The Cubs have lost all their series this year (including the current one with the Marlins), but they haven’t yet been swept. How about keeping that streak going today, eh boys?
- Dale Sveum doesn’t think Matt Garza’s unnecessarily long outing last week (119 pitches … in April … with an eight run lead) had a negative impact on his start last night, in which he gave up six earned runs on seven hits and three walks. “I think his stuff was OK,” Sveum said. “It was basically two [home-run] pitches. Other than that, he threw the ball pretty well. His velocity was even better than his first couple of starts actually. I don’t think that had anything to do with it.”
- By the way: yes, Matt Garza knows how bad he is with the bat. He works on it, including bunting, but it’s just another animal when you’re actually at the plate in a game. He took a bat with him back into the clubhouse after being yanked last night, which he says was for additional bunting work, not for a Carlos Zambrano special.
- Games at the new Marlins’ ballpark are probably going to give the Cubs’ offense fits for a long time to come, at least until the lineup changes dramatically. With a relatively weak team, the would-be short homers end up deep fly balls; and with a relatively slow team, the offense can’t take advantage of the space and manufacture runs. So, three runs in two games is, perhaps, not much of a surprise.
- Speaking of the lineup, when discussing where he’s been batting struggling Marlon Byrd (8th, after mostly batting in the middle of the order the last two years), Sveum revealed an interesting belief on batting order, as it relates to the pitches a guy sees: “These days, people get pitched the same and it doesn’t matter what’s going on. You’ll be pitched on how they’re supposed to get you out. It doesn’t matter where you hit in the lineup.” I’m sure there’s some truth there, as video data has continued to improve and show pitchers how to best take a guy on. But, at the same time, a guy batting second, with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera behind him, is going to see more fastballs in the zone than a guy batting 8th with Matt Garza behind him. He just is.
- Red Sox pitcher Michael Bowden – the 25-year-old reliever with upside, who is originally from Chicago – has not yet been placed on waivers. He was designated for assignment this past weekend, which gave the Red Sox 10 days to trade, release or waive Bowden. Waivers take three days to clear, so, if they’re going to waive him, it’ll have to be by this weekend. The fact that they haven’t yet placed him on waivers means they’re trying to trade him first. That reminds me, we haven’t yet heard a resolution on the Brandon Allen DFA, either. That came 10 days ago, but sometimes there’s a day or two lag before we hear a resolution. I still don’t think the Cubs make sense as a landing spot, but free, young, high upside players come along only so often.
- Some early background on the June Draft. It will remind you to be depressed about the changes to the CBA, and how they make the Cubs’ rebuilding job more difficult.
- Still waiting on compensation going to the Padres for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. Intermittently, we heard that it would be settled by the Rule 5 Draft in December, and then some time before Spring Training, and then some time before the end of Spring Training, and then some time before Opening Day, and then … ? I’ve got it in my head that I read there was a new late April deadline, but I can’t seem to find it. I can only assume that the delay is because the expected player to be sent over is a young kid in extended Spring Training, possibly injured – someone like Dustin Geiger. Then again, maybe the delay is related to the front office shakeup in San Diego (Jeff Moorad, who allowed Tom Ricketts/Theo Epstein to talk to and hire Jed Hoyer primarily because Moorad wanted Josh Byrnes as the new GM, is now out as CEO of the team).
- On Brett Jackson’s insane early season K-rate at AAA Iowa, Baseball America’s Jim Callis isn’t terribly worried yet. “Nobody should panic about anything this early in the season unless it’s injury-related. Jackson is always going to strike out—he fanned 138 times last year—but he’s not going to K in 40 percent of his AB. He’s going to be a solid player for the Cubs.”
- Ozzie Guillen is still complimenting Castro. Starlin Castro, that is. OMGLOL! See what I did there?!?!?!
- A man is accusing former Cubs GM Jim Hendry of “stealing his ideas to win championships.” Should I take this one, or do you want to you? You know what, why don’t you all run with it. The possibilities are endless.
- You’ve got another day and a half to win a ticket to a Cubs/Cards game next week … with me! We can talk about the Cubs, about the meaning of life, and about how perverse it is that I put ketchup on my bison dog. Details on how to win here.