I’m sure I’m not the only one already antsy to see Jeff Samardzija’s next start. The tremendous results yesterday are one thing – lots of guys who go on to have crappy careers have a start with very good results – but he looked so impressive doing it. That is to say, it looked legit. So, yeah: I really can’t wait to see his next start.
- Speaking of Samardzija, he certainly put his money where his mouth was, after years of pining for a spot in the rotation, and an offseason where he told anyone who would listen that he just wanted a chance to prove himself. “I really feel like I have a chip on my shoulders, because I’ve talked a big game about wanting to start and made it public,” Samardzija said. “I don’t want to look like an idiot.” You certainly don’t look like an idiot today, Jeff.
- Dale Sveum says he didn’t want to leave Samardzija in for 110 pitches, but conceded that, with the way Samardzija was throwing (he was still in the high 90s late in the game), it was hard to take the righty out. Hopefully the high pitch count (in the first start of the season (for a converted reliever)) doesn’t leave Samardzija with any additional soreness this week.
- Sveum is trying to preserve whatever confidence his closer has left after two straight horrible outings going into yesterday’s game. “With your closer, confidence is everything,” Sveum said. “Sometimes you can throw the ball great and blow a save. You can throw the ball great and give it up in the eighth inning whether they are bloopers or one strike called a ball. Anything like that changes a whole at-bat around …. You make a great pitch and there’s a blooper. Sometimes it’s not just the guy’s pitching bad either. There has to be some luck involved too sometimes.” Letting Marmol get the 27th out yesterday (after walking the tying run, natch) is as much about the next five months of the season as it was about believing Marmol was the right man to get that out.
- Former long-time Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez returns to town today as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with whom he signed a three-year, $36 million contract this offseason. How will he be greeted by the Cubs fans? Ramirez isn’t sure. “I don’t know, that’s a good question,” Ramirez said yesterday. “I played there for a long time. I played on some good teams and some bad teams. I didn’t want to leave. If somebody boos me, I want to know the reason why.” That’s a fair question. Why would anyone boo Ramirez on his return to Wrigley (unless you boo every opposing player)? Whatever happened is past, and he was a great player for the Cubs. If I were there today, I’d cheer him when he was first announced.
- As for Braun, Ramirez is pretty sure his teammate is going to be booed. “I think it’s going to be ugly for Braun everywhere we go,” Ramirez told reporters yesterday in Milwaukee. “On the road, it’s going to be tough for him. He knows it. That’s no secret. Plus, he got a taste of it in Spring Training. Everywhere we go, he was getting booed. But that’s a good player, and he’s tough. He’s tough mentally, and I think he’s going to be OK. He’s a good enough player to separate that from his game.”
- The Cubs are squeezing every seating dime they can get out of Wrigley Field. From the Tribune: “The seating capacity at Wrigley Field magically expanded Saturday when the Cubs introduced a row of folding chairs behind a grandstand section used by wheelchair patrons, charging $32 per ticket, plus amusement tax. A Cubs spokesman said the row is usually for disabled people and fans that accompany them, though the fans sitting there Saturday were not disabled. ‘Those seats were opened up late [Saturday] to sell as the last seats we had available,’ [a team] spokesman said. ‘Whenever we do this our window staff explains what these seats are to fans and our stadium operations crew has chairs in that area and adjusts accordingly to the number of wheelchairs and non-wheelchair patrons.'” Fine with me.
- You’ll see this reminder peppered throughout posts this week, but I’ll be heading to the game on Thursday (the 12th), and I’ll be sitting in the bleachers. Before the game, I plan to be at The Sports Corner, across from Wrigley Field (together with Cubs Den’s John Arguello), hanging out and getting the day started. I’m hoping to be there as early as 11am (it’s a 1:20 game). If you’re in the neighborhood or going to the game, come say hi.
- MLBullets at BCB, relishing (only slightly) in the early-season misfortunes of the Yankees and Red Sox.