Two 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 Cubs.com): “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.