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sad pandaThe Little Girl, with encouragement from The Wife, just painted the center toe on my right foot a delightful shade of blue. With sparkles. Fatherhood!

  • The offensive woes so far this year, to me, are reflective of only two things: (1) Overall lack of offensive talent relative to other teams; and (2) bad luck. You can’t do much about either of them at this point (the first one was always going to be the case this year), and I actually don’t think the Cubs have had a bad approach at the plate. To the contrary, I’ve been more encouraged by what I’ve seen through four games than any year in recent memory. The Cubs – not all of them, but the majority – are taking all borderline pitches until they get to two strikes. They are swinging early in the count when there’s a pitch in their wheelhouse. It’s everything you want to see your lineup doing – they just haven’t had much luck with the balls dropping (or with opposing pitchers doing anything but pounding the zone (hence the low BB rate and high K rate)). Their team BABIP right now is .167. Stay the course, boys. Stay the course.
  • (That said, it’s worth noting that, in the aggregate, the Cubs aren’t making much hard contact right now. Their 14.8% line drive percentage is the worst in baseball.)
  • Scott Feldman and Dale Sveum agreed on the righty’s tough start last night: no command. Feldman simply didn’t know where his pitches were going, and, unless you’re Aroldis Chapman, you can’t pitch well that way. On the bright side, I was impressed with Feldman’s raw stuff. He had the look of a guy who could easily be a better than average starter if he could just hit his spots consistently. I suppose you could say that about a lot of pitchers who flame out, though.
  • A Matt Garza update: he feels good after that 25-pitch bullpen session, and he’ll do it again tomorrow. Garza told the media that he’s not even working on building up arm strength at this point – it’s already there – he’s just working on mechanics and getting into form for the season. That’s a good sign. It’ll still take him a few more bullpen sessions to start stretching out enough for a rehab assignment, so let’s start doing some back of the napkin calculations (with no setbacks): a bullpen on Sunday, and another on Wednesday probably. One more on Saturday, which is April 13. Let’s say the next session starts bumping the pitch count up on April 17. From there, you’ve got to say there would be at least three rehab starts – April 22, April 27, May 2 – before there is a chance he returns. That would put something in the May 7 to May 10 range as the earliest you could see Garza start for the Cubs this year. Injuries suck.
  • A random thought on the various reports of a Wrigley renovation deal: they all mention at least two new signs in the ballpark – a video board in left, and a new sign in right – but isn’t that just a net of one sign? The video board is, presumably, going to be replacing the Toyota sign in left field, as that’s the least obstructive spot in the outfield. Whatever sign the Cubs add in right, it would seem, would simply be a reallocation of the sign they already had. Unless, that is, the Cubs can figure a way to keep the Toyota sign in left while still adding the video board next to it. If not, all that’s really been added, in terms of revenue and outfield clutter, is the video board.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren turned the figurative hose on Cubs pitchers who were playing on his lawn.
  • The Boise Hawks have new uniforms, including unique hats that very much incorporate the “Hawks” element. I could see some folks disliking the look, but this is what minor league uniforms look like. They get creative. I’m fine with it.
  • I wrote a new piece over at PuckerPants about the growth of BN and the tipping point, as near as I can figure it.
  • Demarrer

    Bret. What is the average team BABIP?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Average BABIP tends to be right around .300.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Around .300

  • cedlandrum

    I like the hat and the uni.

    On another note. The offense….ugh!

  • JP

    Brett, Was at Fitch the other day, watched Stewart work out, he looked good. Seemed to be close to 100%, when will he be back?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s good to hear. He’s not expected back until early May – expected to require a two-week rehab stint.

      • hansman1982

        I might have to go check him out if it’s in Iowa.

        I wonder if the Cubs will be sending rehab projects to Kane (which seems like entirely too low of a level for them to rehab at but it’s close to Wrigley)

        • miggy80

          Hansman, you still going to opening day?

  • hansman1982

    That hat is unique. For being unique it isn’t an ugly hat.

    Well, so far the Cubs pitching has kept the Cubs in all of the games and even with a ridiculously low BABIP they are scoring a couple runs a game. Once that BABIP normalizes we should see some scoring.

    • jt

      In one breath Brett states that the BABIP is low because of luck.
      In the next breath he mentions the line drive % is the lowest in the league.
      I would suggest hitting more line drives rather than waiting for luck to change in order to “normalize” the BABIP.
      Of course, the weather will warm and the pitchers tire a bit so that may happen anyway.

      • Kyle

        Brace yourself, I’m going to blow your mind.

        It can be and is both. The Cubs’ BABIP is abnormally low even accounting for their LD%, but their LD% also needs to come up.

