I’m sure you’re not at all sick of hearing about my travel plans, but you’re going to have to hear about them one more time. I’m headed back from Chicago today, so you can expect my absence for a bit. And then, almost as soon as I get home, The Wife, The Little Girl and I are headed to Northern Michigan to spend a week with her family (when your spouse is a teacher, you can expect to take a cluster of short trips in the Summer). Coverage will be normal this week, but things might be a bit choppy between now and tomorrow morning.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer says, no matter how well the Cubs play these next couple weeks, the sell trades are coming. “As far as the moves we make, we made our bed really in May and June to where we aren’t going to compete for a wild-card spot this year,” Hoyer said. “But it doesn’t mean we aren’t happy with the way we are playing. It’s nice to see us play more clean games and be much better offensively. It’s amazing how much the vibe around the team has picked up.” And that’s, of course, the right attitude. Even with the Cubs winning 11 of their last 15, the math on them getting to .500 by the end of the year – let alone getting to a playoff-caliber record – just doesn’t work. We can enjoy the wins, but the trades are coming.
- Hoyer, on being a seller: “It’s not a position you want to be in,” Hoyer said. “Certainly there are ways you can improve the organization by being in that situation but it’s frustrating because that means your record isn’t that good. It also means the players that are being asked about are good players and neither one is a positive. When you are in this situation, you think you have to do the best thing you can for the organization and you hope you aren’t in this position very often …. People probably look at where they are differently depending on what they expected at the beginning of the year. I think that is sort of like the draft stuff. We’ll see how that plays out at the deadline, we’ll see how that plays out in August. It is really jumbled. It’s definitely keeping a lot of teams in the race which was the intended purpose.”
- Hoyer also complimented his manager: “When the team is struggling as we did for a month and a half or so, it’s hard to be upbeat and be the same person. I think [Dale] did a great job of being the same person. Our success over the last few weeks is a result of that and I think that bodes well for the future.”
- Ryan Dempster’s 33 inning scoreless streak tied the longest for the Cubs since the 1930s (Ken Holtzman had a 33-inning streak in 1969, before that, the longest was Bill Lee with 37 innings in 1938). It’s actually his second streak over 30 innings – he went 30.1 scoreless between 2005 and 2006 as a reliever. “It’s pretty crazy,” Dempster said, according to Doug Padilla. “I think as a reliever when you do something like that it seems more realistic because you’re going out there one inning at a time. But to go out there start after start and not give up any runs, it’s pretty humbling. I’m just trying to get outs and win ballgames. I’m not expecting that.” Both streaks are pretty incredible.
- Hoyer offered high praise of Dempster, as you’d expect him to. “He’s fantastic,” Hoyer said. “He’s a top notch clubhouse guys and really a leader. He wanted to come back so badly from that injury. It showed us a lot. We could have taken it slower with him. He wanted to get back on the mound really quickly to compete and obviously pitched well in New York. He’s a guy that loves the competition on the mound and he wants to be out there and wants to be a part of it as much as possible.” In other words: hey, teams, Dempster is definitely as good as you think he is. Plus better.
- Jay Cutler “sang” the Seventh Inning Stretch yesterday, and it was hard to tell if it was actually as bad as it seemed from the seats, but apparently, it was. Not only was he completely monotone when “singing,” he knew only a handful of the words. I know it’s probably not easy to get up there and do that, but, like, have a cheat sheet handy if you think it’s going to be an issue.
- Javier Baez gets some love in a MILB.com article, and in the BA Hot Sheet. The short of it is: Baez is killing the ball right now, does everything well at a young age for his level, and is learning every day.