Travis Wood will indeed start for Matt Garza today, who is still under the weather. Garza’s next start has been pushed back all the way to Friday, as he recovers from flu-like symptoms (baseball code for the pukes or the shits).

  • Calling up Wood will require a roster decision, which hopefully isn’t a permanent one (i.e., dumping a guy, or risking dumping a guy), because – by my math – when Garza starts on Friday, he won’t have pitched for 12 days. That means the Cubs could have put Garza on the DL today, and then let him start next Monday. It would be silly to lose a player just so Garza can start three days earlier. Going up and down the roster, it’s tough to figure out just what the move is going to be. Most of the pitchers cannot be freely optioned (except for Rafael Dolis and James Russell, neither of whom is going anywhere), so I wonder if it could be a position player move. Could be something whacky like dumping Blake DeWitt, and then calling up Adrian Cardenas when Wood is ready to go back down.
  • Wood will get his first chance to impress after being acquired in the Sean Marshall trade this Winter. He pitched abysmally in the Spring, and then adequately at AAA Iowa so far this year (the ERA isn’t great, and he’s given up a lot of hits, but his Ks and BBs are solid – also, fly ball pitchers in the PCL = more homers than usual).
  • Jeff Baker must’ve eaten the same sandwich as Garza, because he, too, is feeling the flu-like symptoms. Maybe he’ll go to the DL to make room for Wood?
  • Chris Volstad, who’s fallen victim to one bad inning in five of his six starts this year, concedes he may be having some problems out of the stretch. Dale Sveum agrees. Having watched him, that sounds about right. When guys get on base, something just seems off about his confidence/approach/control/etc. Just off. Let’s get that figured out, guys.
  • Randy Wells, who failed to do much to keep himself in the bigs in his two-start fill-in for Ryan Dempster, keeps on admitting that his own effort and performance is the problem. “I’m trying to do too much,” Wells said, according to the Des Moines Register. “Up there [in the Majors], you’re trying to pitch and not give up runs so you can stay, instead of pitching to your strengths. Down here … maybe I’ve been a little lackadaisical … maybe a little bitter, but baseball is baseball.” The honesty is great, Randy, but, like, how about doing the opposite of what you’re saying? Start not being lackadaisical. Start not being bitter. Stop feeling like you got screwed, and start pitching your way back to the bigs with a renewed vigor. I fully believe that Randy Wells is a big-league-caliber pitcher. He’s just got to remember how to do it.
  • dob2812

    To be fair to Randy, in his first start, he was hammering the bottom part of the zone and having balls called. There’s not much a guy can do when he’s painting the corners with his slider and the umpire is working a strike-zone that ends at the belt. You pitch there, you get hit.

    I don’t have too much interest in the replay-debate. I was watching the Rockies-Dodgers game the other day when that call at first was blown and, hey, I laughed, but it didn’t upset me. Maybe if I was a Dodgers fan, I suppose. Anyway, the point being that the biggest issue I have with human umpires is poor calling of the strike zone. It’s not noticeable that often, but I do think it cost Wells in that first start.

    I didn’t see his second start. But I like him. He’ll be back. Great depth to have.

  • tim815

    The Cubs ought to play DL roulette for awhile. Wood, Bowden, and Castillo can certainly be shuffled in and out. Wood makes sense, as he seems off, still.

    • Brett

      Kind of blew it with Castillo yesterday. Hadn’t pitched in so long, Cubs could have DL’d him for one day.

      • tim815

        I think you can only backdate DL stints five days, though I might be off a bit. Plus, if they’re serious about hanging on to him (seems like they are), that would cut into the 90 days he has to be on the roster. I think some teams ought to game the DL/AAA Shuttle rules and go with 11 pitchers. If they need 12 for a couple days due to twinbills, whatever. But Bowden can be DL due to strained quad flexors or whatever.

        But certainly DL someone over releasing someone.

