I’m headed back home today, after a nice stay in Chicago. Due to the travels, you’ll probably once again have to suffer through a slightly delayed Enhanced Box Score unless I’m on one of those whacky new planes with wi-fi. The future is here!
- Jeff Samardzija had a rough outing yesterday, and he’s pretty sure he knows why. From the outside, it looked like Samardzija had poor command in innings one through four, but was still getting results, so, by the fifth, he was just throwing laser fastballs right over the middle of the plate. That’s what Samardzija thought, too. “I think I got a little complacent with how I went the first four innings, and I was looking to have another quick inning,” Samardzija said. “I need to concentrate a little bit more there and lock in and keep that ball down in the zone and keep the ball on the ground like they’d been doing the whole game.”
- So, there was a little ugliness yesterday in an extended Spring Training game feature some of the Cubs’ young prospects. According to TCR’s Arizona Phil, Javier Baez stroked a long home run and stared it down before starting his jog toward first (apparently he’d done this earlier in the week, as well). A coach on the Angels’ squad, whom the Cubs were playing, yelled, “Run the bases!” When Baez had finished circling the bases, he turned to the Angels’ dugout and shouted, “I can do whatever the f*%k I want.” From there, Cubs players held Baez back, and prevented a serious escalation. All of this is disappointing. Should the Angels’ coach have kept his mouth shut, letting the Cubs handle how they want their young players to behave? Probably. But Baez should have ripped the ball, put his head down, and run. And then, when he reached home plate, he should have kept his mouth shut. He’s a young kid, and I know I was brash as hell when I was his age, so I certainly understand it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s OK, though. You have huge talent, kid, but let that talent speak for you. You don’t need to do it with your mouth or with your stares at long fly balls.
- Dale Sveum is requiring his players to watch the Cardinals get their World Series rings today, which I think is awesome. It would suck to have to watch, mind you, but it’s both respectful and motivating.
- Sveum suggests that part of the reason he’s batting lefties Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart back-to-back in the lineup is because, if that prompts the other manager to bring in a lefty reliever, Sveum gets to use one of the best lefty-hitting bench bats in the game, Jeff Baker. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but if you break them up, you still likely get a chance to use Baker in those kind of situations, and, when you don’t get that chance, it’s because both lefties are getting to face a righty. Moreover, when your plan works, you’re necessarily having to remove either LaHair or Stewart from the game. The difference is negligible, but I’m not sure I agree with the baiting approach.
- FanGraphs says Matt Garza probably really has evolved into an ace.
- Our one-day fantasy contest (the first of many, I do believe) wrapped up yesterday, and the top six finishers (the folks who won some green) were TayoSanto, mjhurdle, fraz4919, slbunyer, JWallbaum, and bvastlik. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder let me down, and I finished behind about 1/3 of the pack. To that 1/3 of you, I apologize for my Javier Baez-like smack-talking in advance of the contest. To the other 2/3 of you, however, I own you.
- Bruce Springsteen is now confirmed to be playing at Wrigley Field on Friday, September 7. Tickets go on sale April 21. I hope he pulls me on stage…