There’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.