It’s an off-day today, but I’m going to take in a game anyway: the Kane County Cougars are playing the Dayton Dragons this evening, so I figure I’ll make the drive down to check them out. Pitching prospect Daury Torrez is scheduled to start, and I can’t wait to see him. It’s a good sign for the Cubs’ pitching prospect depth that a guy like Torrez seems to get lost in the hype shuffle.
- My heart has been warmed: when discussing that ill-timed, ill-advised sacrifice bunt last night in the fifth inning by Welington Castillo with runners on first and second and nobody out, Ricky Renteria says that was not a call from the bench. “We wanted him to swing the bat,” Renteria told ESPN. Yes, yes, a million times yes. As I’ve written, the sacrifice bunt almost never makes sense, and the Cubs have been leaning on it way too heavily in the early going. I’m very happy to hear that, at least in that situation, it wasn’t the manager pushing for the bunt. (At the same time, hitters tend not to do those things on their own unless there’s a bit of a cultural approval of sac bunts. Let this be the start of guys not doing that on their own anymore. Sac bunts are the devil.)
- I noted in last night’s EBS that the Cubs had a rough nightcap with runners in scoring position, but it was actually a doubleheader-long thing: the Cubs were 0-13 with runners in scoring position on the day. That dropped the team’s BA with RISP to just .195 on the year. (Can you believe there are still six teams worse than that, though? Including the Red Sox at .192.)
- A profile on Ricky Renteria, and thoughts on his job satisfaction so far (spoiler alert: he’s still satisfied, even if he doesn’t like the losing).
- Ben Lindbergh looks into the pace of baseball games in recent years, and notes that, yup, things are slowing down – pitchers and hitters are taking more time between pitches year after year, and the length of games is increasing. He dives into the data to search for reasons and meaning (relievers take way longer than starters, by the way), and one thing jumped out: you aren’t imagining things – Edwin Jackson really is one of the slowest-working starters in baseball right now. The fact that he always seems to have guys on base probably doesn’t help.
- Alfonso Soriano is a cool dude, and I hope he comes back into the Cubs’ family somehow when his playing days are over.
- Cubs infield prospect Arismendy Alcantara had a sufficiently big day yesterday that it earned him a spotlight piece on MiLB.com, and raised his season line to .289/.306/.467. The 22-year-old has been playing some shortstop in Javier Baez’s absence, and would be discussed so much more by Cubs fans if not for the existence of The Big Four. A 22-year-old shortstop at AAA with the kind of season he had last year? He’s legit. If Baez winds up at second base, and Starlin Castro stays at short, however, the Cubs will have to work to figure out how to get him in the mix. (Also Christian Villanueva, Mike Olt, Kris Bryant …. )
- Former Cubs pitcher Casey Coleman has caught on with the Royals.
- In case you were worried about Albert Almora, who turned 20 yesterday, and has sat out a couple games after that nosebleed that wouldn’t stop:
— Robbie Aaron (@RobbieAaron) April 16, 2014