and huge. Not just two out and nobody on stuff. And [there were] some comments made [by umpires] and other stuff that irritated me.”
- Kerry Wood said the call was “terrible” and “butchered.” It was both. I don’t think either of Quade’s or Wood’s comments are bad enough to merit any kind of punishment, but they should probably be careful over the next couple of weeks.
- Randy Wells says he’s still adjusting post-forearm injury. “I’m trying to be too fine instead of cutting loose and letting things work in your favor,” he said. “I think a lot of that comes from not trusting yourself. You come back from an injury, and I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but you have a pretty good spring training, and then you start the season, then go through rehabs. The swagger hasn’t been there, I guess. You try to talk yourself through things instead of letting my pitches work.” Yes, I suppose confidence is a part of his issue. But his velocity is down a couple ticks (it wasn’t very fast to begin with), and he’s not hitting his spots. If Wells can’t hit his spots precisely, as he did in 2009 and 2010, he can’t be successful.
- Pitching coach Mark Riggins says James Russell learned a lot while starting, which has translated to success in the bullpen. “[H]e didn’t win [as a starter] but he learned a lot. He gained more confidence in picking up a [cut fastball] and splitter.” Oh, well, then the decision to start him five(!!!) times was a good one! At least the Cubs have learned their lesson on Russell, as Riggins said: “I know he likes starting, but when you find a guy that’s doing a great job you hate to mess that up by switching. Now he’s starting to establish himself as a quality left-handed reliever at the big league level, and you don’t want to take that away from him.”
- The Economist says we’re Cubs fans because it’s a safe choice for us. We expect them to lose, so when they (inevitably) do, we feel baseline. But when they win, we feel good. If we were, say, fans of the Red Sox, we would never feel good, because the baseline of feeling is a win. We’d feel terrible when they lose, but just adequate when they win. So says the Economist, anyway…