scott feldman cubsTwo reminders: a fresh podcast episode awaits your ears, and some fun awaits your face tomorrow after the game. Come to Sheffield’s (corner of Sheffield and School, a few blocks South of the ballpark) Friday evening to hang out, have some drinks, a chat about what-have-you. And if you’re at the game on Friday or Saturday, I’ll be in the right field bleachers – BN shirt on, naturally.

  • Opposing manager Bud Black with perhaps the greatest compliment of Scott Feldman’s ridiculous start last night (per “We just couldn’t solve the movement,” Black said. “He was hitting corners, but I think the thing that really got him to throw a complete game was the movement on the fastball, keeping us off-guard both in and away, and the timing with the slower breaking ball. We just couldn’t muster any good swings against him.” The Padres were saying things like, “sometimes you just tip your cap,” and it’s nice for a Cubs starter to be on the other end of those cap-tips. Given how he started the season, it’s especially nice for it to be in regards to Feldman – he now has a better ERA (3.34) than Jeff Samardzija (3.35).
  • As expected, Matt Garza will throw at least two more rehab starts before returning to the Cubs, and possibly three. The Cubs will just evaluate as they go. Hopefully he still feels good after his start yesterday, and there are no more setbacks. His pitching coach at Tennessee – Jeff Fassero – told ESPN that Garza threw mostly fastballs and changeups yesterday, but did mix in some sliders. Garza was unavailable to talk to the media after the game because he immediately hopped a plane to get back to Chicago so he could work out with the team. (How could you not like this guy?)
  • Speaking of Garza returning … that rotation decision just got a little harder, didn’t it? Assuming everyone is still healthy and performing in two/three weeks when Garza is ready to go, who gets bounced from the rotation? Jeff Samardzija is safe no matter what, and you would have thought nothing was taking Edwin Jackson out of the rotation (he is an established regular, some early-season hiccups notwithstanding). Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva have been great, although their peripherals suggest they could be in for some regression. If Scott Feldman is breaking out, he’s no longer the obvious choice. I still think it will be more obvious who the odd man out is by the time Garza comes back (either by injury or performance), but if it were today … well … you might have to come up with a mystery injury for Jackson. Just a couple weeks to buy more time, and to allow him to get going.
  • Ian Stewart’s rehab stint at Iowa is up tomorrow, but Theo Epstein says the Cubs could “re-certify” his injury and get some extra time (who knew?). He’s had a couple minor injuries along the way (he missed a game after a hit-by-pitch, for example), so it wouldn’t be completely unreasonable for the Cubs to ask for additional injury recovery time. Obviously there’s no chance Stewart is activated tomorrow, so something will have to be done, as we’ve discussed. It could be this re-certifying approach, or it could be optioning Stewart to AAA, if he accepts the assignment.
  • Jesse Rogers on the Cubs’ strange first month.
  • In case you missed it in the comments, BN’er WhiteFlag had a suggestion for the advertising partner on the new sign in right field at Wrigley – looks pretty good to me.
  • The KC Cougars have a promotional video for Saturday’s Star Wars Night, quickly becoming my favorite minor league promotion ever (except that one where a helicopter flies in and drops candy on the kids waiting below).
  • The Cubs announced more than $1 million in local grants yesterday.
  • Frank F.

    As far as the low ERA is concerned, in his 29.2 innings he’s given up 18 runs, but only 11 were considered “earned,” and 3 of the unearned came as the result of his own error vs. the Brewers.

  • cub4life

    I agree with you completely on the rotation. Last week it was easy to see Feldman as the odd man out, but if he continues like this and no one else changes how they have been…wow who would have thunk that we would have this kind of difficulty making a rotation decision this season….Here is hoping the rest of the team contniues showing up (and not just against the bad teams) all year and lets fight it out.

    • cub4life

      continues….wow i should proof read.

  • JulioZuleta

    One thing that I think has kind of gone unnoticed these last 2 seasons is the job Chris Bosio is doing. Look at the seasons/improvements turned in by some of our guys. Samardzija, Dempster, Maholm, Villanueva, and Travis Wood (maybe Feldman, but not yet…) among others have all had some of the best stretches of their careers in the short time that Bosio has been here. Could be a great guy to have around once we start seeing the homegrown pitchers cracking the lineup.

    • willis

      I thought he did a hell of a job last year as well, when he had arms to play with. Once the rotation was crapped out because of injury and trades, it was terrible, but remembering the first three or so months of the season, many guys were throwing great.

      And yeah he’s doing great with these guys again this year.

  • Werner

    Assuming all stays same when Garza comes back, can’t we move somebody to the pen and ship out Loe or give Camp the mysterious boo-boo and let him rest his arm?

    • King Jeff

      I believe that is the general consensus, the debate is over who is going to move to the pen.

  • curt

    re-certify Brett can I get a clarification as to what that is and this is allowable funny buisness or is it a legit thing, never heard if this one.

