jake arrietaHopefully if you’re in the path a storm today, you stay safe. And for those of you who faced the really scary stuff yesterday, I hope you’re doing all right.

  • After somewhat surprisingly announcing that Jake Arrieta would return to the rotation on Wednesday, the rain in Cincinnati last night has changed things once again. Now the Cubs’ 28-year-old right-hander who was slowed by shoulder stiffness in Spring Training will have his start bumped back to something closer to what it was expected to be in the first place. Jeff Samardzija will go tonight, with Edwin Jackson following tomorrow. The Cubs have an off-day thereafter, so slotting Arrieta in on Friday would mean bumping Jason Hammel and Travis Wood back two days from their normal schedule. It’s possible that the Cubs will instead elect to have Arrieta go on Sunday, with a side session in between now and then.
  • For his part, Arrieta is champing at the bit to get out there and make his 2014 debut (Cubs.com). Doing your own version of Spring Training traipsing around from minor league location to minor league location isn’t quite the same thing as gearing up with all of your teammates and heading out to start the season in Chicago.
  • And for his part, Carlos Villanueva, the man Arrieta will replace in the rotation, is ready to head back to the bullpen, where he thinks he can have a lot of success (and, indeed, he has had a lot of success there over the last few years). “I’ve done well in short spurts,” Villanueva told Cubs.com. “The problem with me has been facing the lineup a couple times over.” Anecdotally, it’s something we’ve noticed this year – Villanueva’s stuff plays well the first or second time through the order, but, by the time guys are seeing him for the third time that day, they’re on him. His splits this year back that up: for his career, when he’s starting, guys hit just .239/.307/.416 off of him the first time through the order. By the third time through, those have climbed all the way to All-Star levels: .321/.363/.533.
  • For today’s and tomorrow’s games in Cincinnati, the Cubs will essentially have a nine-man bullpen, two more than is typical. That’s because they already went to eight relievers when Justin Ruggiano was injured, and now they’ll have Carlos Villanueva available to pitch out of the pen. I say one pitcher per batter for the final two innings each day.
  • With Brian Schlitter being the last man added to the pen (replacing Jose Veras, who went on the DL with an oblique issue (phrasing)), he’s the best bet to be sent back to Iowa when Arrieta is officially activated.
  • Len and JD came in 5th in Awful Announcing’s poll of the top local broadcast teams in MLB, which is neat. Is that kind of a silly poll, given the market sizes and fan bases involved? Probably. But the Cubs were on top of the Yankees and Red Sox crews, for example, so it’s not just about the volume of participation. Len and JD are pretty good in my book, maybe needing only a little bit more time to settle into a rhythm (I’ll confess, I really disliked the Kasper/Brenly pair for several years, before I grew to love it – it just takes a little time, I guess). It wouldn’t hurt if they had a few wins to call every now and again, too.
  • Jesse Rogers wonders whether Jeff Samardzija’s hot start to the season could change the extension situation … and everyone with whom he spoke said nah. Matt Garza’s sage advice to Samardzija: pitch your way off of the Cubs. Nice. Garza added that he thinks he lost 30 would-have-been wins because he was pitching for the Cubs, a remark that David Schoenfield points out is obviously not literally accurate.
  • A Tribune profile on Ryan Kalish, who sounds pretty much thrilled to be on the field these days.
  • For those who thought BN was the only place that faced intermittent commenting issues, Hardball Talk just had the same “don’t be an asshole or else” conversation with its commenters.
  • nashvolian

    Last week the 100th Anniversary and today it’s Lee Alia Day! (warning: Mature Language)


    • DocPeterWimsey

      Or immature, depending on your point of view….

      • nashvolian

        Haha, touche.

  • nate1m

    Can you imagine the game length if they tried that pitching strategy?

  • Darth Ivy

    I really liked BB. If one of my fantasy players is playing Arizona, ill put him on the mlb.tv broadcast.

  • CubFan Paul

    “Jeff Samardzija’s hot start to the season could change the extension situation … and everyone with whom he spoke said nah.”

    Common sense prevails

  • Smitty

    Is it “champing at the bit?” I always thought it was “Chomping at the bit” Just wondering if I have been saying it incorrectly all these years.

    • Soda Popinski
    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, it can be spelled either way (though champing, in that idiom, is technically more precise), but you’ve been saying it correctly – it always sounds like “chomping.”

