dale sveum head scratcherI’m going to Cincinnati on Wednesday to take in the Reds/Cubs game with my father-in-law, a Reds fan. It’s a Samardzija/Latos matchup, so that part should be good.

  • Scott Feldman sums up the costly error he made yesterday on a comebacker from Jean Segura, which preceded Ryan Braun’s homer. “It’s the most routine play of all-time,” Feldman said, per CSN. “It’s the most basic play you can make. You do it hundreds of times in spring training each year. It’s like a Little League play. It’s terrible.” The ball had a ton of spin off of Segura’s bat, and it wasn’t a total gimme, but, yes, it’s a play that, with focus, you should make every time. In this instance, it could have cost the Cubs the game. It was the second game in a row that a pitcher error led to unearned runs.
  • Speaking of the errors, here’s a rare moment of candor from a baseball player. Anthony Rizzo on the poor defensive play, per Carrie Muskat: “We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and that’s something we can’t do – I don’t think we’re good enough to be doing that. We need to play good baseball.” You won’t hear too many players conceding that, on a talent basis, their team isn’t really up to snuff. Rizzo is, of course, right: this team doesn’t not have nearly enough pure talent to overcome mistakes. Unfortunately mistakes are common to every team, which is why the teams with the best records tend to also be the teams with the most talent. I guarantee I could play some fundamentally/mentally-sound baseball. I also guarantee I would hit .000/.000/.000 with a billion physical errors.
  • You may have now read about comments Cubs manager Dale Sveum made yesterday, purportedly threatening to demote Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo to AAA if they keep making mental mistakes. Obviously I wasn’t there, but, having watched video of Sveum’s interview, I simply did not hear his comments the same way as some other writers. I heard Sveum asked a question about players like Rizzo and Castro, and I heard Sveum use that question as a springboard to speak generically about players not being invincible, and about them having to perform or they can work it out at AAA. Sveum didn’t exclude Rizzo or Castro from the AAA comment … but why would he? He was making a broader point. What was he supposed to say? “These guys need to know that they will produce, or they’ll be sent to the minors. Well, except Castro and Rizzo. They’re locked in no matter how poorly they perform. But the rest of the guys … grr! Watch out!”
  • Nowhere did I hear Sveum legitimately or credibly threaten that Rizzo or Castro, specifically, could be demoted any time soon. (Bruce Miles didn’t hear it, either.) To suggest such a thing would be insane for logistical and production reasons, and, although Sveum was undoubtedly speaking from a place of frustration, he didn’t go that far. That all said, the portion of the video that I saw didn’t include the entirety of Sveum’s comments, and it’s possible he spoke in a way that could be interpreted a variety of ways. But from the video I’ve seen and the written accounts, it is, at worst, gray. And, when it’s gray as to whether Sveum actually suggested demoting guys like Castro and Rizzo, I’m going to err on the side of “no freaking way he meant that in a serious, practical, and immediate way.”
  • (More on Rizzo, in particular, coming later.)
  • Len Kasper with some high praise for Alfonso Soriano.


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