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darwin barney smileIt’s a boys weekend at the Taylor casa, as me and The Little Boy are holding down the fort while The Wife and The Little Girl do some grandparent visiting. Pants are for losers.

  • We might hear about Matt Garza’s return to the rotation as soon as today, with him throwing on the side, and the Cubs evaluating him from there. Dale Sveum said this to Cubs.com, which may tip the hand: “[Garza's Thursday start at Iowa] was really good. Everything went according to plan, and he stepped up and got his six innings. We would have liked to send him back out there, maybe, but he did what he was supposed to do.” In other words, Garza may have forced the issue by declaring, with his performance, “No, dudes, I’m ready.”
  • Third base coach David Bell on his questionable send of Darwin Barney in the 8th yesterday, which resulted in Marlon Byrd throwing out Barney at home by 10 feet (per Cubs.com): “It was the wrong decision. I just watched the replay again, and it wasn’t close. As a third-base coach, you want to make the right decision, and clearly, that was not the right decision.” Had Bell held Barney, the Cubs would have had runners at first and third with one out, down by one, and Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo due up. Barney didn’t get a good break on the hit, having to wait a moment to see if Daniel Murphy was going to catch it. That hesitation gave him no chance to score, and he shouldn’t have been sent. It was a goof by Bell, but it happens.
  • Marlon Byrd offered Bruce Levine many thoughts about the player facilities at Wrigley Field, and none are complimentary. Of particular note is the lack of a batting cage that players can access in-game to get warm. This quote about former batting coach Rudy Jaramillo stings a bit: “[Jaramillo] was excited about plans to have a batting cage. They told him he would have one next to the home dugout. It didn’t happen the three years he was here, and I am not sure what happened. I think it would have helped him and our hitters be better.”
  • Beyond the Boxscore analyzes Kevin Gregg’s early season success and concludes, tentatively, that it’s legit. Gregg’s pitch mix has changed significantly this year (no more cutter, heavy sinker), and he’s getting more downward movement on his pitches than he has in the past. There’s no guarantee he’ll keep this up, but the early data suggest this isn’t just some luck-driven fluke.
  • 29-year-old Guillermo Moscoso is pitching himself into position to be the first “depth” starter to make the rotation for the Cubs if they undergo a massive purge in July. He’s been dominant since entering the rotation at Iowa, and has had past success in the bigs (except in Colorado, which, well).
  • Brett Jackson is feeling, and performing, better after getting over a shoulder injury and turf toe in May.
  • According to Baseball Prospectus’s formulas, when studying the underlying statistics/schedules/performances, etc., the Cubs have lost 4.3 more games than they “should” have. You can call it bad luck or whatever you want, but BP’s look at the numbers says this team “should” be 21-20, not 17-24.
  • @cubsfantroy

    Marlon Byrd should just not say anything about the Cubs. They essentially paid him to be a cheater. Considering he got busted and was able to find a place to play this year on a terrible team, he needs to just not say anything, whether he is right or wrong.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh. I like hearing from past players about the facilities – current players might be a little more sheepish about being completely honest.

  • arta

    agree, he’s been crying since he left. another Baker (x-manager).

  • TonyS

    Hammered. Love the cubs and love bleavhernation from australia. Keep up the good work brett and luke.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hell yeah, drunk commenting!

    • CubsFaninMS

      WOOHOO!! Nothing like funneling beer and reading BN articles!

  • Ivy Walls

    Sorry to be a wet blanket on the let us cheer for the manager where the narrative say we really aren’t a contender. The statistic that BP gives is more a reflection on the management and in the game coaching than the players. Sveum is not that good, should I be expecting more with a team so stated to be rebuilding. I say Sandberg, I see him as the next Scioscia, Bochyn level manager.

    Yesterday’s Barney play is part of it.

    • @cubsfantroy

      As much as I love Sandberg, and did when I was younger as well, maybe, just maybe, he isn’t big league managing material? How many teams, not just the Cubs have passed on him? I know it has been quite a few.

      You guys need to get over the fact that Sandberg is not the reason we aren’t winning. The team on the field is the reason.

      • Alex

        The phillies have him tabbed as Charlie Manuel’s successor. He’s gotta be showing something. The cubs passed because they wanted major league experience coaching, someone who could help a rebuilding team continue to show up and play hard everyday. It just wouldn’t have been the best situation for a guys very first ML coaching job. He would have been set up to fail and you don’t no how that could have affected his future. I don’t think it was in anyone’s best interest to bring him in and loose a hundred games a few times

      • Dob2812

        The Cubs passes because they didn’t want a manager with the instant power base Sandberg would have had.

        They don’t make all that much difference. Sveum is cool. Don’t worry about it.

  • Rich H

    Lets be honest about a couple things. One the Cubs current facilities SUCK! Have sucked and until they get this renovation done are going to continue to suck. Not saying Byrd has any room to talk about the Cubs at all but lets not throw out the message because of the messenger. For the Cubs to be looked at as a legit, big market, in it to win it team, we need to get the Wrigley renovation done as soon as possible and not just for the ad dollars but the amenities and facilities that these players are use to from every other organization in baseball.

  • Die hard

    In Bells defense Cubs need every run they can scrape together without assistance of a speedster or two— having a runner actually round third probably created an euphoria in Bell that not accustomed to

  • Honey nut Sorianos

    Bell has been good thus far at 3rd. Everyone makes a wrong decision from time to time. If marlon skips the ball past the catcher Bell looks like a hero…. Except the cubs would not have won on that play it would have merely given them a chance to win. Aggressive baseball I like it.

