Chris Volstad will try to give the Cubs a series win today (recall, Jeff Samardzija’s start was pushed back a day) as he takes on Vance Worley. Tough matchup.

  • Matt Garza was the absolute cat’s pajamas yesterday, but it sounds like he was off the game plan. “The game plan was to keep them off balance and try to induce weak ground balls or weak popups and that’s exactly what worked,” Garza said. “Certain things were there and certain weren’t. I threw a curveball about 22 feet high but other than that everything else was cool.” Geez, Matt. You say that’s what worked, but clearly, you weren’t sticking to the plan. Ground balls? Popups? You were too busy striking guys out. Stick to the plan next time, Matt. Er, wait. No. Do exactly what you did yesterday, because you were ridiculously awesome. Did I mention cat’s pajamas?
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum admitted that, in yesterday’s unnecessarily close 9th inning, Shane Victorino was going to be Carlos Marmol’s last hitter if he didn’t get the out. He added: “He’s going to be a high pitch-count guy. Most times he’s going to be 20 or 30 pitches. Obviously, you don’t want to see that kind of stress out there. But that’s what he is and that’s what you have to understand. You’ve got to be patient, but there’s only so much you be patient with.”
  • Randy Wells will be available out of the bullpen starting tomorrow, in advance of the Cubs’ decision about whether to send him back to AAA Iowa on Thursday when Ryan Dempster comes off the DL. I wouldn’t read much into Wells pitching out of the pen this week. It’s just as easy for him to then stay in the pen with the big club, or transition back to starting with Iowa by the weekend.
  • Sveum took the words right out of my mouth when he spoke about Tony Campana’s immediate future. “As long as he hits, he can be an everyday player in the big leagues,” Sveum said. “As long as he can get on base, he can be an impact-type guy with that kind of speed. He just has to be able to hit and get his bunts down and do the things he’s doing right now on an everyday basis.”
  • A long write-up on top prospects Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson from Carrie Muskat.
  • Sun-Times writer Joe Cowley, who primarily covers the White Sox, came under fire yesterday for almost unbelievably misogynistic and sexist comments on Twitter. After hours of being blasted on Twitter, Cowley, who is something of a repeat offender, took his ball and went home. He no longer has a Twitter account, whether by his own choice or the Sun-Times’. Before departing, Cowley claimed he was just engaging in satire, which would have been more believable if his comments were even remotely humorous.
  • TCR’s Arizona Phil has compiled unofficial extended Spring Training stats to date. It would be a mistake of the highest order to read too much into these numbers for a host of reasons (quirky games, extremely varied talent, minuscule sample size, etc.), but it’s always interesting to look at stats.
  • Veteran infielder Edgar Gonzalez, signed in the offseason to a minor league deal, has been released so that he may pursue opportunities in Japan. Go make your money, Edgar.
  • For those of you who “like” the Bleacher Nation Facebook page (you should all do it), but who aren’t seeing BN posts show up in your newsfeed – and you wish they were – that’s because of a change Facebook made to the way it calculates what to show you. In other words, Facebook thinks it knows better than you do about what you want to see. The only way to counteract it is to go to the BN Facebook page here, and “interact” with some of the posts. Like some, comment on some, share some. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it’ll help if you do some. Then, when you see a post show up in your feed, make sure it interact with that, too. Just drop a quick comment or a like. After doing that a few times, you will have “taught” Facebook that you want to see BN posts in your feed. Then, when they show up regularly, just make sure to occasionally comment or like. I know, it’s laborious, but this is the only way. Facebook is great for a lot of things, but sometimes, it’s a pain in the ass. I think it may also help if you change your news feed from “top stories” to “most recent,” but I’m not 100% on that part.
  • MLBullets at BCB, discussing the Tigers’ recent woes.
  • cjdubbya

    To steal a line from Jim Rome – Joe Cowley is a piece of crap.

    • Njriv

      Jim Rome is also a piece of crap

      • beerhelps

        I think pieces of crap are offended that you compared those two ass clowns to them

        • Njriv

          On that note what ever happened to Jay Mariotti? I completely hated him, is he still a writer or is he to busy fighting prostitutes?

          • hansman1982

            If I remember correctly, he was arrested a few months ago and everyone forgot to post bail…(the arrested thing is true, not sure about the bail bit)

      • Ogyu

        Speaking of Jim Rome, this just never gets old:

        • Njriv

          That was hilarious, and I never noticed how much Rome looked like A.C. Slater back then.

