Well, it’s been an ugly stretch. After being informed that my usually-reliable host had suffered a “mild” power outage, an MRI revealed that the issue was far more serious than originally feared. That led to the herculean downtime you saw over the past 16 hours, for which I apologize profusely (not that there was anything I could have done about it). The site is currently on a throwing program, and should be ready to get back on the mound soon.
Unless it isn’t. If the site should go down again today, make sure to check for updates on Twitter and Facebook, since they would be the only places I could go. Let’s all cross our fingers it doesn’t come to that.
How about some Bullets? (Which don’t include Wrigley renovation talk, which is coming later this morning – there’s A LOT to discuss.)
- In light of Ian Stewart starting the season on the disabled list, Dale Sveum has said that Brent Lillibridge is now effectively guaranteed a spot on the roster (which will require an opened 40-man spot).
- ESPN’s David Schoenfield conducts a simplistic experiment to see if the Cubs have a home-field disadvantage (relative to other teams), and, based on his calculations it looks like Wrigley Field costs the Cubs two to three wins per season, compared to other teams’ home-field advantages. While the experiment couldn’t say for sure, the “day game” problem is likely the prevailing issue, but I’ll try not to open that can of worms right now … (though it’s awfully convenient for someone like me, who buys the “day game” problem, that the Cubs are pushing for extra night games for financial reasons – then I can support more night games for that reason without raising the ire of folks who think I’m just making excuses for poor Cubs play).
- You may have missed yesterday’s flurry of posts, because the site went down shortly thereafter, but the Cubs traded for a 21-year-old outfield prospect, Scott Baker has been shut down indefinitely, an international draft is probably on the way, and there was a new Lukewarm Stove.
- Speaking of Baker being shut down, Theo Epstein said he’s hopeful that the five guys they presently have in the rotation – Samardzija, Jackson, Feldman, Wood, Villanueva – can stay healthy until Baker and Matt Garza return, but he’ll keep looking at possible options outside of the organization if needed. “That’s why you build up depth in the first place,” Epstein told the Sun-Times. “If we didn’t have the numbers that we had coming into camp, we’d be in dire straits right now.”
- Sammy Sosa had kind words for the family of deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Which … yeah.
- I wrote yesterday’s Spring Training Miscellany on a notepad while I patiently waited for the site to return. Now that a day has passed and an entire Miscellany post seems silly, I’ll just put it here in the Bullets so you can see what I would have said:
The Cubs, with their Opening Day lineup, took down the mighty Rangers today (also featuring regulars), which suggests to me that any Cactus League struggles to this point are merely a reflection of the fact that the Cubs weren’t trying.
Chris Rusin had his first rough outing of the Spring, although it wasn’t atrocious. He gave up four runs in his five innings on seven hits, but he didn’t walk anyone and struck out four. I’d think he’s still in line to be the Cubs’ emergency starter, and has a good shot at the bullpen right now.
Blake Parker got the 9th inning today – following Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, and James Russell (all regulars) – which is modestly interesting. He allowed one hit and nothing else (striking out one) in his inning of work. He’s at least as plausible an option for the pen as a Zach Putnam, Drew Carpenter, or Jaye Chapman. Which is to say it’s unlikely he makes the pen, but it’s possible.
Carlos Marmol: uneventful inning. That’s all I need to say.
Alfonso Soriano hit another homer today, and also had an outfield assist. He’s been having a fine Spring, which he often does.
Darwin Barney also went deep, which will almost certainly translate into increased power during the season. (Actually, his trajectory and build do have his power increasing slightly from year-to-year.)