Back in the saddle, and it feels good. Up front, I have to wish The Wife a very happy anniversary. We’ve been married seven years now, and her support has meant as much to the success of this place as anything I’ve done. Incidentally, she’s also been a pretty great partner/mother/friend/etc. over those seven years. Lucky, lucky me.
- Although the Cubs dropped the series finale yesterday, the Cubs won a series in St. Louis for the first time in a few years. Winning comes with a price, though: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny used the Cubs’ series win in St. Louis as an opportunity to pat the Cardinals on the back. “We’ve got to realize that nobody is going to half-step when they come rolling in here or we go in to visit them,” Matheny said, per Cubs.com. “We know we’re going to get their best effort, we’re going to get their best excitement. We’ve been getting great draws so there’s excitement in the stands whenever, and those are all compliments to the kind of caliber team we are.” He’s not wrong, of course, which probably bothers me even more.
- Dale Sveum says it’s too early to say whether Pedro Strop will be a leading candidate to close for the Cubs in 2014, but conceded that it’s a possibility (Cubs.com). Because Kevin Gregg was not dealt in July, and may not be dealt in August, however, Sveum does not expect anyone other than Gregg to get the bulk of save chances the rest of the way. It would have been nice to see how Strop handled the role going into the offseason. With the Cubs, Strop has allowed just five earned runs on eight hits and six walks over 17 innings. He’s also struck out 20.
- Dale Sveum tells Carrie Muskat that he’s disinclined to pinch-hit for Darwin Barney late in scoring situations, largely because Barney gives good at bats and puts the ball in play. I’m quite fine with that. Setting aside the fact that Barney, the Cubs’ best defensive player, would then have to come out of the game, I also question whether a cold bat coming off the bench is really *that* much of an upgrade over Barney at the plate, anyway. Barney certainly got the job done the last couple of days in those situations, though I’m not really going to put too much stock in a sample size of two.
- The Cubs have struck a deal with the Mesa HoHoKams to continue working at Cubs Spring Training games at their new facility, which opens for Spring play in 2014 (Az Central). The civic group – which will park cars, take tickets, sell programs, etc. – uses the revenue it gets from working with the Cubs to support local youth sports programs, so it’s good to hear that the Cubs are continuing the relationship.
- Kerry Wood hosted a charity wiffle ball game at Wrigley Field on Saturday, bringing in celebrities and former Cubs. You can see more about it here at CSN.
- Kris Bryant can’t possibly be long for Boise. He’s riding a 14-game hitting streak, and has his line up to .354/.416/.692.