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darwin barney punched in the neckThere’s a fresh podcast episode on the way later today and I’m thanking we recorded before last night’s heartbreaker. My mic would have been punished.

  • Darwin Barney, whose line drive to center ended the game last night when Craig Gentry dove and caught it, pretty much summed up what all of us who were watching were thinking. “Unfortunately, I got punched in the neck, it felt like,” Barney said of the almost-hit, per Cubs.com. “You get a good piece and you pray it drops, and it doesn’t. That’s part of the game. What a catch out there. Gosh. That ball gets by him, it’s game over.” If it’s any consolation, it was a hell of an at bat by Barney against one of the best closers in the game.
  • Jed Hoyer told the media that the reason for swapping lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi out of the pen with Kevin Gregg is that Gregg simply has better stuff. Obviously the Cubs felt like Takahashi was never going to be more than a long man for them, and that isn’t the need right now. I still question the wisdom of flicking the switch after just two weeks – and leaving the bullpen with just one lefty (James Russell, who is not a lefty you’re necessarily going to just want to use on match-ups). I also question how much Gregg really has left in the tank, but I guess we’ll see.
  • Jed Hoyer on the frustration of the first two weeks, per Carrie Muskat: “It’s always bad when you can’t close out games. If you want to look for a silver lining, we’ve been in a lot of games and we should’ve won more. If you’re getting blown out night after night and don’t have the talent to compete, I think it would be more frustrating. I think the way we’ve played is probably the most frustrating brand of baseball. There’s nothing worse than winning a game for 2 hours 45 minutes and then losing. I think that starts to wear on a team. As the game goes, the most frustrating brand of baseball is winning for most of the night and losing in the end, and we need to stop that. Obviously, the bullpen needs to tighten up and the defense needs to tighten up, too.”
  • I’m guessing that Hoyer was just playing fast and loose with his phrasing when he told Cubs.com that Kyuji Fujikawa’s “elbow was definitely barking,” and that’s why he went to the DL. You’ll recall, the Cubs were very careful to emphasize that his issue is wholly unrelated to his elbow, and is just a forearm muscular thing. As I mentioned at the time of the injury, forearm issues are often related to elbow issues, and you get nervous about the latter when you hear about the former. That nervousness amplifies when the GM describes the soreness as in the elbow. Fortunately, Hoyer said in the same session that there are no long-term worries with Fujikawa, and he just needs some rest. He dealt with it in Spring Training, apparently, and the Cubs thought they had it cleared up with a week’s worth of rest at that time. Hopefully this time the rest works.
  • Jorge Soler is listed on Daytona’s roster now that his five-game suspension for the bat incident has ended, but he wasn’t with Daytona for their game yesterday. He’s been in Arizona playing in extended Spring Training games, and Scouting/Player Development Chief Jason McLeod told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Soler would return to Daytona “when we feel that he’s ready to get back on the field and compete from all aspects – physically and mentally.” Holding Soler back for a little while after the suspension is not really surprising (especially given that Daytona played the same team yesterday as they played in the bat incident game). Five games may have been enough punishment, but it might not have been long enough for the Cubs to give Soler the kind of support they feel like he needs before getting back out there. I’d tentatively expect to see him back with Daytona within the week, though.
  • A.J. Pierzynski to Paul Sullivan about the numbers on the Eamus Catuli sign: “It’s my favorite sign. They brought it back for old time’s sake, so I’m glad to see they brought it back …. What, it has been 104 [years] now? Still going though.” He loves playing the heel.
  • cubchymyst

    The best thing that can happen for the Cubs bullpen is Garza (and Baker later) to come back. It will force one (two with Baker) into the bullpen. Right now it is looking like Feldmann, who has showed he is a good bullpen arm, will be the first to go to the pen. After that my guess is that it would be Wood to add a second left to the pen. I would not be upset though if Wood stayed in the rotation because he has been pitching great so far.

