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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:

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    Using WAR we have the ninth best rotation up to this point, and with FIP we have the 6th best. It is hard to imagine us getting worst. I feel like we won’t surpass the Tigers at any point this season, though.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    Interestingly enough, we’ve thrown the second least amount of innings as a starting rotation. I wonder how that will change and affect production going forward.

    • jay

      Welcome to the Dale Svuem school of overmanaging by pulling pitchers with low pitch counts even when they’re still getting outs. Guy must get paid by the pitching change.

      • Rcleven

        You can get off this theory now. Feldman went 109 yesterday. Game before he went about 110. He is the only pitcher worthy of going to the hundreds without being in too much trouble. Samardzija has gone over 100 also twice.
        When the the starter has shown to be effective beyond the sixth Dale has stuck with his starter. It’s up to the starter to to get beyond the sixth without being in the high 80’s pitch count.
        If anything, Dale has has stayed with the starter a little too long.
        The bull pen has been dearth. Just too many non holds and blown saves.
        Dale has done a pretty good job of managing his starters.

        • MIkeL

          Dale has done a pretty good job of managing the cubs in general.

        • Nomar’s Left Glove

          I tend to think that people keep forgetting that without the all of the SNAFU’s that the the bullpen created early in this season, the Cubs would have a MUCH better record than they do now. I think Sveum has been great. He can’t perform for his bullpen, that’s there job. He can only put the right people in the right positions to succeed, and I think that he’s done that. I think that he’s handled Marmol about as well as anyone could and he has bucked conventional wisdom and (shockingly) found a serviceable closer in Gregg. If I had to find a fault with him, I might note his love for Shawn Camp. You can’t even really fault that, because Camp was nails last year.

      • Timothy Scarbrough

        I don’t get the feel that he is pulling guys to early, perhaps all of their stats would have plummeted if they had averaged an inning more a start, which is about how much more they would need to be middle of the pack in innings pitched.

  • Blublud

    I think stats can measure who has the best rotation, but the biggest thing Is how many times does your rotation give you a chance to win. I think our rotation has been pretty good at kepping us in the game, and if our BP and offense was as good, we would be in a lot better position record wise.

  • Die hard

    Wonder where pitchers rank as to hitting? The better ones may help score more runs if bat ahead of Barney

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    To call this rotation, one of the best in baseball, can only be true, by the numbers, this season, right now… I don’t thing wood can sustain his current success, he has just been on fire lately. Feldman on the other hand I think has pretty good stuff, and may be a great trade piece in July. Shark will be better than last year, and that’s pretty good. Jackson will heat up as the weather does. He’s got great stuff, and has always thrown 200+ innings. Lastly there is garza. Who I suspect in a injury shortened contract year, will be spectacular till the trade deadline.
    So yes one of the best rotation in baseball, right now. But not at the end of the season.
    I for one am absolutely amazed at how well the starters have performed so far…really making the front office look pretty damn smart. I envisioned disaster coming out of spring training… Good show cubbie brass!!!

  • Honey nut Sorianos

    Unfortunately the cardinals have the best rotation in baseball. Yuck!

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    To call this rotation, one of the best in baseball, can only be true, by the numbers, this season, right now… I don’t thing wood can sustain his current success, he has just been on fire lately. Feldman on the other hand I think has pretty good stuff, and may be a great trade piece in July. Shark will be better than last year, and that’s pretty good. Jackson will heat up as the weather does. He’s got great stuff, and has always thrown 200+ innings. Lastly there is garza. Who I suspect in a injury shortened contract year, will be spectacular till the trade deadline. On the side I think Villanueva will give the bullpen a veary reliable long reliever, something we are in desperate need of. With russel, fuji,marmol,and Gregg, the bullpen will get mighty stingy!
    So yes one of the best rotation in baseball, right now. But not at the end of the season.
    I for one am absolutely amazed at how well the starters have performed so far…really making the front office look pretty damn smart. I envisioned disaster coming out of spring training… Good show cubbie brass!!!

  • http://Bleachernation Loyal100more

    Sorry didn’t mean to double up with that last post.

  • Gretchen

    What Brett didn’t add is that he’s on full-time newborn duty ’til the afternoon, so the baby boy will be answering questions during the chat, as well.

    The Wife

    • hansman1982

      You mean The Boy hasn’t been running the site for the past while? Coulda fooled me.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Tomorrow? Hopefully you just made a classic misread … I know I’m on infant duty today …

      (Hooray for parenting/relationshipping in public!)

      • Gretchen

        #toddlerbrain

        You’re only parenting in public if you’re filling in BN’ers every time the baby poops.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Big one earlier today after a couple medium ones yesterday.

