Today’s the day: the $300 BN Fantasy Contest is played tonight when the games start, and it should be a lot of fun once again. The live scoreboard opens up as soon as the games begin, so you can follow along as your team racks up points (or doesn’t) all night. It’s not too late to sign up and build your team (it only takes five minutes). Sign up here. Full details here.
- The advanced stats still suggest that Edwin Jackson will be fine, but his poor start overall is becoming a concern. Dale Sveum suggests that there is something simply missing from the very beginning of Jackson’s starts. “He obviously wasn’t real sharp,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “He didn’t come out with a whole lot of velocity at the beginning either. McCutchen took advantage of a hanging slider and another fastball as well. There wasn’t a whole lot of life coming out of that arm today …. It seems to be just not coming out with a lot of conviction early in the game. Those are questions and answers, you wish you knew what happened in those situations and why the same guy doesn’t come out all the time.” I’m trying to figure out what “conviction” is coach-speak for (focus? intensity? bellyfire?), but I don’t want to put words in Sveum’s mouth. Inconsistency has always been a purported strike against Jackson throughout his career. Maybe it’s just a part of who he is as a player.
- Dale Sveum says it’s time to start thinking about changing up the against-lefties lineup, which is an understandable response after the Cubs have struggled so mightily against lefties this year. Given the state of things, I don’t really have a strong opinion on this, so long as it doesn’t tank the value of any of the Cubs’ lefties. Everyone focuses on the weak half of the platoon (righty) while ignoring how successful the strong side (lefty) has been. Yes, some of the right-handed components of the platoon setup haven’t been working (Scott Hairston, and, until he was demoted, Dave Sappelt, most notably), but that doesn’t mean using the lefties against lefties would be any better. Consider this: against lefties this year, David DeJesus has a .377 OPS(!). Nate Schierholtz is at .354. Again: those are OPS figures. The platoon is working for them.
- Cougars radio broadcaster Wayne Randazzo interviews outfield prospect Albert Almora, who finally has his season underway at A-ball. The two talk about expectations, Cubs fans, and health. Almora drops a bit of a bomb: his broken hamate bone was actually originally broken a year ago. It must have just displaced or something back in Spring Training, and that’s when it finally became too bad for him to play through. That means Almora played all of last year – and played fairly well – with a broken bone in his wrist. Thankfully it’s gone now. (Almora is pretty impressive to listen to, by the way – especially when you consider that he just turned 19.)
- The Cell has one thing over Wrigley Field: a better beer selection. (Though I’m a sucker for Old Style, just because.)
- More on the Cubs’ “Committed” campaign, from Vine Line.