    • Brett

      It’s new to me, too. It hasn’t come up in the time I’ve been following/covering the Cubs. My best guess is the Cubs have to credibly be able to say he’s been working through the injury issues and isn’t done yet.

  • Hawkeye

    “In case you missed it in the comments, BN’er WhiteFlag had a suggestion for the advertising partner on the new sign in right field at Wrigley – looks pretty good to me.”

    I think your going to have to raise some serious funds to pull that off? I am guessing that, although we all try to be generous, the funds raised from your trade deadline 24 blogathon won’t quite swing the payments on that kind of advertising investment.

    • Chef

      Would hiding a Bleacher Nation bumper sticker somewhere in the building count as advertising?

  • Craig

    Man everytime I look at Annibel Sanchez’s stats, I wish we had been able to sign him rather than having to settle for the mediocre Edwin Jackson. We would have one powerful rotation.

  • Jacob

    Dale Svuem is on First Pitch right now, for anybody who’s interested.

  • RY

    no brainer, banish jackson to the bullpen, nothing like $13M a year sitting in the bullpen. Feldmans start last night just makes Jackson’s pile of junk look all the worse if that is even possible.

    • forlines

      Until Jackson can sort himself out, I see this as the best option. Feldman is still a question mark to me though; great gam last night, but can he sustain it?

  • Luke

    Someone needs to do a Star Wars themed helicopter candy drop.

    • Internet Random


    • Jp3

      Maybe they could drop life size wookie candy

  • Internet Random

    A Star Wars themed beer drop.

  • bbmoney

    I think calls for Jackson to be sent to the bullpen are pretty premature. I feel exactly the same way about that signing now as I did when it happened. It’s a pretty good signing, that gives the Cubs a pretty good #3 type starter.

    He’s had a bad month. And yes if and when Garza comes back someone needs to go to the pen, but that’s probably another 3 turns through the rotation away (at least). Chances are someone comes back down to earth before then and Jackson is pitching better by then. Let’s just let it simmer.

  • Jon

    Why not a six man rotation in which you taper Garza’s load when he returns? Keep him fresh for the tread deadline.

    • JulioZuleta

      Must have been typing at the same time. Great minds…

      • Eternal Pessimist

        I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think six man rotations are the way to win Championships, but it will allow the Cubs to showcase all their available trade bait, while limiting the wear on our starters. The downside is that it will lead to increased wear on our bullpen, assuming the extra starter position is taken from the bullpen.

      • Jon

        Also keep in mind that Carlos Villanueva has never thrown more than 125 innings in a given season. Unless you want to be shutting him down in August, it also might make sense to pace him as well.

  • JulioZuleta

    I think I would just go with a 6-man until one or two are inevitably traded. Garza, Samardzija and Jackson are obviously not options for the pen, but Villanueva, Wood and Feldman all lose significant trade value if in the pen. Having a 6-man rotation isn’t ideal, but it would be the most seamless transition when Garza comes back, and the most seamless transition back to a 5 man once someone is traded.

    • Jon

      Yep. Last deadline we nearly flipped Dempster for Delgado and still got a nice prospect in Vizcaino. Who knows what a desperate team might pay at the deadline. Don’t kill his trade value while he’s going good.

    • Rcleven

      What happens when Baker is healthy enough to return to the rotation? Not trolling just interested in your view of a 6 man after trade deadline. Unless multiple starters are moved it sure gets crowded in the starting rotation.

      • JulioZuleta

        I think two will be traded most likely. Also, who knows if Baker will be able to work his way back.

  • Rcleven

    Let’s not jump on Feldman is the next Sy Young band wagon just yet. He pitched the game of his life last night. He has some of the best natural stuff on the staff but he also showed he can be very human. This was only one game. He has shown a pattern of pitching lights out for three or four innings then getting pasted. Let’s hope he can continue to pitch like he did last night but there are many pitchers that can pitch one game. Phil Umber comes to mind.

    • willis

      Right, as was said earlier also some of his unearned runs are of his own doing. He was incredible last night. By far the sharpest he’s looked in a long time. For our sake as fans, let’s all hope he keeps it up. But as of now he’s still the likely choice for the pen when Garza gets back.

      But, that’s a couple weeks off at least, much can happen between now and then, including Garza slowing up or one of the others in the rotation blowing up. These next two turns through the rotation will be huge for this team in terms of starting pitching momentum and how the rotation looks for the next couple of months. Definitely hope Feldman can keep this up. We won’t see that again, but he can sure be effective when he’s on his game. He has the stuff.

  • MichiganGoat

    If only we didn’t have to get our pitchers regular starts to build up value for the trade deadline, Garza’s return would be a great opportunity to officially try a 6 man rotation.

  • JulioZuleta

    Hah Brett. When I saw Rovell tweet you to “enlighten him” I thought it was a cop out because naturally it’s hard to “enlighten” someone via Twitter. I was wrong, loved that tweet series. That first post by him just seemed like a bit of a troll move.

    • Brett

      Yeah, he was trolling. And I fed him. Shame on me (though I think I was as fair and thorough as Twitter allows).

    • Cubbie Blues

      Thanks for pointing it out. I went back and looked at it. Yeah, he was trolling, but Brett took the high road and bulleted him to death.

    • JulioZuleta

      Someone needed to respond to that. That was too obvious. He’s the guy always posting about how teams should squeeze every penny out of everything, and all of a sudden he says the Cubs don’t need money to compete.

      I will say one thing, Ricketts has really been trying to beat it into fans’ minds that “We need the renovations to win a World Series.” He’s pretty clearly trying to make fans think that “renovations=World Series,” which, obviously isn’t true. They COULD win it without the reno, and they certainly might not in the near future even with the reno… Just seems like kind of a lazy pitch, and one that might put some added pressure on the baseball side to win.

      • JulioZuleta

        Anndd no response yet. I guess you enlightened him so well that he had no further questions.

  • Cedlandrum

    Judging by some comments he has made on twitter it looks like Trey Martin may be out for some time.

    • Spriggs

      What happened to him?

  • arta

    how many teams has Jackson been with/on?

  • cavemencubbie

    This is no doubt a stupid comment but why not a six man rotation? It might be nice to have some rested arms in October, when we are in the play-offs. :)

  • Bob Johnson

    If the situation were today, Jackson should go to the pen to work things out since we own him for four years & Garza needs to pitch to be of value to us or someone else. Jackson would have been a good signing for one or two years but not four. Vizcaino for Dempster made sense but not for Maholm.

  • Jonathn

    Anyone else feeling strangely optimistic about this season? I’m not talking playoffs or anything, but approaching .500 before the trade deadline?

    • JulioZuleta

      Seven games in a row against the Marlins/Padres can have hallucinogenic effects.

      • Jonathn

        Haha– excellent point! I’ll wait till we sweep the Reds to get excited

        • JulioZuleta

          Hah I know what you mean though. They aren’t as bad as their start made them look. If (big IF) the starting pitching continues to pitch this well and Soriano heats up as he usually does in the warm weather, they could flirt with .500 until July. But flirting with .500 won’t be enough to stop the selloff, so they’ll finish well below (72 wins-ish).

        • willis

          A win today and take 2 out of 3 from the Reds and I’m feeling a little wooly.

  • cubchymyst

    I think it ends up being Wood to the pen. Out of Wood, Feldman, and VIllanueva, Wood is the least likely to be traded. Feldman and Villanueva can build up the most trade value by starting.

  • Kenster

    For whatever it’s worth, former Cubs catching prospect Josh Donaldson, who we traded for Rich Harden, is having a pretty darn good season for the A’s at 3B!!! I know Valbuena has been surprising, but he’s batting .314, 14 xbh, 21 rbi, getting on base at a .400 clip and has 15 walks to 17 strikeouts!! I know small sample size of about 100 at bats but he’s looking good..

  • mudge

    I don’t think you can manage a team based on showcasing for trades. One or two games to demonstrate a guy is healthy, okay. But if I were managing and told who to start based on establishing their trade value, I’d resign. It’s not Sveum’s job. No way Wood should go to the bullpen.

  • Evan

    Star Wars night is great, but this was by far my favorite minor league promotion:

    (This was from a couple years ago. It’s admittedly lost some of it’s effect since Lebron did get his ring last year, but at the time it was absolutely outstanding.)

  • Spencer

    Bruce Levine said that Stewart doesn’t have enough service time to refuse assignment.

    • Spencer

      Bruce Miles* derp.

    • Brett

      I could be wrong, but I believe – with more than 4 years of service time – Stewart can refuse. He won’t, because he’ll want to keep his contract, but he can.

      • Spencer

        Yeah, that is what I thought too. The exchange with Bruce is on my timeline.

  • @cubsfantroy

    In regards to Stewart, as much as I wanted him back with the Cubs, I’m not so sure now. Valbuena has grown on my this year and I would really love to see him stay at third.

  • jt

    many view the ERA, OPS, BA…etc at a single point in time. As such, it really does not carry much info.
    If you look at it as moving avg such data shows a bunch more “stuff”.
    Does Feldman need perfect command and movement?
    If so, how often does he achieve such performance?
    Is it sporadic or cyclical dependent upon rest, weather, etc
    Under what conditions do the peaks and values occur
    and so on…..

  • Dustin S

    Last night’s start by Feldman was awesome, and it would definitely improve the trade chip picture if he really turns into a stud SP. I am tempering my enthusiasm a bit though because his last 2 good starts were against Miami and San Diego. Prior to that his 3 starts against better teams weren’t awful, but also were not nearly as exciting. The Cubs have made some average pitchers look like the next Verlander in the past few years. His next couple starts should come against Texas and Washington, so we should have a better idea on Feldman’s value after those. I’ll also say that with Jackson having a 4-year deal, they aren’t going to be quick to bump him from the rotation.