        • jt

          Soriano hit a 390 ft fair non-dinger the other night. From a pitcher who has just a bit less umph and warmer night with lighter air it could have been, might have been…
          sure, there is fluctuation (luck)! But it could also be that the times they do square on the pitch that they don’t square with purpose. That is to say, they are still hitting the pitchers pitch and hitting into the defense.

  • FFP

    Boise is the home of The World Center for Birds of Prey. I am enough of a hawk watching geek that I have visited the Center (think Jurassic Park for a feathered T-Rex), and enough of a baseball geek that I have been waiting for these new Boise unis. (I assume it is partly the fame of the Center and its Peregrine Project that the Cubs took the name “Hawks” for.)

    Thanks for the update, Brett, but I like the new uniforms as much as I like a endangered species restoration project turned theme park: a hat that looks like a kid’s brain is being scooped out by giant talons? yeah, I guess there is a demographic for that. I’m not in it.

    Oh, well. I’ll just keep watching both baseball and birds in the wild. And, I just saved 39.50 plus shipping!

    • miggy80

      Good info. to know that Boise has “The World Center for Birds of Prey”. At least for us geeks.

    • WGNstatic

      “I assume it is partly the fame of the Center and its Peregrine Project that the Cubs took the name “Hawks” for.”

      The team name Hawks predates the affiliation with the Cubs. Prior to the Cubs (and while I lived in Idaho – grrmph) the Hawks were affiliated with the Angels. They had some really awful logos building off the wing theme (get it, Hawks and Angels both have wings… clever eh?)

  • Brian

    Great article on pucker pants. I’d like you to know this is my home for all cubs news. I check the site everyday. Great job with the site and congrats.

  • BluBlud

    I like the new unis. I think more MLB team should start incorporating more fun into the unis like the minor league teams do.

    As for the article about the growth of BN, I was told not to open the page because it was unsafe. As much I go at it with some people people here, especially the Dimwits like Hansman, TWC, Michigan Goat, Doc, Darth ;) (those guys clearly have no clue about baseball) and a few others, this is by the best site on the internet. I <3 BN.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      What browser are you using, an did it mention how you can report that as a mistake (long story, but the site is very much safe)?

      • BluBlud

        Internet explorer. It’s my work computer. Unfortunately, I’m stuck at work all weekend, got a deadline to make. Sucks. Was supposed to be in ATL.

        • BluBlud

          this is what it says:

          This website has been reported to contain the following threats:
          Phishing threat: This is a phishing website that impersonates a trusted website to trick you into revealing personal or financial information.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Thanks, BB. I’ve had to correct a bunch of those, piecemeal. A very lame, unfortunate, and painful process. The real bummer is that the site never posed a risk to anyone. And yet I’ve been dealing with this for two weeks.

    • MichiganGoat

      [img]http://t.qkme.me/3pkgop.jpg[/img]

    • Red Baron 42

      I got the same thing today FWIW

  • FFP

    I wonder if Wren’s pre-game complaint is related to the weird delay to the start of the game???

  • FFP

    I hope Brett’s tailor made his all those seams in his trousers flexwell, because when the Cubs get back to the post-season the fire-hose that will hook up to this site is going to blow out all the wrinkles in his puckerpants.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Someone needs to tell Frank to get his players on time and our players wouldn’t come out there when we “aren’t suppose to”.

  • whiteflag

    I’m not a fan of the new uniforms. They look a little outdated to me. Brett, what are the chances we could get a full cubs schedule added to the tool bar? I’d never have to leave this site for cubs news then.

  • cubzfan

    Brett, I’ve seen your comments about not being in law anymore, and recognize you are THE driver behind this site, but honestly didn’t realize until now that you make this blog your full-time job (and financial support). I wish you the best, and plan to keep reading. I appreciate that you are not disingenuous about earning money from the site, as some other bloggers seem to be. I’ve been coming here more regularly for a few months now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thankz, cubz. And, yup, this place is now my 100% full-time job. Took a long time to get there.

      • WGNstatic

        Really, full time job, cuz it doesn’t really seem like you spend all that much time on the site ;)

        • MichiganGoat

          He leaves out his real business is making these:

          [img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-n6wuQHiNNj4/TyQ-nXzgl8I/AAAAAAAAAH4/8zPSrcP8elI/s1600/cat_pajamas.jpg[/img]
          BN is just a hobby

          • jt

            never, never thought I’d feel sorry for a cat…

  • Njriv

    I feel like this team is going to hit better when they start playing in warm weather more consistently, when balls start flying and players get more confidence, especially for guys like Soriano and Rizzo. Also, until Barney gets back and if Stewart shows he’s really healthy this team is really going to struggle in the lower third of that order. There has been spots already where Lilibridge, Valbuena or Gonzalez all they had to do was make contact and that would have gotten the job done, but they ended up striking out. That’s where they miss Barney’s contact factor, he doesn’t get a ton of hits but he sure does make contact. Anyhow, It has only been four games this season, we’ll see how things turn out.

