Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

scott feldman cubsI’ll give a more formal heads up later today, but I’m going to try and do a Q&A/chat thing tomorrow at 1pm CT via a couple platforms. I’ve never done a chat before, and I wanted to do it a little differently if I was going to do one. We’ll see how this goes. Stay tuned for details.

  • Matt Garza has said all of the things you’d expect him to say about his return to the rotation on Tuesday – he’s excited, ready to pitch in games that matter, etc. He also noted that, when the Cubs told him they’d like to see him go six in a rehab start before returning, he took that as a challenge to go six great innings at Iowa on Thursday. He did it, and the Cubs couldn’t really hold him back any longer.
  • As for Carlos Villanueva heading to the bullpen, Dale Sveum suggested it had less to do with his recent performance than it does with his history of success in the pen. I’m sure that helped make the decision easier, but if Villanueva was still sporting a sub-2.00 ERA, I’m not sure prior bullpen success would have been a great reason to bounce him from the rotation. Nevertheless, as we suspected all along: it sorted itself out just in time for Garza’s return.

  • Villanueva was all right with the decision. “He was very professional about it and understood,” Sveum said, per Bruce Miles. “We all know that he’s kind of been in this role, the swingman, so to speak. So he understands it. He accepts it. Very professional about the whole thing.”
  • Sahadev Sharma on Scott Feldman’s recent success, including some strong success using his curveball. Sahadev notes, by way of a Dale Sveum quote, that the Cubs’ rotation – Samardzija, Garza, Jackson, Feldman, Wood – could now be one of the best in baseball (“Once [Garza] gets settled in, it’s got a chance to be pretty nice, if not one of the top rotations in the league right now,” Sveum said). I tend to think it’s in the top third for sure, but it’s hard to go too much further than that until Garza makes a few starts, Jackson shows he’s turning things around, and Feldman/Wood keep up their exceptional starts.
  • Darwin Barney’s numbers don’t look great this year, except one: 12 and 9. That’s his walks and strikeouts, respectively. However you might be struggling, that’s incredibly hard to do. Given those numbers and his sub-.200 batting average, it shouldn’t surprise you that his BABIP is just .200. He might be due for some very positive regression.

  • Speaking of Matt Garza’s return to the rotation, BN’er Jeff was at Garza’s Iowa start on Thursday and got some great video of Garza in action, which you can check out here and here, or below. What I like best? It just looks like Matt Garza throwing as he always does:

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