          • Saving Grace

            That’s the babys action, right…

  • Die hard

    Lou Pinella relates so many oblique and other muscle injuries to working with weights and too much batting practice and not resting in off season… May have a point

  • Dustin S

    There’s bound to be some regression through the season. It’s still early so the sample size is small and is skewing the numbers down. As of today in the NL there are 8 SP with ERAs lower than the average of the last 5 CY winners. 2 of those SP are Wood and Feldman. So they will settle down into more realistic season numbers like the others with ERAs under 2.00 will too.

    Knock on wood (ahem), I think Wood will continue to pitch very well. He was very good initially with the Reds then fell off. He struggled early with the Cubs but he’s been doing nicely even going back into last season. Bosio has worked with him a lot and he definitely can keep opponents off-balance and makes hitters look bad at times. I suspect he’ll end the season somewhere in the high 2’s/low 3’s with a WHIP ~1.15, which would make the Marshall deal look like a great one for the Cubs.

    Feldman has looked lights-out lately but he’s much more likely to fall off. He had 101 career starts over 8 big-league seasons with an average ERA in the high 4’s before this year. He’s definitely been good and throwing the ball by people. But the risk of a more severe regression is pretty high with him. The flashing light on Feldman to sell-high has to be going off in the head of Theo and Jed.

    • Good Captain

      Agreed in re Feldman absent some identifiable and documentable change in either Feldman’s mechanics and/or approach to pitching IMO.

      • joey jo jo junior

        I agree there will almost certainly be some regression, but there are identifiable changes to Feldman’s success this year. He is throwing more curveballs–and has enjoyed great success on them.

  • Tommy

    Thanks for the video, Jeff. That was good stuff.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Dale Sveum is the manager of a team that is 18-24 and he says it had the best starting pitching in baseball. Is he asking to be fired?

    • corey costello

      Best STARTING pitching. Keep in mind the number of games we have blown do to errors and bullpen blowups.

      We could easily be 24-18.

      • jay

        And a starting lineup that is at least half made up of guys that wouldn’t even make the bench on a winning team.

    • hansman1982

      Wow, apparently none of you saw that the offense was historically bad (and still not as bad as the Dodgers) for the first month of the season.

      Nope, don’t mind a month worth of terrible BABIP and just bash Dale.

      Don’t worry, in a year or two when he is contending, you will be praising his name.

  • DarthHater

    Garza’s “ready to pitch in games that matter.” You mean he’s being traded?

  • Drew7

    4 of Barney’s 12 BB’s are intentional.

    He’s just *so* terrible at the plate, I’m finding it harder and harder to believe he makes up for it with his glove.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com ichabod

    how bout them pacers y’all

  • ruby2626

    How much is Sveum to blame for the team’s pathetic amount of walks? By my count we have received something like 12 in the last 9 games, with no more than 2 in any given game. We don’t have the type of offense that can get away with that. Maybe Sveum will be like the Blackhawks and Dennis Savard. Savard wasn’t a bad coach but Coach Q was just much better and sitting out there. Point being there are many unemployed managers out there who would be better.

    • Drew7

      “How much is Sveum to blame for the team’s pathetic amount of walks?”

      Percentage-wise? 0%

      • MIkeL

        None.

      • Hansman1982

        See he’s a worthless manager. A good manager would get in there on a lot of walks.

    • MIkeL

      And there might be unemployed managers who might be better than Dale, but the cubs would a couple more wins at most.

  • Patrick W.

    You really really really want this to happen and it’s really really really unlikely because it’s a really really bad idea most of the time.

    • Patrick W.

      This was meant in reply to Die Hard who seemingly twice daily suggests pitchers batting in front of Barney. Of course I may be projecting based on something that has happened a couple of times so now I think happens all of the time.

  • 70’scub

    Will soon see what these pitchers are worth at the trade deadline. I for one am excited about the young talent (haul) the Cub FO will procure.

  • jim

    UNTIIL the CUBS LEARN HOW to play
    “SMALL BALL” & DO a BETTER JOB
    WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION,
    THEY will NOT SUCCEED IN even getting
    INTO the PLAYOFFS! THEIR BULLPEN,
    UNFORTUNATELY is going to be one of
    their “achilles heels”. The VERY BEST I
    personally believe they can do in THEIR
    DIVISION is 3rd place. THERE ARE too
    many NL TEAMS that ARE BETTER THAn
    the CUBS! ENJOY THIS SEASON BECAUSE
    IT WILL “DEFINITELY” BE BETTER THAN
    LAST YEAR! GO CUBS!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      On so man levels: ow, ow, ow, ow…..
      …… ow, ow, ow, ow……
      …… ow, ow, ow, OW!

    • Die hard

      Less is more

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