We leave the beach tonight – we’re doing the overnight drive thing again so the kiddo can sleep – so you can expect that tonight’s EBS will be delayed until tomorrow morning. Bullets…
- From the man who brought us the cat’s pajamas, we now have crapshow. “Pretty crappy,” Garza told reporters when asked about his first half. “I started out great, got sick, and then it just went to a crapshow from there. I pride myself on what I do, and I’m not too happy with the way I ended this half. Believe me, I’ll come out pissed off, and it will be one hell of a second half.” I don’t think Garza’s first half was quite as bad as Garza thinks, but you can’t argue with a good quote. And I reckon he’s right: he’ll have a good second half. It remains to be seen which team he’ll have it for.
- Jeff Samardzija’s last start was dominant, in part, because he didn’t use an experimental curveball that had been giving him some trouble in recent starts (specifically, he had trouble throwing it for strikes). But he says he’s not ready to give up on it permanently. “These last few starts we have been feeling things out, seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Samardzija. “But I was kind of fed up with walking guys and stuff so I really wanted to get into the zone, and I knew I could get into the zone with my slider …. I think the more I get to learn myself and how I pitch in games and how guys approach me at the plate, I think there will definitely be time to use the curveball again. But it still needs work, and I need to learn how to carry over the work from the bullpen into a game. And it’s a learning process especially with that pitch.” I kind of love this – in a lost season, and one in which Samardzija is learning to be a big league starting pitcher, why not work on things over the course of several starts to see what’s working and what isn’t, rather than just go with your “A” stuff every start to get a win? I know that probably sounds worse than I intend it, but Samardzija’s value to the Cubs could be far greater in 2013 and beyond than it is in 2012.
- There is a growing sense that Ryan Dempster will indeed start on Sunday, sooner than expected, but will be on a strict pitch count. Chris Volstad will get the start if it isn’t Dempster, and we’re expecting to find out today who’ll get the nod.
- Anthony Rizzo talks about adjusting to life in Chicago off the field.
- Dale Sveum talks about what might have been if the Cubs had Rizzo in the lineup earlier in the year. I can address that one: the Cubs would have lost a couple fewer games, would still be far out of playoff contention, and would have lost a year of control over Rizzo. I’m not making a value judgment there – you can say whether that would have been good or bad – I’m just saying that Rizzo’s absence wasn’t the reason the Cubs fell out of it.
- As Luke pointed out this morning in his Minor League Daily, Javier Baez came in at number 25 on Baseball America’s midseason top 50 prospect list, which is awesome, but heavily caveated – the list doesn’t include recent promotions, international signings, or 2012 draftees. When all of that shakes out, you can figure Baez is probably closer to 35 or 40, but it’s still a really healthy bump from where he was pre-season. You can also probably expect that Jorge Soler and Albert Almora would be somewhere in that top 50.
- John Sickels also did a midseason re-rank a few days ago, and the Cubs had three guys on it – Anthony Rizzo (22 – who has since become ineligible), Javier Baez (43), Brett Jackson (55), and Matt Szczur was an honorable mention. Again, the list did not include 2012 draftees or recent international signees.
- MLBullets on BCB feature a discussion of Josh Hamilton’s human-hood, and his upcoming tricky free agency.