“Man looks in the abyss. There’s nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”

  • The Cubs will add Travis Wood to the roster today so that he can join the rotation in Houston, but they’ll have a tough decision to make on a corresponding move. With just 11 pitchers on the roster right now, the obvious move would be to send down a positional player. But the Cubs are currently carrying three catchers because of Welington Castillo’s bad-enough-not-to-play, but not-bad-enough-to-send-to-DL knee injury. Unless the Cubs decide to DL Castillo, someone like Adrian Cardenas (who had a two double night last night) will have to head back to Iowa. The Cubs could also DL reliever Blake Parker (hamstring), but they’d have just six in the bullpen (maybe that’s not a bad idea until Castillo is ready to go, and Blake Lalli can go down). As for Wood, he’s excited to rejoin the rotation, but says he’s just going to try and stay relaxed this time.
  • Last night’s starter, Matt Garza, who suffered through one of his worst starts in a long time, offered vintage Matt Garza quotes after the outing. “It was way too much stuff and I left everything up,” Garza said to reporters. “Hanging slider to Castro, fastball middle, belt-high to Johnson. I was overthrowing everything. I put myself in holes and when you put yourself in holes, you can’t make a mistake and you have to be perfect, and not even perfect, but you can’t leave it out over the plate …. This was trying too hard, trying to stop [stuff] that’s been going on, and if you try too hard, you’re not going to stop it, you’re just going to continue it, and that’s exactly what happened. I’ll get ready for Pittsburgh and get right back at it and come out [ticked] off with a vengence. I don’t like it at all, I know my teammates don’t like it at all. This is not what I work for four days a week. I’ll get back at it and not change anything, just get back to work.” Pissed off with a vengeance sounds like a signature fragrance, doesn’t it? “Now from Matt Garza, a new cologne: Pissed Off With a Vengeance. Smell like Matt. Punch a grizzly bear.”
  • Bryan LaHair is just 1 for his last 19, and he’s probably going to get a day off today. Dale Sveum doesn’t like what he’s been seeing from LaHair lately. “Everything is a little deep and [past] him and he tries to speed his bat up,” Sveum said, according to Doug Padilla. “I think I’m going to give him a day off [Tuesday]. He hasn’t played this many days in a row in the big leagues and we’ll give him a little mental day off and come out for early work and see if that will help …. Cal Ripken used to have a different stance every week, Don Mattingly, you go on and on. You just want to see some effort for change whether it’s mechanics or the effort to take more pitches and not feel like the only way you have a chance is to hit the first pitch and if you don’t the at-bat is over. You want to see change and adjustments made, otherwise you have a hard time keeping the line moving if you don’t trust your neighbor.” Yeah, I don’t really understand the final comment, but his overall point is well-taken. Being a good hitter in the bigs is a process of constant adjustment. Pitchers are figuring LaHair out a bit, and he’ll have to adjust once again.
  • As for the kid who might come up and force LaHair to another position, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer isn’t ready to say Anthony Rizzo will be up any time soon. “I think it is important to remind ourselves, especially when we’re going through a rough patch, as we are now, that the complete development of our prospects is a top priority,” Hoyer said via e-mail to the Sun-Times on Monday. “The reason is that we want them to have the best possible chance of having long, productive careers with the Cubs. It’s something we’ve stressed from day one and will continue to stress, and to compromise our approach would not best serve our goal of building a championship organization.” In other words: we might call Rizzo up soon, we might not. But we’re not going to tip our hand to teams with whom we might want to deal (about Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair, for example), and we’re not going to tie ourselves to artificial timelines that might not be in the organization’s best interests.
  • Randy Wells doesn’t sound upset about being out of rotation consideration, and instead is just happy to be back up with the big club. “It gives me a chance to help the team and do something a little different,” Wells said to reporters Monday. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll be good at it …. One thing I like is the chance to play every day. I’ve [pitched in relief] my whole career until 2008. It’s something I’m comfortable with. I’m actually excited.” He pitched well in relief last night, so maybe he will indeed take a shine to it.
  • Sveum said he didn’t change up the top of the order yesterday, as he’d suggested he would, because he wants to give it one more week.
  • According to Arizona Phil at TCR, outfield prospect Reggie Golden’s knee injury was a torn ACL, for which he’s had surgery. He’ll be out until next Spring, which is obviously a huge bummer.
  • Fishin Phil

    If makes you feel any better, Mr. Garza, we’re all pretty pissed off too!

  • hcs

    It’s just too bad to see Golden lose a whole year in a formative stage like this…

  • Idaho Razorback
    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks – that’s the same link in the Bullets.

  • Frank

    The decision should be an easy one. Make Reed Johnson go away. Seriously though. Try to trade Jeff Baker or Reed Johnson for a PTBNL. If nobody bites, DFA.

