I’m going to commit a cardinal statistical sin in service of a broader point. Travis Wood’s ERA since joining the Cubs is 3.96, placing him right around league average. That makes him a fine 4th/5th starter in almost any rotation. Great. But hasn’t he seemed a lot better than that? Well, if you take out two wind-aided blowout awful starts in July 2012 (in which Wood gave up 16 earned runs in just 9.2 innings), that Cubs ERA drops to just 3.34 in over 170 innings of work. That’s … pretty freaking awesome. Now, as I said in the first sentence in this Bullet, you can’t really take out a guy’s worst starts to make him look good – you could perform that operation with many players and make them seem better than they are. In this instance, however, I offer the information only as a reference to why you might be feeling that Wood has been better than his overall number suggest. And obviously he’s had great success so far this year: 4 starts, 26 innings, 2.08 ERA, 1.038 WHIP. We’ll see a regression in some of those numbers as they catch up with his meh K/BB rate and his luckily low hit and HR rates. But we could be looking at a really solid number four here, even when the Cubs are competitive.
It sounds like Michael Bowden is taking last night’s loss, in which he pitched a scoreless inning, and then gave up three runs in the next to lose the game, particularly hard. I can’t be too mad at him, though. In his second inning of work, he gave up a two-strike single on a nice piece of hitting, a bloop double that should have been a single or caught, a double to a great hitter in Jay Bruce, and then a single to Cesar Izturis. I can grouse about half of that. Maybe. All in all, I thought Bowden looked pretty good.
Dale Svuem confirmed that, when discussing players and demotions on Sunday, he wasn’t referencing Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, specifically, as news articles made it seem. Instead, he was speaking generically in response to a question that included Rizzo and Castro. “You guys asked me if those guys couldn’t get sent down. I said nobody was exempt [from] it,” Sveum told the media, per Paul Sullivan. “They’re not the only ones. You guys were pushing them [in the line of questioning].” Sveum isn’t always the most artful guy in his phrasing, but, like I said yesterday, if your choices are “Sveum is saying the Cubs might send Rizzo and Castro down to AAA soon,” and “Sveum is offering a platitude that no player is guaranteed a roster spot no matter what,” it sure makes sense to choose the latter when there’s a little bit of gray.
Here’s another hypothetical rendering of a 6,000 square foot JumboTron at Wrigley Field. I want the Cubs to get what they want, and I am also very much in favor of a large video board at Wrigley. But I’m starting to think that 6,000 square feet might be a touch too big. As always, it depends on how well it’s done and integrated, but it’s hard to see how something that big could be tastefully included in the otherwise quiet surroundings. Maybe 2/3 that size?
Speaking of the renovation, Dusty Baker says he’s glad it’s finally happening, noting the sub-par player facilities.
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