Happy Labor Day, friends, and I hope you’re relaxing or firing up the grill today. Enjoy it.
- Dale Sveum suggested yesterday that Travis Wood is locked into a starting spot next year. “He’s positioned himself as one of our starters [for 2013],” Sveum said of the 25-year-old, per Carrie Muskat. “He’s made strides to learn how to pitch completely different than he ever has, and it’s made him able to survive and have some really good games …. He’s coming, and it’s been an adjustment, but I think he’s done a pretty good job, too.” I think it’s fine to believe that Wood projects to be one of the five starters next year, but I think it’s hard to say with certainty that he’s going to be one of the guys in the same way that you can say with certainty that Jeff Samardzija is going to be one of the guys. We can’t yet know what offseason moves will be made, nor can we know what strides other rotation competitors might make. I’m not saying Sveum is wrong – he can’t be, since it’s largely his decision, assuming Wood is still on the roster – I’m saying only that it’s September 3. A lot can change. As things are looking, though, behind Samardzija and Matt Garza, Wood is the likeliest currently-rostered pitcher to have a rotation spot next year. I doubt Sveum meant to say much more than that.
- Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio points out that, clearly, the sole reason for the Cubs’ disastrous season was none other than Koyie Hill. “That was crushing,” Bosio told the Tribune of the 12-game losing streak back in May when the Cubs had all of Geovany Soto, Welington Castillo, and Steve Clevenger on the DL. “Those who really know baseball know it’s hard to get the battery on the same page, and then you’re forced to bring in a guy [Koyie Hill] who hasn’t been with you all spring and doesn’t really know what we’re doing. That, to me, was the hardest point, the most challenging point of the season.” Boom. Koyie’d.
- More don’t-rest-guys-against-contenders stuff from Sveum. “I’ll give them days off when I think it’s called for and we’re not playing contending teams,’’ Sveum said, per the Sun-Times. “A lot of times you can tell [when a day off is needed], but sometimes you have to keep them in the lineup. And you never think of taking two guys out on the same day.’’ Never! You NEVER(!) rest two starters on the same day! Heresy, I say! (I hate myself for saying it, but Dusty Baker used to rest four regulars on the same day. I kind of liked that approach – or maybe I’m just recreating my memory because I think it’s kind of lame to arbitrarily decide that you just CAN’T rest two starters on the same day … in September of a completely lost season.) (I still like Dale. Don’t write me angry letters.)
- Alfonso Soriano is now the 10th player with at least four 25-home run seasons with the Cubs. The other nine include some names you may have heard of: Sammy Sosa, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Aramis Ramirez, Ryne Sandberg, Hank Sauer, Bill Nicholson, and Hack Wilson.
- As noted on Twitter (you followin’?), reliever Miguel Socolovich, claimed on waivers from the Orioles a couple weeks ago, is now up with the big team.
- Alex Hinshaw, the lefty whom the Cubs claimed off of waivers from the Padres before he imploded against the Brewers, has been outrighted to AAA Iowa … whose season is over. He was DFA’d last week.
- The MLBullets at BCB look at the Tigers’ sweep of the White Sox, which brought them into a tie atop the AL Central. Soxenfreude?