      • college_of_coaches

        I think I’ve read that Rule 5 draftees cannot be DL’d until after 90 days. At least there’s a 90 day active clause in the rule. So I think, in this situation, the Phillies could reclaim Castillo.

        (I didn’t see tim815’s post, which covers the same ground)

        • tim815

          I’ve followed Rule 5 stuff closer than I should. Lendy can be DL’d There are Rule 5 guys that get DL in Spring Training. The “90 Day Rule” is regarding the 90 days a player must be on the 25 man to be eligible to be farmed out the next season.

          The nuts and bolts are as follows. A Rule 5 guy must be on the 25 Man, the DL, or be run through waivers. If a team claims him off of waivers, they get him with the same stipulations. If the player clears waivers, he is offered back to his prior team. Using Castillo as an example, the Phils could (in the circumstance of him clearing waivers) take Lendy back at half-price, let the Cubs keep him, or cut a deal with the Cubs sending Philly something, and the Cubs getting to farm him to the minors.

          But, before a trade like that can be made, Lendy would have to clear waivers. As an aside, with a third of his 90 day minimum expired, a team like KC, San Diego, or another struggling team might claim him just to play DL Bingo with him from now until September 1st (when the 90 days have to be completed.

          If the player falls short of 90 days on the 25 man, he must complete the 90 days the next season under the same terms. In that instance, he could be sent to the minors (without having to clear waivers) on day 91.

          • FromFenwayPahk

            I feel like I’m watching James T. Kirk play “Fiz-Bin”– (I am an old-school geek) Thanks for trying to explain this Rule 5 stuff. One day I’ll get it. Until then I will depend on posts like this (the example really helped). Thanks.

            • tim815

              n/p. Remember he has to go through waivers, and you’ll have it 2/3rd beaten.

            • Ian Afterbirth

              I’ve never played Fiz-Bin – how do you play it?

          • college_of_coaches

            Thanks. This is why I enjoy Brett’s site.

  • ColoCubFan

    I’ve never understood this business of each umpire having his own personal strike zone. I thought it was anything over the plate between the letters to the knees. That’s how I called little league games when I used to umpire.

    • tim815

      At least some pitchers (ahem, Tom Glavine) never get five or six extra inches off at least one corner on a routine basis.

      • ColoCubFan

        Exactly my point. Established pitchers get a much bigger strike zone than the Randy Wells’ of the world.

  • Justin Jabs

    Now the question is, which of the following jersey combos?

    A) Wood #30, Wood #34
    B) T. Wood #30, Wood #34
    C) T. Wood #30, K. Wood #34
    D) Wood #30, K. Wood #34

  • Dave

    I’ve ways assumed flu-like symptoms was code for ‘nasty hangover’.

    • Katie

      It is my house!

    • tim815

      I thought they used that because children might be scarred by the term “Puking all over everything”.

      • Hansman1982

        Thatd be preferable to “garza to the 15-day dl since e can’t stop crapping/peeing out of his butt”

  • Jeff

    Brett, any chance Maholm gets DL’d after the ball he took off his knee? If it’s bothering him, that might make some sense.

    • Jeff

      Oh great, Not another one. Hey, you need to put a 2 or 3 behind the Jeff…


      • PastorJeff

        How’s that? Yes, I really am a pastor…LOL!

    • Brett

      Possible. It didn’t sound like, after the game, it was going to be a DL-type injury. He did say it still hurt, though.

  • czechxican

    Randy’s too damn honest. He’s always been that way. He’s like a Salesman who doesn’t know that your not supposed to tell the customer certain things

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      That’s the way everybody should be. Reminds me of myself. I say what’s on my mind.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Volstad’s troubles bring us back to the debate of whether there is a such thing as the clutch gene. When you have a pitcher like Holliday or Cliff Lee, with runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs, you still feel like he can get out of it. They’ll give you a strike out and a ground ball and the innings over. Volstad struggles in these situations. He seems unsure of his stuff. He looks good for 2 or 3 innings, then he walks a man and gives up a single, then its all over. This is why I think he’s better for the pen.

