Travel delays that got me home in the wee hours of the morning and the responsibilities of having young children have conspired to yield me approximately two hours of sleep. I am weary. Forgive any temporary lapses in spelling, grammar, thoughtfulness, or hygiene.
- Scott Feldman’s last four starts: 1.63 ERA, .524 OPS against, 7 BB, 15 H, 27.2 IP, 23 K. Those are just stupid, crazy, ridiculous good numbers. His ERA has dropped after every single start this year, from 7.00 after the first game, to 2.70 after his effort last night. Now that you’re all excited about him, I’ll remind you that he left last night’s start with a hand problem. He says it was just a cramp, and no one seems even the slightest bit worried (it’s an afterthought in every article about his start). So, I’m not worried, either. But it’s a Cubs player with a minor health issue, so you had a right to know, and a right to freak out (irrationally or not).
- Everyone who was there for Matt Garza’s second rehab start says he looked good, crisp, and healthy. Garza, himself, told the Des Moines Register that he just needs another tune-up or two and he’ll be ready to go. Garza is recovering from a strained lat, which he suffered in Spring Training. He’s also pitching competitively for the first time since a stress reaction in his elbow ended his 2012 season in July.
- GM Jed Hoyer basically told the media that the Cubs’ record (12-20) is an accurate reflection of how they’ve played, and pointed to the bullpen struggles and inability to add onto leads as the primary culprits in the Cubs’ rough start.
- Jesse Rogers offers a thought on why Edwin Jackson should be the odd man out of the rotation, if everyone is healthy and pitching well when Matt Garza returns in a week and a half: since Jackson is not a trade candidate, there’s nothing to lose by putting him in the pen. If you put Feldman or Carlos Villanueva in the pen, their trade value decreases. It’s an interesting, and legitimate angle on the decision, but it is one that is predicated on the idea that Jackson is pitching so much worse than every other starter, an idea that, as I discussed yesterday, I’m not so sure is accurate. For now, I’m sticking with what I’ve said all along: worry about it when Garza is actually due back. Things can happen in the interim that make the decision much easier.
- On the promotion of Ryan Sweeney, the fourth left-handed outfielder on the Cubs’ big league roster, Dale Sveum shared his thoughts. “Sweeney is just a guy we wanted to get up here anyway to kind of balance out the bench and [add] flexibility when we give [Alfonso Soriano] days off and things like that,” Sveum said per the Tribune. “He’s another guy on the bench who can hit and hit the ball out of the ballpark.” To me, that reads like a guy who doesn’t want to say either (a) that he simply didn’t want Dave Sappelt on the roster anymore, or (b) that he has no idea why the front office made the switch. To my mind, it’s pretty clear: Sweeney was going to have the right to opt-out at some point, Sappelt was struggling, Sweeney is a big league fourth outfielder, and the Cubs might make a handful of trades in the outfield in the next couple months. Combine that all together, and you get a call-Sweeney-up-whenever stew. Hell, the sooner you call him up, there’s a small chance that he, himself, could build some trade value.
- I patted myself on the back about Luis Valbuena on Twitter last night, and I’m going to do it today about Anthony Rizzo’s breakout the last two weeks. It pretty much coincided with me writing this piece. Ignore all other prognostications/analyses about which I was wrong. I knocked that one out of the park like a hanger to Rizzo.