The Cubs are now a season-low 23.5 games out of first place in the NL Central, and are quickly approaching their reverse magic number. At this pace, they will be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in a week.
- Phil Rogers says the Bruce Levine report that Wrigley Field will get the All-Star Game in 2016 is bogus, and the All-Star Game isn’t likely coming Wrigley’s way “this decade.” Both Rogers and Levine have had their share of misses this rumor season, so I’m not quite sure whom to believe – or, more accurately, whom to disbelieve.
- Andrew Cashner will make one more rehab start (“start” simply means that he’s the first pitcher in the game, by the way – he’s still very much a reliever for the rest of this season) at AA Tennessee today, at which point the Cubs will decide whether he’ll start at AAA Iowa next (which would give him more warm-up time) or come out of the bullpen (which would be more like how it will be when he returns to the Cubs). Either way, Cashner will likely rejoin the Cubs when the team returns from this trip to San Francisco.
- Patrick Mooney discusses the possibility of the Cubs re-signing Reed Johnson after the season. Though he’s been very productive this year, and is wildly popular, I’m not crazy about Johnson coming back, even as the fifth outfielder, unless one of Marlon Byrd or Alfonso Soriano is gone in 2012. Even then, Johnson’s age (35 next year) and injury history (back problems each of the last three seasons) make me nervous.
- Cubs’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo suspectsthat the constant schedule-flipping of day games and night games is a reason the Cubs’ hitters struggle to be consistent. He’s tinkering with the players’ batting practice schedule, but is clearly frustrated with the lack of production in his two years with the Cubs. “To be honest with you, it really has (been frustrating), because I expect so much more of myself and my players, and I’ve been where we did that,” he said. “I never complain about what talent I have; I go with what I have. But no doubt it is (frustrating) because I expect so much more of myself. This gives me more fire to get it done. I have done it for so many years that I know that I will. But it’s a two-way street. I’ve got to do my job and [the players] have to do theirs.” That sounds like complaining about the talent you have without complaining about the talent you have.
- Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, and Tony Campana could stand to bone up on their small-ball skills.
- In case you were worried that, when Jim Hendry was fired, the Cubs’ scouting corps curled up in the fetal position, no longer knowing how to eat or breath, you can relax. They’re still going about the business of the jobs they are paid to do. Who knew?