    It’s seems funny to me how Wells struggles or Marmol, and Sveum says it unacceptable, but when Volstad struggles he says we’ll have to work through it. This why I understand how Wells feel, though I guess it doesn’t justify his stats. Hopefully he shakes it off and comes back strong.

  • Blitzenjohn

    Castillo is catching Wood today, per Doug Padilla… :)

  • Robert

    Brett, I saw last night there was a pretty big discussion in the EBS about a possible Matt Garza trade? some source saying there in “serious” talks with the Yankees and Tigers? Whats your take on this?
    EDIT- Apparently another “Robert” found the source. i need to change my name. ( where Two different Robert’s)

    • Brett

      I haven’t heard anything. I saw the speculation, and I think it’s fair to assume the Cubs are constantly in some level of discussions with a ton of teams about a ton of players. I wouldn’t put much more into it than that.

  • Mrp

    Looks like DeWitt drew the short straw and is getting DFA’d.

  • Cheryl

    He was lucky he stayed with them this long.

  • Cheryl

    So after Wood is sent back down, what’s next? or,are there more moves planned – maybe with Garza?

    • Mrp

      Most likely it is what Brett said in the article, Adrian Cardenas probably comes up and gets a look.

    • Blitzenjohn

      Cardenas seems logical, but…

  • dick

    Len and Bob are going to talk about win probabilities in various situations on today’s game. They are hitting on one of the most important “advance” statistics out there, the WPA. I used to calculate this myself, but baseball_reference now has them updated daily. It shows the difference in win probability after a batter has his at bat, or a pitcher faces a batter. One of the great values of this statistic is that you can compare pitchers vs hitters and it really is useful in comparing relief pitchers who come in with the game on the line vs other players. It has its flaws, like any statistic, but it shows some important things that you don’t get from other stats.

    The average player would get a zero in WPA. A positive number is above average performance and a negative number is below average.

    The top 5 Cubs this year are: LaHair +2.1, Mather +1.0, Dempster +0.9, Samardzjia +0.7, and Garza +0.5.

    The bottom 6 Cubs this year are: Marmol -2.0, Volstad -1.4, DeJesus -0.9, Byrd -0.6, Baker -0.5, and Soriano -0.5.

    Last year’s top 6 Cubs were: Ramirez +4.1, Pena +3.2, Marshall +1.7, Soriano +1.5, LaHair +0.8, and Barney +0.7.

    If you look at the bottom 5 for this year, and compare them with last year…Volstad was -1.4, DeJesus was -2.1, Marmol was -1.1, Byrd was -1.7, and Baker was -0.3. Soriano was +1.5 last year.

    From this stat, you can see the lack of logic in playing DeJesus over Mather, keeping Volstad in the starting rotation, etc.

    • Brett

      On Mather/DeJesus – keep in mind, Mather has tended to be put in positions to succeed so far this year, while DeJesus has been playing every day. Not sure that’s an apples to apples comparison. In other words, it’s not surprising Mather’s numbers look better right now. Were he to play every day, I’m not so sure.

  • ichabod

    at this point isnt wells a better option than volstad?

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  • Matt Murton

    Randy Wells is NOT a big league caliber pitcher. His stuff has never been great, and when that’s the case, you need to CONSTANTLY be working on the mental and mechanical aspects of the game. Clearly, he’s lost in both spots. He’s too arrogant to turn things around, and I can’t wait for the day that Jed and Theo see that

    • Brett

      Then he was just the luckiest player in the history of baseball for two straight 3+ WAR seasons in 2009 and 2010. It’s possible.

      • Ogyu

        In the immortal words of Edwin Starr:

        WAR, huh
        Good God, y’all
        What is it good for?
        Absolutely nothing.


        • TWC

          Say it again, y’all

      • ferrets_bueller

        His other stats completely contradict his WAR from those seasons.

        WAR is easily the most flawed stat in baseball, IMO.

    • Norm

      Disagree with “never”.
      I believe it’s this: