I’m headed back to Chicago tomorrow morning, and will be taking in the Cubs’ two-game set against the Phillies Wednesday and Thursday. Tomorrow night’s game is the Cubs’ first “Social Media Night,” so we’ll see what that’s all about. Looking forward to it, and definitely let me know if you’re going to either of the games. I’ll be in my increasingly-usual right field bleacher spot.
- Dale Sveum appears to have a two-part explanation for his terrible, terrible, terrible (did I mention terrible?) decision to have Starlin Castro bunt last night in the 8th inning with men on first and second and nobody out in a tie game. First, Dale explained that he wanted to stay out of the double-play, but acknowledged that he knew the Cardinals would probably just walk Bryan LaHair if Castro’s bunt was successful (which would have set the damn double-play right back up!). Second, Dale said this, according to the Tribune: “Some poor bunting, but it wasn’t as much the bunting as you have to pull back and slash in those situations when they’re charging. It’s hard to get guys to understand that. It’s something you work on and work on, but it kind of speeds up a little during the game. That’s something we have to work on as much as anything because it’s such a prevalent part of the game.” In other words, when Castro saw Lance Berkman charging hard from first, he was supposed to pull back and slap the ball.
- With Castro’s skill set, you can understand why Sveum might think that approach could work. But why even put the bunt on in the first place? Sveum himself acknowledges that he knew the likely best case scenario was the bases loaded and one out for Alfonso Soriano (“The more people you start getting on base and turning that [lineup] over is fine with me.”). With apologies to Soriano (who ultimately did single), is bases-loaded-one-out-for-Soriano really a better setup than first and second, none out, Castro at the plate and LaHair on deck? Really? I don’t even come close to agreeing, and I can’t excuse Dale for this one. I still like what Dale’s done overall, but it was a big, big mistake that could have cost the Cubs the game.
- Unrelatedly, Sveum admits that he occasionally looks at the standings, even this early in the year. The Cubs have consistently been at the back of the pack in the Central, but they’re only five games out right now. All I can think about is four games that the Cubs easily should have won, but the bullpen blew.
- Chris De Luca has a nice write-up on Anthony Rizzo – past, present, future, and all that.
- Some dude writing for the Wall Street Journal says the Cubs should tear down Wrigley Field because the Cubs can’t win there, or some other circular logic.
- Bob Nightengale says Alfonso Soriano’s is now the worst contract in baseball. That might well be the case, but any top five that has no mention of Jayson Werth is not a list I can take seriously.
- Jim Callis talks about the Draft, generally (not Cubs-specifically), which is just about three weeks away. The plan is to have live coverage and reactions here for the Draft, by the way, so plan your schedule accordingly. It’s a very fun three days.
- As usual, there are some great conversations going on over at the Message Board. Folks openly wonder whether Dale Sveum is here for the long haul or just for the rebuild, discuss the myriad positional possibilities when Anthony Rizzo is called up, and one BN’er shares the story of how he became a Cubs fan after growing up a Cardinals fan. There’s tons of good stuff over there every day.
- Speaking of the Message Board, that’s where we had the last come-to-the-game-with-me contest, and the winner was Robwiller, who vowed, among other things, to run around the entirety of Wrigley Field if the Cubs hit a homer. He might think I won’t hold him to that … but he’d be wrong.