  • Spoda17

    I never liked the Garza initial trade (I used to debate it regularly in the first year, even worse than my Ricky-has-no-idea-how-to-put-a-lineup-together tirades… MIKE OLT!!!)… Of course Theo made up for it by trading Garza to TX… he so won that one…

    Garza can comment however he likes, and he was just answering a question, but I kinda wish he would just move on, never really liked the guy. Similar to when Arimis left… Just shut up and move on to your next team, and try and learn how to field a bunt and throw to first… Oh, and speaking of wins (which mean nothing)… the Brewers are serving him so much better… he is 1-2 in five starts, and that win came against the Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      Not to mention all the success he had at Texas after he was traded from the Cubs. I am sure Texas fans are grateful for his contributions.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      I now understand the Garza dislike (the IMAMAN!!!!! tirade) but I will NEVER understand the Aramis dislike.

      • ssckelley

        Because he is hispanic.

      • Spoda17

        I didn’t say I didn’t like Arimis… when he left and went to the Brewers, he made it a point to talk some smack about the Cubs.

        • Edwin

          I don’t remember that.

        • Brocktoon

          Don’t recall that at all.

  • Soda Popinski

    So, do we start the “where will Shark go” talk, yet? I think he pairs up nice with the Giants farm system / team trying to keep up with the Dodgers. It’s early- but sure fun to speculate (for the record, I always wanted to keep him).

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      I still like the Blue Jays, and in that crowded AL East, he could really help them

      • Soda Popinski

        I love the way the organizations match up, but I just can’t see the Jays staying competitive for too long.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          With Shark to replace a guy like McGowan in the rotation they could hang in there. Plus, we know AA will deal his prospects. Don’t think they could get Stroman and Sanchez (thought wouldn’t that be nice!), but one of them, plus two other org top 10’s might get it done.

          • Darth Ivy

            stroman plus two other org top 10’s?


          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Stroman, Norris, take your pick (I’d like Gose, but that might not be doable) and I’m a happy camper.

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Stroman, Norris, Jimenez works for me. They get 2 quality pitchers, one that could probably step in right away, and a nice backup for Welly

            • Chad

              Is Sanchez no longer a viable option, or is he just not as good as Stroman?

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                To me, they are pretty much even talent wise, Stroman is just a year ahead of Sanchez developmental wise. I have seen certain rankings have Sanchez higher than Stroman and others have Stroman higher than Sanchez. The big knock on Stroman is his size (he’s only 5’9″), but he has much better command than Sanchez. I prefer the command in a smaller package, especially because it is not like Stroman is wiry like CJ Edwards. He’s built like a house, albeit a very small house.

    • Darth Ivy

      you mean, The Shark Tracker?

      These are just too easy.

    • Darth Ivy

      there’s an entire website for just this purpose.


      • Soda Popinski

        Looks like New York, Miami or…. the Chilean league?

        • Darth Ivy

          or the mid-atlantic ridge league. Seems like his natural environment

    • ssckelley

      Is Texas ready for another pitcher yet?

  • Aaron

    Thanks for the concern, Brett. Tornado missed the main part of Birmingham but did some pretty severe damage just west of here. For others that read this blog in the Birmingham area, stay safe for “Round Two” later today.

  • Urbanted

    You forgot to mention the best part of that announcing poll – Hawk Harrelson in last place!


  • Connor W

    I think if I saw Garza live I would boo at the top of my lungs. He obviously is still mad at Chicago for all the comments he’s been saying. “I wanna bash there teeth in.” And telling a player to “pitch out of Chicago.”

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Cubs paid you a lot of money to not pitch in a lot if games. Be a pro and just move on.
    Bet that comment got some attention in the Cubs locker room.
    A former starting rotation teammate of garza’s once described
    him to me this way. He’s an idiot, basically a 15 year old in a grown mans body.
    I have a new favorite cubs player in Jason hammel. “It would be an honor to get an extension and pitch for the Cubs.”

    • Brocktoon

      “I voiced my opinion about how I love it here, my family loves it here and it’s always something that you think about.”

    • Brocktoon

      “They told my agent [earlier in the week] that they were going to move me. They said as much as they like me they need to add inventory for the future. I want to stay but that doesn’t seem possible now.”

  • ncsujuri


    Do yourself a favor and mosey on over to the message boards to check this thing out, guaranteed 1 hour minimum time expenditure to your day :)