It’s Friday the 13th, and the Cubs are headed to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals, who are having their home opener, which will feature a bunch of World Series-related festivities. That sounds swell.

  • Of the Cardinals getting their rings today in front of the Cubs, I’m not entirely sure Dale Sveum gets the issue. “I don’t know if it’s tough to watch, you give anybody respect when they win the World Series,” Sveum said. “It’s gotta be one team every year that wins it, that gets their rings and raise a banner like that. [The Cardinals are] the best in the world right, they’re the world champions of baseball. You’re gonna have to be out there and you’re gonna have to watch it. But, hey, you want other people to be watching you do it someday as well. It’s a fun day, there’s no question about it, I’ve been able to do it twice and it’s very, very fun.” Well bully for you, Dale. I think I’m going to go ahead and hate it, thankyouverymuch.
  • Matt Garza was understandably upset at himself for throwing away – literally – his chance at a complete game shutout yesterday when he couldn’t make a throw to first base with two outs in the 9th. At 119 pitches at the time, Sveum did the only reasonable thing, and pulled Garza. I wasn’t crazy about Garza coming out for the 9th inning in the first place (he was already over 100 pitches, it was an eight run game, and it’s early April), but I can understand why Sveum would allow Garza back out there. As we often have to remind ourselves: these are people. And I’m sure Garza was dying to get back out there.
  • Garza explained the throw that got away, and his thoughts on getting pulled thereafter: “I got [the ball], saw [first baseman Bryan] LaHair and said ‘son of a gun.’ The ball felt like I threw a change-up rolled up in dirt, dang it. I’m fine throwing it to the bases, but like I said, it just slipped out. All spring I was just dotting [the first baseman] in the chest. Today, just, [dang] it. It is what it is, I can’t be [ticked] off at skip, 120 pitches in, there’s no reason to be throwing 130 or 140. Like I said when [Jeff] Samardzija got his shot, you get your one shot and that’s it. I’m [ticked] off at myself, but man, we played one hell of a game. We got a lead, smelled blood and went out and got it.”
  • Phil Rogers says he walked in on Matt Garza exploding, privately, after the throwing error. Garza quieted, and then later apologized (even though he was just trying to blow up on his own and not in front of anyone else).
  • Dave Sappelt is working his way to the big club by succeeding in Iowa. “I thought when I first came over to the organization that I’d be an immediate impact guy with the big-league club — an outfielder off the bench,” Sappelt said. “It didn’t happen that way. I struggled hitting …. I’m finding my swing again. Everything’s starting to click.” Sappelt is currently hitting .207/.233/.379.
  • Speaking of those World Series festivities, Cubs’ coach Dave McKay will be participating with the Cards, since he was a long-time coach there, including last year. “Most people say, ‘Oh, it’s just another game,’ but it isn’t,” McKay said. “It’s the Cardinals and the Cubs and I’m with the Cubs now. I’m looking forward to it. I hope we put on a good show. I gave them everything I had for 16 years but that’s baseball. Now I’m with the Cubs, and I’m going to give them everything I got.”
  • MLBullets over at BCB, featuring Johnny Damon signing for chump change.
  • KyleNovak

    There was quite the discussion about Garza’s pitch count back in the last EBS post. For what it is worth, I talked a bit at length in that same post about the some of the reasons (and controversy) behind these kind of starts.

  • SouthernCub

    I love Matt Garza, that dude has some fire!

  • Kyle

    Of course Garza wanted to go back out there.

    My two year old’s fondest ambition is to get out of the house and see how far he can run unsupervised.

    My job as a dad, and Sveum’s job as a manager, is to do what’s prudent.

  • King Jeff

    I was almost convinced that the Cubs should trade him this offseason. I now think he’s the perfect kind of leader that this team needs to be built around. It would be nice if some of that fire rubs off on Castro and others.

  • hardtop

    Dale, embrace your anger, let hate flow through you!

    This is not just another team. You do not give them respect, under any circumstances, ever.  this is Cubs – cardinals, Dale.! weren’t you in Boston for a minute? Don’t you know a little something about rivalries?  for christ’s sake Dale, are you the manager of the Chicago Cubs, or some impartial wiener who prefers a heated match of badminton?  We want blood, Dale. Get with it!

    Managerial pep talk over.

    And for the love of God, don’t get swept, or we’ll never hear the end of it from the mullets.

    • Spencer

      He’ll be a Sith in no time.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    Congratulations to Dave McKay. He is a class act!
    I am going to endure the Cardinals dog and pony show in his honor.

  • BD

    I’m not being silly about this, I’m seriously asking the question:

    When/Why did pitch counts start to matter?

    I’ve always wondered why guys just can’t throw as many pitches as they used to, which genenrally leads to less innings. For instance, why did rotations need to have a 5th starter added?

    Sorry, just wondering out loud. Never have found an answer about these things.

    • Kyle

      When teams started getting smarter about trying to win.

      In the really, really good old days, the dead ball era, pitchers just lobbed the softened ball over the plate and let the defense do the work. 100 pitches would have been unusual, even in a complete game.

      In the middle era of baseball, understanding of pitcher injuries was poor. Many, many guys blew out their arms and never were heard from again, but you just didn’t hear about it as much because we didn’t have the intensive coverage of baseball that we do now. Teams didn’t care, they’d just plug the next guy in. Pitches per inning were higher than they were in the dead ball era, but still not up to where they are now in the modern, hyper-patient era of batting.

      • BD

        “Getting smarter about trying to win”? By adding in a 5th, lesser quality starter, and going to a lesser quality reliever sooner?

        With all that is known about health/injuries, guys are still blowing their arms out. It seems like every week another pitcher is visiting Dr. Andrews.

        As a former pitcher who never used pitch counts, I would argue that pitch counts are what is causing the injuries. Pitchers’ arms don’t have the endurance for a heavy workload, and they break down.

    • Norm

      I think when players became worth 10’s of millions, maybe even 100’s of millions of dollars to their teams, things started to change.

      • Brian

        That was my thought. When the greedy, seedy, agents came into play.

  • Macleodisdaman

    I don’t care if the player is hitting .800, has a cannon, is a great athlete,
    and has great makeup, if we didn’t spend bonus money, cut them all
    because they are not my guys……………Theo

  • Ash

    Dave Sappelt single-handedly lowering the bar for success? .207/.233/.379?! Keep up that hard work…

  • Cubmig

    “Dave Sappelt single-handedly lowering the bar for success? .207/.233/.379?! Keep up that hard work…”

    It puzzled me why Phil would even give Sappelt props based on those numbers. Phil may not realize it (?) but the reactions (at least yours and mine) did anything but the opposite of what he may have intended. Go figure.

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    At the very least, hopefully the Cubs dugout watches the WS presentation and figures out that that is what they are playing for. Should be a motivating moment…

  • Cubmig

    Pardon me for this juvenile moment:
    Fuck the deadbirds…….they won’t get any acknowledgement for anything from me.

  • rhino70

    Personally, I want the Cubs to watch the Deadbirds get their rings.

    That’s what you play for. Every year. I hope Sveum makes them sit in the dugout and watch, and I hope McKay shows every single one of them what a World Series ring looks like. I want the young core players, Castro, Shark, etc. to see it all and develop a burning desire to earn their own.

    That, or world peace.