It sounds like the plan for Friday’s kinda-sorta BN get-together will start in the right field bleachers – I try to sit as close to the front left corner (by the LED board) as possible – and then head to Sheffield’s at the corner of Sheffield and School after the game for some food and drink.
- There is still no “closer,” despite Kevin Gregg logging his fourth save last night and looking impressive in his 1.1 innings of work in doing so. “It’s been working,” Dale Sveum said last night, per Cubs.com. “I’m not going to say it’s a fix-all and that you don’t want to name a closer. You definitely don’t want to rock the boat when things are going good in the back of the bullpen when everybody is healthy and ready to go that night. It could be one of four guys. It depends on the matchups.” For now, that remains the right approach – not necessarily because it’s working, but because, with the construction of this pen, there simply isn’t an obvious closer, and there aren’t obviously slotted roles. So just mix and match. Those four, by the way, are presumably Gregg, Carlos Marmol, James Russell and Shawn Camp.
- Patrick Mooney on the calming presence that is Kevin Gregg. It’s only six appearances, and Gregg’s track record suggests he is, at best, an acceptable middle reliever on a team like the Cubs. But he actually looked really good last night, and he has yet to give up a run. (And Sveum did imply that, even if the Cubs had gotten to Gregg’s spot in the lineup in the bottom of the 8th last night, Gregg was going to bat unless the Cubs had made the game a non-save situation. So … doesn’t that mean Gregg is the closer?)
- On Camp, who has ostensible struggled this year, it’s interesting to note that his BB rate (2.6 per 9) and his K rate (7.8 per 9) are both better than his career averages. So why is his ERA 6.97? Well, he’s giving up a ton of hits and has already given up two homers. Is that a fluke, or is his massive workload in 2012 catching up to him?
- Apparently that minor cut on his index finger has impeded Jeff Samardzija’s between-start preparations. It still doesn’t sound serious, but … man …
- Good on Paul Sullivan for taking yesterday’s Jason Collins announcement (Collins, an NBA player, is now the first openly gay man in one of the major U.S. team sports) as an opportunity to check in with Cubs players on how they would accept a gay teammate. I look forward to the day when things like that are considered a non-story, but, yesterday, it was a very big story, and I appreciated that Sullivan wrote about it through the vehicle of the Cubs. All of Theo Epstein, Dale Sveum, and Darwin Barney had positive things to say.
- The Iowa Cubs seem to agree with the big Cubs on that one. Both articles had an air of “it’s no big deal,” which is the right attitude.
- Javier Baez was the Florida State League’s Player of the Week after destroying all comers last week. He’s up to .265/.299/.520 on the season, which is a great OPS, especially at his age and position, and especially in the FSL. That said, it’s impossible to ignore the 29:4 K:BB ratio. Given the concerns about Baez, it’s fair to be a little nervous … but then I remind you that it’s April. (Thanks a hot week from Baez and a cold week from Jorge Soler, the former is now out-OPS’ing the latter, .819 to .767.)
- I was on the Midway Baseball Today podcast yesterday – always a fun one. Even talked about The Wife’s mustache (which does not exist).
- I forgot to add this to yesterday’s post about Oswego Chris’s excellent new book: for those of you who end up getting the book and enjoy it, I’m sure Chris would appreciate you offering an honest and kind rating/review on Amazon. It’s already doing well: as of this morning, it’s the 29th best-selling baseball book on Amazon … 31 spots ahead of ‘Baseball for Dummies’ by Joe Morgan.