  • Ivy Walls

    Sveum: Play the hot hand. The last six games, four of which Campana has started Cubs (3) Cubs are three and one, in those four games Campana has scored 5 of his 6 runs. Overall he has scored 6 runs in 8 games played.

    ALSO since falling on their proverbial face out of the gate going 3-11 since April 21 when Campana came up the Cubs are 5-3, now trying to win two series in a row against last year’s playoff teams. They win tonight they would have less losses than Minnesota, KC, LAA, and San Diego, while right now they have as many wins as Houston and Miami.

    Finally it is not just Campana that is changing what was a 3-11 start, the rest of the bench appears better. I think Soriano must move to a part time starter where Mather and Johnson see more time.

    • DocPWimsey

      “Finally it is not just Campana that is changing what was a 3-11 start”

      Indeed, I would go so far as to say that it’s just a coincidence that Campana is playing in these games. All of those games have been won by the team with the most total bases + walks, and all by one by the team with the most extra base hits. As Sveum noted, the Cubs are losing because they are getting outslugged. (The “slugging” team is 17-2 in Cubs games this year, with 4 games having equal slugging.) The Cubs are not getting the homers yet: but 1) the pitching has gotten much stingier, meaning that they are not giving up more HR than they are hitting, and, 2) the Cubs are hitting a lot more doubles than they are allowing, and that has been the keys to most of the last few victories: most of the runs have centered around doubles.

    • MIchael Montgomery

      Ditto to Ivy Walls’ comments. Not only are the Cubs playing better, it seems that opposing teams are playing more poorly due to his disruptiveness.

      • Robert

        Thats what Brenly said when the cubs where facing Doc’. He cruised through the first 3 innings&and then when Campana got on base, he got rattled. He stole Second, then Castro (who had a horrible first at bat vs Halladay) had that bloop single. then I believe he stole second and LaHair doubled him in?

        • Drew

          Lahair did double, but it was after Castro got thrown out attempting to steal 2nd with one out.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Except that is not what happened.  Kendrick was pitching poorly all along: the prior inning the Cubs had 2 doubles, and Kendrick was lucky to get away without any more damage.  (Both balls were smoked.)  Campana’s “rattling” happened the next inning: and it didn’t seem to be much of a rattling as Kendrick retired Castro on a poorly hit flyball and then K’ed Mr. Three True Outcomes.  (Actually, we could call him Four True Outcomes: one of his doubles was groundrule!)  It was the next inning and a few batters later that Mather took Kendrick deep.

          LaHair’s 2nd double came much later, after Campana had already scored.  Indeed, that inning illustrated the gratuitous nature of so many stolen bases: had Campana never tried to steal, then he (or Castro) would have scored on LaHair’s double, anyway.

          The Phils actually were lucky to give up as few runs as they did: each of the Cubs doubles was actually hit hard enough to be a HR, but to the wrong part of the park or with just a bit too much top-spin.

  • Clark Addison

    Isn’t Mariotti in jail for harrasing his ex girlfriend?

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    Couldn’t care I’d Cowley is a piece I crap or not. No one makes people
    Listen to him….

  • MickeyK

    Of the stats that Arizona Phil has, one of the most interesting is that Baez has yet to walk.

    • Luke

      So Gretzky is back at first base now, and Bogaerts is being converted to an outfielder.  Interesting.

      Trevor Gretzky is the first prospect I can remember who changed position three times before he ever made it into an official game.

      • Cedlandrum

        I think I read somewhere that Gretzky’s future was the outfield, but hasn’t been cleared completely to make all the throws. Building to that.

      • JMack4568

        I’d probably try him at Left Wing.

  • Cedlandrum

    Muskat Love with some word on Lake.
    Nothing super new. About the bottom of page. Interesting bits on Cardenas as well

  • Jeremy

    Thanks to Phil for those stats. Seems like Baez has been solid there but man that 13/0 K/BB is concerning a bit. He is young obviously so hopefully he will develop a good eye as he progresses.

    One question though has Maples not made any starts in EST? I’m eager to see him in action.

    • Dick

      I had the question on Maples….is he hurt?

      • Kyle


    • Luke

      I wouldn’t worry at all over extended spring training game stats.  The rules of normal baseball are largely suspended, and without the context to make sense of what we’re seeing, we have no idea what we’re seeing in many cases.

      Stat wise, the only thing I usually take away from extended spring training numbers is that Player X is (mostly, probably) healthy and playing position Y.  The temptation exists to read volumes into the numbers… just like it exists in regular spring training… but pure stats from any spring training are about as helpful as dietary advice from that guy in the ice cream truck.