Your regular Net Neutrality update: presently, the FCC is still on schedule to vote this Thursday on a new rule that would allow Internet service providers to create a “fast lane” of service for sites/services that are willing to pay to speed up their connections with consumers at that ISP. It’s a dangerous, scary proposition if you support ingenuity, smaller sites/services, and steady Internet access costs, and you can read more about it here and here. According to a TIME article, however, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is feeling quite a bit of pressure to delay that vote and/or change his proposal.
- Travis Wood told Cubs.com that the first thing he did after last night’s start was give Jeff Samardzija a hug and said, “Sorry.” Wood just started a game in which the Cubs scored 17 runs – in Samardzija’s eight starts, combined, the Cubs have scored just 15 runs. Baseball, man.
- Those 17 runs moved the Cubs into 9th in runs scored in the NL. The game also moved the Cubs’ run differential to -4 (the’ve scored just four fewer runs than they’ve given up), which obviously puts them right in the middle of the pack in baseball. Indeed, based on their runs scored and allowed, you would expect the Cubs to have a record closer to 18-19. That they are 11 games under .500 gives them, by far, the worst difference between actual and expected record in all of baseball. Bad luck? Something cosmic? Something explainable? If every team in the NL Central had its expected record, the Cubs would be just about two games out of first place. Baseball, man. (As far as actual answers to these questions at this point, I’m just going to say “small sample size,” and suggest that the Cubs’ true talent level is probably somewhere in between their actual and expected records. To my eye, this is, say, a 16-21 team. Not a playoff contender, but not a bottom two team, either. Of course, come the July sell-off, they could be.)
- After yet another “one big game,” Junior Lake’s line is back up to .255/.282/.459 (96 OPS+), which marked a 71(!) point OPS increase from the day before. His BABIP on the year is up to .404, and his strikeout rate is still at 41.3%. I’m glad he had a huge game, at least.
- The Cubs will be painting the marquee at Wrigley Field green with gold trim this week as part of the 1930s decade homestand at the Friendly Confines, back when that’s what the marquee looked like. They’ll be doing the painting on Wednesday, May 14 (i.e., tomorrow), and there will be a little event in the morning where you can watch the painting, get a free shirt, and do a little painting yourself (not quite on the marquee, obviously). More details on the painting here, as well as the upcoming homestand.
- Jose Veras threw 32 pitches in his most recent rehab outing at Tennessee (only 18 strikes), which suggests he must be feeling pretty good with respect to his oblique strain. For now, the Cubs aren’t commenting on when he could be back (Cubs.com). If and when he’s ready to return, the Cubs are going to have a bullpen decision to make, because I really don’t think dumping Veras is going to be a realistic option. With eight in the pen already, the decision might not be too difficult, with Zac Rosscup and Brian Schlitter the last two to arrive. One of them could be optioned back to Iowa.
- That Cubs.com piece notes that Justin Ruggiano (hamstring) could be getting close a rehab stint. He’s been out since April 23. Ryan Sweeney is also rehabbing his hamstring injury, though his came more than a week after Ruggiano’s.
- Jason Hammel, for the win. Which is to say, he thinks the W/L pitcher stat is “unfair,” which I will take to mean “stupid.” I like the cut of your jib, Jason Hammel.
- Tony Andracki on Nate Schierholtz and his struggles this year.
- A very interesting read from FanGraphs on the baserunning component of WAR, and how it can – in my read – be a little unfair.