This Friday, be in the right field bleachers and come hang out, because that’s where I’ll be. I’d also like to get together with anyone who’s interested after the game.
- So, about that whole “pitching to Giancarlo Stanton” thing yesterday: did either Dale Sveum or Carlos Villanueva have a compelling explanation? No, not really. They said what you would expect them to say: we thought we could get him. First, on the decision to pitch to Stanton with first base open and the tying run on second in the 6th inning: did Sveum think of calling for the intentional walk? “Not in that situation,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. Stanton went on to single. “I just felt [Villanueva] had the pitches to pitch around him and keep the ball away from him. I didn’t have my left-hander [James Russell]. He was down today, so I didn’t have anybody for [left-handed-hitting Greg] Dobbs, and I didn’t want to put the winning run on either.” For the most part, I think Sveum has pushed all of the right buttons in his tenure as manager (he just hasn’t had much of a roster). On this one, though, I’m really left scratching my head. You wanted to pitch to Stanton with first base open because you didn’t have a lefty to face Greg Dobbs? If Greg Dobbs and his .674 in 1203 plate appearances since 2009 (.620 OPS against righties this year) scares you more than Giancarlo Stanton, you have out-thunk yourself. In that same vein, not putting the winning run on doesn’t much matter when you’re exposed to a Stanton bomb anyway.
- As for Villanueva, he gets a bit more of a pass. In that at bat, and in the earlier at bat in which he gave up a homer to Stanton, it wasn’t like Villanueva was coming right at Stanton. “I made a couple of mistakes, and he took advantage of it,” Villanueva said, per Cubs.com. “Hitters like that are supposed to. You don’t want to get in a situation for a guy like that to beat you, but I tried to make a pitch and he got it. In the first inning, just a bad changeup. It just came back to his bat. In the sixth inning, I felt like I had to put him away there, and just left one where he could reach and he did what he’s supposed to do.” So, it wasn’t a bad approach either time – just a couple poorly executed pitches. It isn’t Villanueva’s decision on whether to walk a guy, so he did the best he could. Stanton’s good, and will kill you if you screw up.
- Keeping the lights on: if you’re looking for a spot to get a sense of the best sports betting sites, check out www.topbettingreviews.com.
- Dale Sveum says he’s not sure if his dual set of “play better or get demoted”/”we’re all accountable” comments to the media last week have had an impact on the team’s play, though they have had their best week so far this season. Shrug – it seems to me that the Cubs just happened to play the Marlins. That’ll make any team look better. And the Reds series … well, yes, the Cubs played better, but they still scored just eight runs total in the series, and lost two of three. What exactly are we celebrating about that one?
- Sveum has no intention of naming a closer any time soon. Why mess with it if the current match-up-based, closer by committee approach is working?
- Paul Sullivan writes about fan expectations and how the fans express their frustration at Wrigley Field. Knowing that the season was never likely to be competitive, Sullivan wonders, should fans just chill out and enjoy the games they go to see, rather than getting up in arms at every (inevitable) screw up?
- Today is the 30th anniversary of former Cubs manager Lee Elia’s famous rant. If you’re by yourself and want to hear a crazy number of swear words, you can listen here.
- The Jets have reportedly released Tim Tebow. If the Cubs really want to distract fans from any losing over the next few months, they will sign Tebow immediately.