  • EB

    I don’t hate the hat, but those uniforms are hideous

  • Edward

    In addition to bad luck and lack of relative talent, the cold weather certainly can’t help. I don’t have any statistics to back it up, but as a golfer, ball goes nowhere in cold temps. Sometimes a 20% drop in distance.

  • arealpoy

    Thanks for providing gr

    • arealpoy

      Sorry. Posting on a phone here. Just wanted to say thanks for providing great content and making this my go to source for Cubs rel

      • cdncubfan

        Wow. Enough of this phone business! That’s the last time I try that! Sorry for the clutter.

        Thank you Brett for providing great Cubs content and being up front about everything. The revenue generated and being completely transparent about RTO advertising during the Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch.

        This will become the go to source for Cubs related info. Especially once the team turns the corner and the upswing begins.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Thanks, cdn. Glad you’re enjoying.

  • another JP

    If we can win one of the next two games I don’t care how bad our hitting is- .500 on the road to start the year would be huge. With the exception of Marmol and Feldman our pitching has done well thus far and kept us in games.

  • miggy80

    Dam Ace you’re every where these days, and to think that the Jim Hendry of your previous law firm wasted a slot pick on you, but you flamed out.
    Hope some of these MLB flame outs are as successful as you ;)

    • miggy80

      FYI, this is a sarcastic funny comment in case you’re new to the site.

      • miggy80

        Bret what do I got to do for a shout out. Been digging on this site since the cubs limped out of 2009! Show some love Ace!

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          This is love.

          • miggy80

            awe Thanks Brett

  • Stu

    The cubs are 2-2. If they go .500, it will be considered a success.

    Even though they are last in OBP, they are close to the best in opposition OBP. I know it is early in the season.

    If Watkins continues to get on base in AAA, he MUST be looked at for promotion.

    • miggy80

      I was thinking the same last night. I-cubs home opener is the 12th I’ll get another look at him then.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    I dig the new uniforms. The hat is a little cheesy, but oh well, it’s Short A. The Cubs symbol on the thigh is fun too, although I don’t think that’s new.

  • Die hard

    We lack the speed needed to mfg runs that someone like Campana added

  • Idaho Razorback

    I thought the hat is the worst part of Boise’s new uniforms.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    On a side note, after 4 games we already have no undefeated or winless teams. Even if all of the teams were equally good, then we’d expect 3 or 4 of those simply by chance. And, of course, the teams are not all equally good, which means that we expect more than that.

    It’s meaningless, of course, but trivially interesting.

    • gutshot5820

      If they were equally good it would be 1 in 16 odds, so more like two teams that we should expect, I think.

      • WGNstatic

        Well the odds would be somewhat better than that, seeing as they are playing each other.

        If I am doing the math right…

        There is a 100% chance that after 1 game, every team will have a 0 in their record. There is a 50% chance that the team that won game one would win game 2, thus we would expect half the teams to have a 0 in their record after two games. Subsequently, we would expect the same odds in game three, thus leaving 25% of the teams with a 0 in their record.

        Now, with a new series (assuming for simplicity that no teams with a 0 in their record play one another), there is of course once again a 50% chance of the teams doing the same thing they have done in each of their first 3 games, so that leave a 12.5% chance that a team would have a 0 in their record at this point in the season, or 3.75 teams.

        wow… too much free time

        • gutshot5820

          Hmm… I think the odds are 15:1 and the probability is 1 in 16 that a team will win/lose 4 games in a row. So essentially what you are saying, same numbers different process.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        1 in 16 should be undefeated, 1 in 16 should have no victories, so 1 in 8 should be either winless or undefeated.

        • gutshot5820

          OK, makes sense, I mis-read your original post. I was under the impression we were talking about teams with no losses. But yes, now I see what you were trying to say. As bad as some of these teams are, you would think that a few would be win-less.

  • WGNstatic

    Speaking of uniform changes, it will be interesting to see if the Cougars uniforms/logo morph towards the Cubs at all. In the past they seem to have been pretty intentionally independent in their schemes, but now that they are affiliated with the Cubs there is an obvious marketing hook (and of course the opportunity to sell new stuff).

  • Red Baron 42

    This offense is brutal. I expect this may be the year they finally get no-hit by someone. I would guess a lefty like Hamels, Cliff Lee, or maybe someone like Baumgartner. The left handed platoon the Cubs are trotting out there are just horrible. Lillebridge, and Sappelt look especially bad. Valbuena..ugh..

    The pitching has looked suprisingly adequate. Even Feldman, while not great, looks like he could be a serviceable #5. We’ll see.

  • X The Cubs Fan

    I want one of those gray Boise Jerseys.

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