Happy Memorial Day to all, and I hope you are able to meet the day not only with friends and family (and a day off work), but also with thoughts about the importance of this day, whatever it might mean to you. We’ll have light posting today, as I’ll be doing various family things (if news breaks, obviously, that’ll find it’s way here, too). You can expect, at a minimum, the Series Preview, Pre-Gamin’ and EBS to arrive as usual.
- Dale Sveum doesn’t sound too happy about the way Matt Garza was beat yesterday by the Pirates. “He was getting beat by pitches he shouldn’t be throwing people, really,” Sveum said. “He was getting beat by is fourth best pitch and he had a great fastball today. I don’t know why he wanted to use those pitches but it came back to haunt him, that’s for sure …. I’ll have to talk to him again. He got into a situation against a couple of guys where velocity gets them. He decided to throw changeups. It’s not exactly protocol or what the game plan was. It’s unfortunate. They hit them out of the ballpark. A lot of times they will roll over on them too but that’s the way things are going.”
- Garza wasn’t too pleased, himself. “The last couple have been frustrating but you have to keep going and keep grinding,” Garza told reporters in Pittsburgh. “I’m going to keep going at it. There is nothing else I can do. Just keep going every day going hard and grinding it out. It’s going to turn. It’s gotta turn.” Garza’s performances could put the Cubs in a tough spot as they theoretically try to negotiate an extension with their ace. If he continues to pitch poorly, not only might the Cubs lose trade value, but they also might be reluctant to pony up to keep him. Worst case scenario? Garza is unwilling to accept the Cubs’ terms, his value goes down in trade, and the Cubs are faced with the decision of getting very little for him this Winter, or letting him pitch out his final year of arbitration before he departs for free agency. It’s still a bit early to be worried about that, but let’s hope he turns things around soon.
- In the kind of move that leads to more jokes than thoughtful discussion, Dale Sveum confirmed yesterday that Rafael Dolis was no longer the team’s closer. “It’s a combination of youth and being put in a situation he probably shouldn’t be put in, for obvious reasons,” Sveum said of Dolis. “It’s funny because he started out doing a nice job. Now it’s a combination of making sure you repeat the mechanics that he has in the bullpen. He’s throwing great bullpens and he gets on the mound and wants to recoil and fall off and do these things. It’s a matter of being able to get on the mound, no matter what inning it is or how many outs, and repeat your delivery and throw back to back quality pitches.” James Russell is probably the “closer” now, but I doubt much is set in stone.
- Speaking of which, Carlos Marmol threw another inning at Iowa yesterday, walking a guy and throwing two wild pitches, but striking out the side. That sounds like Marmol.
- I got into a discussion on Twitter yesterday with BP’s Kevin Goldstein about Dillon Maples – you’ll remember him as the kid the Cubs gave $2.5 million after selecting him in the 14th round of the 2011 Draft – and how he hasn’t pitched yet this year. Goldstein indicated that Maples was still in extended Spring Training, which we knew, but I asked if he knew whether Maples was on a throwing program of some sort (because he hasn’t been appearing in games). Because he’s awesome, Goldstein dug in, and found out that, indeed, Maples is on a throwing program while he rehabs from elbow soreness, but is expected to be ready to go when short-season baseball gets underway in mid-June. That’s great news. And if you aren’t following Goldstein on Twitter, you should be.