We’ll pause from Wrigley renovation obsession – a reminder: the press conference is coming at 11am CT, so I’d expect a great deal more information then – to dwell on the rest of the Cubs’ world, which isn’t quite as cheery these days …
- The Cubs have held a lead in four of their eight losses this year, which isn’t all that easy to do. Indeed, if they’d held a late lead in three of those losses, the Cubs would now be 7-5, tied with the Cardinals for first in the NL Central. Swallow that pill.
- Steve Clevenger, who is now on the 60-day DL with a strained oblique, says he felt like he got stabbed in the side when he went down on Saturday on the final swing of the game. Of the loss of Clevenger, Dale Sveum pointed out the obvious problem. “You could see you that bench was able to work correctly with three catchers,” Sveum said, per Sahadev Sharma. “Kind of makes it easier for a manager to mix and match at the end of games. So, yeah, it’s very unfortunate. I wouldn’t say you’re without [the ability to pinch hit Dioner Navarro], you probably have to be a little choosier. Sometimes you just have to [do it]. If it’s going to win you a game in the seventh inning, you just have to say, ‘Hey Castillo, don’t get hurt.’” In truth, Sveum burned through both Clevenger and Navarro a couple times last week, so he’s clearly unafraid of leaving himself without a back-up catcher, whether there are two of them on the bench originally or just one. He’s actually been more bold in that regard than I would have expected. I’m undecided on whether it’s a good idea or not, especially when there are still other hitters available on the bench. Navarro’s hit a couple homers, yes, but, for his career, it’s very hard to argue that he’s a better bench bat than Scott Hairston or Dave Sappelt.
- In the end, Clevenger’s value was his versatility – he was set to start at third base yesterday before the Saturday injury – which only plays if he hits. Sure, it’s nice to have the flexibility to futz around with the catchers, but that’s only relevant when they aren’t an offensively liability. I’m not sure Clevenger and Navarro (again, two pinch hits notwithstanding) had yet reached that level. Clevenger was, essentially, the last guy to make the roster, and he may not have stuck around after Darwin Barney and Ian Stewart return. What I’m driving at: the injury absolutely sucks for Clevenger, and I feel bad for the guy. But I’m not sure how much worse off the Cubs really are.
- On the game-tying homer yesterday by Hunter Pence in the 9th, it sounds like Dale Sveum wasn’t too happy that Shawn Camp shook off Navarro in favor of a slider (which he ended up hanging).
- Edwin Jackson discusses how he fell apart late in the game yesterday.
- With reliever Kameron Loe added to the 40-man yesterday, and Rafael Dolis called up as a short-term fill-in for the injured Kyuji Fujikawa, you can expect that Dolis will be optioned back to AAA Iowa to make room on the 25-man for Loe. Darwin Barney will also be activated tomorrow, so there will be a flurry of roster moves, though they’re all pretty predictable at this point.
- An excellent profile on Jeff Samardzija in the New York Times by Ben Strauss.
- Len Kasper on his new partner Jim Deshaies, who is fitting in quite nicely (both in Len’s opinion and my own).
- We’re without Luke for a few days, so the Minor League Daily is going to be hit-and-miss. I’d planned to do my version this morning, but the Wrigley news has thrown the publication schedule off a bit. All I can say for certain is that you’ll be happy when Luke returns.