Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

dale sveum mediaAfter a wonderful stretch of time together, The Wife’s maternity leave is up, and she has headed back to teaching. Summer break is fast approaching, though, which means she’ll be back around here within a couple weeks. Why am I telling you this? Well, The Little Boy is at home with me for these couple weeks, which means I won’t always be able to be quite as swift or responsive as I’d like. Thankfully, I’m getting some help from family on some of the days (thanks to The Mother-in-Law today), so, most of the time, you won’t even notice. But if a hot rumor breaks and I’m a few minutes slow to get it up, now you know I was probably burping a baby.

  • Much to our chagrin, the Cubs are refusing to volley back anything at Dusty Baker/Johnny Cueto after Baker’s suggestion yesterday that Cueto and Matt Garza, who’d called out Cueto for throwing over David DeJesus’s head, should fight. “I don’t have much to say about that,” Sveum said of the exchange, per “Yesterday is over with. It’s people’s prerogative to make a big thing out of something that was no big thing at all. Those are their comments. I’ve got nothing to really comment on something that’s over with.” Jed Hoyer and David DeJesus wouldn’t really say anything either. Booooooo. I kid. Mostly. At least the two teams play again in a couple weeks …
  • Jeff Samardzija’s first career shutout last night dropped his ERA by 40 points, and helped rocket his WAR up to 1.8 already. Despite a relatively slow start to the year, Samardzija now has the 19th best FIP in baseball.

  • ESPN reports that all eight of Jeff Samardzija’s strikeouts yesterday came on his splitter. It’s definitely his wipeout pitch, but that surprises me, given his superior mix of pitches. I’m trying to picture his strikeouts from last night, and all I can see are splitters (likely because those are nastiest looking ones). It doesn’t really matter, but I’m just curious, I guess. (UPDATE: As Harry notes in the comments, I was right to be suspicious – they weren’t all splitters, though a majority may have been.)
  • However he did it, Samardzija was dominant. White Sox manager Robin Ventura compared Samardzija to young Mets ace Matt Harvey, whom he had previously compared to Justin Verlander. Nice company for Samardzija to find himself in.
  • Jon Greenberg writes about the Cubs’ approach at the plate – or at least the one they aspire to have – and how, for one night, it came together.

  • Apropos of nothing: After taking just one walk in his first 36 games, Welington Castillo has now walked in four straight games. That’s not the shocking statistic. The shocking statistic? His OBP has actually dropped in those four games, from .328 to .325. Remember: OBP ain’t just walking.
  • The Midway Madness guys got a video interview of Albert Almora.

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