travis wood beardOne of our cats is feverishly licking my desk, right next to my computer as I sit here and type this. Why are you doing that, cat? What could possibly be on the desk? Is it delicious? Should I try it, too?

  • Cubs starting pitchers now have four quality starts in five games. The lone exception was Edwin Jackson’s first start, which was a very good one – but lasted only 5.1 innings (a quality start requires at least six innings, and three or fewer earned runs allowed). That’s a hell of a great start for the rotation, if you’re looking for early season bright spots. (And, hell, the pitching staff as a whole has a sparkling 2.45 ERA.) Carlos Villanueva will hopefully keep that run going today. He’ll be getting a handful of starts in place of …
  • Jake Arrieta made his first rehab start last night for the AA Tennessee Smokies. He went three innings, throwing 40 pitches, striking out three and walking one. He did allow one unearned run, which was aided by a wild pickoff throw. All in all, it was a good first start for Arrieta, who’ll need at least a couple more to build up his pitch count before returning to the big league rotation.


  • Javier Baez’s rough start to the AAA year continued last night with another couple strikeouts, one of which was on a check swing that Baez argued, and was promptly ejected. Through three games, Baez has 10 plate appearance with one walk, no hits, and six strikeouts. That’s obviously bupkis for a sample size, but it probably does tell you that these AAA pitches are coming in with a clear game plan for Baez, and executing it (including a lot of low and away junk). Good players adjust, and Baez is a good player. He’ll always strike out a lot, but probably not 60% of the time.
  • (Worse, in that game, Kyle Hendricks started and was blasted, and Neil Ramirez pitched an inning of relief and was blasted. Luke will hook you up with the full minor league fix from the weekend tomorrow morning.)
  • Sahadev Sharma wrote up yesterday’s post-game at ESPN Chicago, discussing the Cubs’ lack of timely hitting – a familiar trope from last year. In the clubhouse, guys say they aren’t pressing, and Ricky Renteria says you just have to keep on reminding yourself that, in those situations, it’s the pitcher who should be feeling the pressure. It’s just five games, so this whole thing can be squashed quickly. But, you know, it would be nice if it happened soon.
  • And Sahadev on Anthony Rizzo’s previous struggles against lefties, and how that could change going forward.
  • I just can’t imagine why the Cubs have tried to distance themselves from Billy Cub, the non-mascot that walks around the park on game days.





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