The Wife and I head home today after a nice Chicago visit. Bullets…
- Every article everywhere about yesterday’s 3-0 Cubs win over the Red Sox has one theme (aside from the whole Theo Epstein thing): if it was Ryan Dempster’s last start with the Cubs, it was a great way to go out. Forgetting the fact that we don’t really have a reason to believe this particular start was his last with the Cubs (even if we’re pretty certain he’s going to be traded in the coming weeks), I’d rather just focus on the fact that Dempster is pitching the best baseball of his career right now. You’d have to be tone deaf to ignore the obvious impact his performance could have on his trade value, but I’m not exactly interested in treating every single one of Dempster’s next three, four, five (however many) starts as his swan song. For now, I just want to see Dempster pitch well – for a number of reasons – and we’ll celebrate his time with the Cubs when he’s actually moved on.
- For his part, Dempster remains a head-d0wn, just-do-my-best kind of guy. “I’m not naïve. I’m not oblivious to what’s going on,” Dempster said. “It’s one of those things where if I focused on that, or worried about that, I wouldn’t be doing a very good job as a teammate. Whatever ends up happening ends up happening. Right now, I’m here and love being here and everybody knows that. I love the city of Chicago and playing for the Cubs.”
- I said a couple weeks ago that the Cubs had to be hoping that Carlos Marmol could string together just a few decent outings in middle relief so that they’d have an excuse to put him back in the closer’s role, where he could theoretically regain just a shred of trade value. And, yesterday, that plan came to fruition as Marmol got the closer’s job back. It was a dicey 9th (not entirely his fault), but he got the save without giving up a run. Dale Sveum had to pop out to have a chat with Marmol at one point, and Marmol said it was not a friendly discussion. “He didn’t tell me any nice thing,” Marmol said. “He let me [stay in]. It was nice, and I appreciate it. He said to just throw strikes, ‘I don’t want to take you out of the game, let’s go.'”
- Dempster won $500 from Tony Campana by getting a triple before the speedster did. How has Campana not turned a double into a triple yet?
- Luis Valbuena will be the primary starter at third base while Ian Stewart is out. “There’s his defense, a left-handed bat, he can drive the ball; I’ll keep him in there,” Sveum said. “He was swinging the bat real well down there so you try to keep that left-handed bat in that lineup as much as you can.” Not Adrian Cardenas? Not even sharing time? Shrug. I’ve gotta believe a small part of the reason we’ll see more of Valbuena than someone like Cardenas is because Valbuena’s defense (theoretically), like Stewart’s, helps the Cubs’ pitchers. And, the better they do over the next month, the better things are for the Cubs’ front office.
- The Cubs are thinking about going with three catchers when Geovany Soto is ready to return from the disabled list. Since Steve Clevenger can play other positions, it might make some sense, but, then again, who gets the boot from the bench? Cardenas? Then your only back-ups at shortstop are starting elsewhere (Barney and Valbuena). Baker? Only if he’s traded. The concept of carrying three catchers, one of whom can “play elsewhere” is interesting in theory, but in practice, it makes for some difficult roster decisions unless there are trades in the works.
- A great article on Matt Garza and his military dad. I won’t call the man the cat’s pajamas because of the obvious whimsy, but I will say that the guy sounds like a seriously impressive dude.
- Josh Beckett, who was scheduled to pitch tomorrow night for the Red Sox, will have his start skipped as he deals with shoulder inflammation. Lefty Franklin Morales will take the start instead, although the setup man hasn’t started a game since 2009.
- Peter Gammons interviewed Theo Epstein. In part, Epstein talks about having to “scratch and claw” to bring needed talent to the Cubs.
- Congrats to blaker19 for winning the one-day fantasy contest, and to trd110, bolton143, illinibutts, and cubsnation for rounding out the top five. I finished in the top 30%, so I’m pretty satisfied with having beat 70% of you. Keep your eyes peeled for the next one in a few weeks.