    • willis

      It would be the best thing, if we could count on it. I think Garza will be ok and get back within the month. But Baker, I wouldn’t expect seeing him anytime soon. But Garza’s return will push Feldman to the pen which will help bolster it some.

      But, by the middle of May or so, this team will be so far out of contention who really cares? It could be a lot better.

      • cubchymyst

        The bullpen can not continue to be this bad (at least I hope not) they are performing about as bad as they can and should regress back towards the mean some. I think once Fujikawa comes back from his arm strain and a one of the current starters gets moved to the pen, the situation will improve quite a bit. By the time that occurs about 20-25% of the season would have passed. So there is still time to slow the bleeding to the point that it isn’t an abysmal season.

  • North Side Irish

    So the White Sox make money off the tax payers, and the Cubs aren’t allowed to spend their own money without permission? I’m sure there’s a lot more to this lawsuit, but I prefer to jump to high level conclusions without context.

    http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/22001242/lawsuit-names-white-sox-owner-former-governor

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m still saying that regardless of the Cubs losing that was one of the most exciting 2 outs AB I’ve seen in a long time. That was a great inning of baseball it just sucks it ended with a loss, but its encouraging that we have been in more games (or blown more games) than actually not having a chance in these games. I kind of see it like a really low BABIP eventually it will return to the norm, we can’t lose every lead and fall short on every scoring opportunity. I’m not saying we are going to having a winning record but this will be about as heartbreaking a stretch as we will see. As I said last night I’d rather watch baseball that has this level of drama than watch a game we never had a shot to win.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I would take winning in a blow out every once in awhile.

      • hansman1982

        Nah, admit it, you are happy when they lose…

        • MichiganGoat

          Yup now if only we had Marwin Gonzalez

  • Rcleven

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal 4m

    Team OPS, bottom five: #Marlins .539, #Rays .588, #Pirates .602, #Cubs .648, #Mariners .650.

    • hansman1982

      Interesting that the bottom 5 in that list are also 5 of the bottom 6 in BABIP.

  • Bilbo161

    That Barney at bat was awesome. Everyone is always bitching about his bat but I think it will be a lot harder to take his job than his naysayers think. He kinda reminds me a bit of Ozzie Smith. Ozzie took a number of years ( I want to say 5 or so?) to get his OBP up to an acceptable level, but after that he became an asset at the plate. I think we have a lot of middle infield talent in the minors, but Barney may surprise with the bat going forward.

  • MightyBear

    I think when the weather heats up, the Cubs will too. I just hope it’s not too late.

  • Larry Bittner

    That Texas starting pitcher last night was awesome. He almost got Marmoled

  • curt

    f*** aj he is and always has been an assbag.

  • terencemann

    Here’s a nice gif of the game ending play along with Nathan and Barney’s reactions, if you like being depressed or something:

    http://www.freegifhub.com/i/gentry.gif

    • hansman1982

      This makes me angry.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    There is one huge difference between Barney and Smith: Ozzie always had a very good batting eye, and he was walking at better than league average rates even when he was hitting 0.230 with no power. Ozzie probably was hurt by the “middle infielders need to just make contact” strategy that was so common before Ripken, Trammel, Sandberg, etc., came along. Had Ozzie been coached to try to drive the ball, then he probably would have become a better hitter much more quickly than he did.

  • CubsFanBob

    It was a fun game to be at. Weather wasnt so bad on the right side since the wind was blowing towards 3rd base.

    Few insights-
    - Watching Barney live vs the other second baseman we have had playing the last two weeks reinforced to me just has special of a player he is on defense. I am almost positive we dont turn two in the first with lillibridge playing 2nd.

    -Sappelt just looks mismatched and guessing too much batting

  • corey costello

    Man, the entire night none of the balls the cubs hit would carry, but Barney finally smacks one and it carries all the way to midfield.

    Damn.

  • Frankdatank

    Theo can you sign Micheal Barrett for the make up game so he can shut AJ’s mouth?

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