  • Stinky Pete

    Sooooooo…… for us uneducated schnooks out here, where’s the opening quote from?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      ‘Wall Street.’

  • Edwin

    Garza: O, from this time forth,
    My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

  • Big Joe

    Dale didn’t change the lineup, because he wanted to give it one more week. Really? Did he miss something? Did he not see what everyone else saw? Yeah, I’ll put a bandaid on that cut. I just want to watch it bleed a while longer. *SMH* Amazing.

  • SouthernCub

    Yeah, well, Matt …….that performance didnt help my FBB ERA

  • hardtop

    send the position player down with the lowest OBP (not already on the DL).  The team cant score runs without people getting on.  If you cant hit or take a walk, you’re just clogging the bench.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Slugging actually correlates a little more strongly with run scoring than does OBP.  So, use OPS (or wOBA) instead.

      Even then, you cannot use just the player’s OPS.  Instead, you have to weight it by the position he plays.  The average OPS from a catcher or a 2Bman is much lower than that from the average RFer or 1Bman.  What really is important is how much better/worse each guy is doing than MLB average.

      • hardtop

        oh for christ’s sake…


        hows that stack up against 3rd baseman?

        • hansman1982

          since you are comparing it to multiple people you need to state it as such:


          That is all.

          • hardtop


      • hardtop

        the answer, by the way, is 41st out of 50 third basemEn.  and, in the NL, if you take out guys who have played in less than 20 games: 5 spots out of last.

      • MichCubFan

        No, actually OBP correlates with runs scored more that slugging percentage. I think i heard that OBP is 2 or 3 times more important that SLG when it comes to scoring runs.

        Getting on base is key. Having multiple guys get on base in an inning is really key.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Whoever told you that needs to be boxed aside the head with a stats book.  In 2011, OBP explained 85% of the variation in runs scored.  SLG explained 90% of it.  (Remember that SLG & OBP overlap hugely, and that there also is a correlation between taking walks and getting XBH anyway).  Variation in HR was the single biggest correlate with variation in runs scored (over 60%), followed by doubles, then singles & walks basically tied.

          Repeat the experiment with 2010, 2009, etc., and the correlation coefficients vary a little, but SLG always explains more variation in runs scored than does OBP.


  • rcleven

    This season is starting to feel like Chinese water torture. Slow drips to the forehead till I am ready to scream.

  • TrueblueCubbie

    I’m not upset… I’m not upset… I’m not upset…

    I just keep repeating that to myself when I see the score of the games and look at the standings.

  • Paul

    things will get better about 2014

  • Jesse

    That 2011 squad…aint..looking so terrible now. They could at least hit the ball somewhat.

  • MichaelD

    The Cubs 2010 draft is looking really bad right now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Matt Szczur came out of the 2010 draft, as did Austin Reed, Ben Wells, Elliot Soto, Micah Gibbs, and several others.  It doesn’t look as good as the 2011 draft by any means (it was much lower budget for one thing), but I wouldn’t say it looks bad.  Szczur is one of the highest rated prospects from that entire draft, after all.  And there is no reason Golden can’t bounce back from this injury.  It will delay him, sure, but there it alone should not block him from reaching his ceiling.

      • MichaelD

        I like Matt Sczur but less than two years later to have a grand total of one player who looks on track to have any type of successful Major League career and maybe a couple of high-upside low-level pitchers looks bad to me. However, I will concede the point that I overstated the effect on Golden’s career at this point.

  • TrueblueCubbie

    I was reading the comments late last night on the Cubs sight and read the funniest, yet saddest thing ever concerning the draft from one commenter. And I quote

    “no good players ever come from the draft”

    I laughed for a good 5 minutes. Just thought I would share.

  • Cubmig

    “Being a good hitter in the bigs is a process of constant adjustment. Pitchers are figuring LaHair out a bit, and he’ll have to adjust once again.”

    Can’t help but think how this may serve as a rationale for Starlin’s at bats. The way he swings at any kind of pitch must drive pitchers nuts trying to “figure” him out. Nothing thrown is “safe”.

    • MichCubFan

      No, it makes it really easy to pitch to him because if you throw good pitches he will get himself out…. It’s the guys who take a lot of pitches that get to a pitcher. You miss a little bit of the zone, or don’t get some borderline pitches and you get deeper into counts and sometimes start to throw the ball at the middle of the plate more. Thats when more guys get on base, and runs get scored on you.

  • Pat

    Doesn’t “coming out with a vengance” pretty much lead to “trying too hard” or overthrowing everything again? I’d rather hear him say he’s going to put this one behind him and treat the next start like any other.

  • Senior Lake

    I used to play cards with a guy that got some sort of infection on his upper leg. He said “I want to give it one more week” and ended up getting gang green in his ball bag.

    • Cubs Dude

      That’s pretty intense Senior..

  • koboldekobold

    DFA Baker. He doesn’t even seem to hit lefties anymore.