  • pete

    I am not real surprised by Bell’s send, in that presumptively it reflects an (overly?) aggressive basepath mindset. It makes even more sense if you consider Sveum hired him and then look at Sveum’s track record as third base coach in Boston in 2004-05. As the prototypical example, in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS he sent Johnny Damon in the first inning with less than 2 outs and Ortiz on deck, and Damon was out by a lot. A lot. So that Sveum’s third base coach is agressive to a possible fault should be not be a huge surprise. That said, I like the aggressive mindset – maybe within limits. :)

  • Jay

    I’m not saying Ryno would be doing any better with the squad we have now, but I think it’s clear from his minor-league record at all levels that he understood how to motivate his players and win games so to say he’s not major-league material is asnine. There’s only 30 jobs out there at the major league level and I think everyone agrees that he’s the manager-in-waiting over in Philly when Manuel calls it a day.

    • Die hard

      Theo and Ryno mad mix as Ryno would question moves but Sveum just happy to have job

    • Billy boycott

      Not having managed in the major leagues is overrated at times when deciding if a guy is fit to be a big league manager imo.. Look at Matheny with the Cards, that was a pretty seamless transition having been passed the torch from one of MLB’s all time great managers, but the situation in STL was/is much different (obviously) than the state of the Cubs when they dropped the interim off Quade’s title or when Svuem took over and I think it would’ve been a mistake to bring him into that losing situation.. But then again maybe it would of been a good thing since he knew so much about the guys in AA/AAA and could’ve possibly found a diamond in the rough or 2, to add to the future “core” by giving them opportunities to play and help develop them at the ML level, especially once the seasons became lost causes.. You know, instead of relentlessly inserting Joe mather and his .200 avg in the lineup, not to mention leading him off a bunch [scratches head] and at the same time be getting his big league mgr experience i.e. learning how to handle stars (if you can consider anyone on the cubs from’11-current, stars) veterans/guys getting paid more than they’re worth and the nuances of getting the most out of said players as opposed to minor leaguers.

      Of course being a huge fan of Ryno since my first year of little league as a 7 or 8 yr old, I may be slightly biased but I think his milb managing success is dis-credited too much.. ’10 PCL Mgr of the year, ’11 B.A.’s minor league Mgr of the year.. I don’t think many folks will argue that Ryno is one of the Cubs all time greats, but since he had yet to coach on a ML team he doesn’t even get an interview with Jepsteiden?? The best players don’t always make the best coaches/managers but Ryno is a proven leader and has a high baseball iq, was an All Star 10 yrs in a row w/ 9 consecutive gold gloves, is a HOF’er and a true blue Cub through and through, who as a leader preaches the fundamentals of the game and maximizing every opportunity, had been successfully managing in the minors and getting results for several years… But since he hadn’t yet coached at the ML level he doesn’t even get an interview? Didn’t he learn much about the game while he played in MLB for 16 years as he perfected his craft and got all his accollades? I understand them wanting to squash the hooplah and media circus surrounding him being a candidate for manager immediately if they already knew he wasn’t going to be chosen, but why was he really not in consideration? Did they not want to subject a Cubs legend to the short term misery and fans criticism as they attempt to rebuild?? I specifically remember Theo being asked about the Mgr situation once he was officially appointed savior (haha) of the Cubs and he sounded enthused about Ryno and his Cub history being a candidate and said his hat would surely be in the ring if they decided to go in a different direction than Quade… So clearly, the whole no ML coaching exp. BS was designed to nip speculation in the bud, but why not at least interview him so when the Cubs are ready to compete, and if Sandberg blows them away in his interview, and convinces them that he’s ready, they can give Flail Svuem the door and bring in an all time Cub great to lead them to the promised land.. Wouldn’t it just make winning it all that much more sweet?? I guess Svuem’s spray chart reading skeeeills really wooed Jeo and thed to the point they felt no need to consider a legend.

  • Alex

    If he doesn’t send him and we loose its his fault. Either way we struggle for runs and we have to take our chances. No harm done.

  • jt

    IMO, the North Side Chicago 2013 team featured in the first month and half was an immature bunch that has earned a 17-24 record. They were getting their feet wet. The feet are now wet. Time to sink or swim.
    Perhaps the Baseball Prospectus’s formulas indicate that we should now expect them to swim.

  • Rebuilding

    Thanks for the link to the article on Gregg, Brett. This is what you and I were saying in response to Kyle about Gregg. He just looks different by the eye test and this article seems to confirm that. What a find if he can maintain consistency

  • OCCubFan

    “Brett Jackson is feeling, and performing, better after getting over a shoulder injury and turf toe in May.”

    Do you notice that Jackson said he took some advice on hitting from Ian Stewart?

    • demz

      uh oh.

  • cubmig

    On Bell sending Barney: All of the aggressiveness taken will not convert itself into runs if the conditions are not favorable. This play was all on Bell and his read on the play happening in front of him to wave Barney in and the chance of Barney scoring. Bell admits he made a mistake in sending Barney. The conditions were not favorable. Bell let the emotions of the moment dictate his decision rather than follow what the play was telling him. We love aggressive base runners, but we have coaches to contain it. Bell fell into the trap of risking the odds against him.

    I’m left to wonder if —-and it’s a BIG “if”—if Bell had (if even for a second, which is all he had) an instinct to stop Barney as he hit 3rd to round it? He doesn’t say anything about that—-and, he wasn’t asked. It’s all water under the bridge, but it still would be good to hear what he’d say in response.

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