In case you’re wondering about the odd timing/order of posts this morning, it’s because I’m in Cincinnati getting ready to go to today’s Cubs/Reds game. The weather is crummy down here, but I’m told that it should abate in time for the game to be played relatively close to the scheduled start time. So, I’ll soon be heading out to the ballpark with The Father-in-Law. The EBS will be delayed.
- In the face of a few days’ worth of criticism and job security discussions, Dale Sveum’s boss, GM Jed Hoyer, made a special trip to Cincinnati to show support for the manager. “We’re all in this together,” Hoyer told the media, per Carrie Muskat. “We’ve struggled, it’s been painful to watch because we keep on squandering leads. That’s on Theo and that’s on me. We have to figure out ways to get better. We’re not the most talented team in the league right now. We’re trying to build to get there but as we get there, we can’t continue to make the kind of mistakes we’ve been making. We have to clean it up and get better. Dale has our complete support. [Job security is] not what he should be thinking about in the least …. We know how hard he’s working and we’re having a lot of sleepless nights as we go through it, and we know he is as well …. The front office doesn’t watch the games and think things are happening on the field that shouldn’t be.” Hoyer said “we’re in this together” at least three times in his comments, so it’s pretty clear what his thesis was: stop putting the blame on Sveum. (He would have used that as his thesis, but the rhyme sounded campy.)
- Hoyer made sure to dispel any of that demotion talk that muddied up the waters earlier this week. “The point Dale is trying to make, and I support him 100 percent, is that at some point there has to be accountability,” Hoyer said, again per Muskat. “If that means benching a guy or reducing his playing time, disciplining him in some ways, at some point, [Sveum] has to be able to pull the strings he has to pull to manage the team successfully and obviously, he has our total support to do that.”
- Hoyer also made a variety of comments about the overall struggles of the team, bad luck, and bad roster creation. You can see more of those comments here, here and here.
- (Worth discussing: would Hoyer make a special trip to Cincinnati to talk to the media about Sveum just because of a little unrest? I’m not saying I don’t believe Hoyer, but it seems a bit over the top and reactionary. I guess Hoyer hasn’t met with the media in a while, so it could simply be a little bit of this and a little bit of that. There was also the Garza thing to discuss, and, given the sensitive nature of the setback, I could see Hoyer wanting to address that in person, too.)
- Of his decision to pull Carlos Villanueva and go with Carlos Marmol to face Joey Votto last night, Sveum said what you would expect him to say (per ESPN): “Those numbers don’t lie. He got the ground ball just, once again, it was ‘really, you can’t hit it at somebody?’ You’re kidding me.” Coming into the at bat, Votto was 1 for 15 against Marmol with 9 strikeouts. Like I said last night, the part about bringing Marmol in that bothered me was the fact that he’d thrown almost 30 pitches the night before, and there were other reasonable options available. Folks are giving Sveum some grief about relying on a small sample, and 15 at bats is almost as small as it gets, the 9 strikeouts (including one the night before, in which Votto looked baffled) thing suggests to me that Votto doesn’t see the ball well against Marmol. So, the sample is small, but it’s right on the cusp of being relevant.
- Keith Law wrote a heavily-discussed piece yesterday about Anthony Rizzo’s struggles this year (clearly I cursed him, by the way), which he ties to a perceived change in Rizzo’s swing. That change has Rizzo’s hands even lower and further back, allowing him to swing in a more upwards motion (generating more power, but lengthening the stride, leading to more whiffs and more pop-ups). Dale Sveum denied that the Cubs have made any affirmative changes to Rizzo’s swing, but confirmed that he, too, sees the issue with Rizzo’s hands getting too low, per the Tribune. It’s a delicate balance: recall that Rizzo lowered his hands before the 2012 season so that he could get to the zone more quickly. But, too low, and you end up creating a new problem.
- Alberto Gonzalez ended up clearing waivers, and was outrighted to Iowa.
- It tentatively looks like the Cubs and Rangers will make up their rained out interleague game from last week on May 6 at Wrigley Field.
- Reminder: Sign up for the fantasy contest. Full details here, homies.