Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

american flag baseballA Happy Fourth of July to you and to America. Hopefully you’re taking in some friend and family time, eating some hot dogs and apple pie, and watching some fireworks and parades.

  • The Cubs are going to need a starter on Sunday, since they optioned Chris Rusin back down to Iowa after his spot start on Tuesday. Unless there’s an injury (Hector Rondon?), he can’t be called back up for 10 days. Since Carlos Villanueva is being stretched back out, he would be the logical choice to just move back into the rotation, if he’s ready. But Bruce Miles says “word out of Oakland” is that it won’t be Villanueva on Sunday (or Jake Arrieta, for that matter), because he probably won’t be ready yet. In that case, absent the Rondon injury dance suggested by that parenthetical, who gets the start? Do the Cubs call up another AAA’er for a spot start? Brooks Raley, if they don’t want to make a 40-man move? Do the Cubs simply expect that another move to be made in the next couple days, obviate the need to declare anything today?
  • Bruce wonders if the Cubs could decide to give Kyle Hendricks a shot. The AA starter has pitched better than any Cubs pitching prospect this year at AA or AAA (or maybe any other level), and was interestingly pulled after just five innings on Tuesday (88 pitches, though). Maybe there was already some planning in the works for a call-up for his next start? I’d be surprised if it was Hendricks, given that he’s pitched only a half season above High-A and isn’t an overpowering type who can just rear back and throw. Fun to think about, though. Adding Hendricks to the rotation would require a 40-man roster move.

  • Speaking of the rotation and possible moves, Matt Garza was fantastic once again last night – and, this time, against a good team. “That was as good as I’ve seen him in two years, especially against seven left-handers in the lineup,” Dale Sveum said of Garza’s performance, per “His command of his fastball down and away [was sharp]. He had the extra velocity when he needed it, first-pitch strikes, you can go on and on. That was as impressive as you’re going to get.” Garza wasn’t just beating up on the Astros or Brewers or Mariners this time around.
  • As for Garza, he got the same trade rumor questions after the game, and he offered his stock answer. “Six, seven years, my name has been thrown around,” he said, per “Until my phone rings, I’m going to be a Cub and I’m going to stay a Cub. We’ll see …. I’m just pitching and not even worrying about anything. I’m just worried about the next five days. I’ve got the White Sox in the next five days.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that he says the exact same thing every time he’s asked … which is fine. Garza has allowed just three earned runs in his last 30 innings, striking out 28 and walking 8. He been good.
  • Scott Feldman pitched very well in his Oriole debut last night, so, good for him, good for them.
  • Javier Baez is the Cubs’ Player of the Month for June, and Chris Rusin is the Pitcher of the Month for June. They did awesome things in the past month, and they have now been recognized.

  • If you’re hanging out waiting for the fireworks today, might I suggest you check out the latest episode of the BN Podcast if you haven’t? We had Keith Law on the show, and he talked about all kinds of awesome Cubs-related things. Give it a listen.
  • In conclusion, Cubs pitching prospect Rob Zastryzny, the team’s second round pick this year, tweets funny things on Twitter:

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