mike olt!We awoke this morning to find a tick in The Little Girl’s hair. It hadn’t engorged itself, and was relatively easily removed, but man – there’s just about nothing out there that will spiral your fear-Googling like finding a tick in your little kid’s hair.

  • Patrick Mooney takes a deep and interesting look at the Tommy John epidemic from the Cubs’ perspective, with great quotes and insight from Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio. Although Bosio says that the Cubs really emphasize health and clean mechanics … but if a guy’s elbow is going to pop, it’s going to pop. You can’t always prevent it.
  • Mooney also writes about the Cubs’ lineup decisions, within the context of Mike Olt sitting out last night after starting to heat up. Honestly, I didn’t even think about the decision to have Luis Valbuena in there instead of Olt (or Darwin Barney), because Wainwright is tough on righties (except Barney for some reason), and the Cubs still occasionally have to get guys like Barney and Valbuena in there. Olt had played for about a week straight, and it was no big deal to give him a day off. It just didn’t really cross my mind, because I know that Olt’s playing time is ticking up at an appropriate pace, and he’s getting more and more of a chance to play regularly (which, from my perspective, was always the plan for him). I guess a lot of other folks out there had a beef with Olt not being in the lineup, though, and Mooney puts it well: “It’s a function of the news cycle: Team releases lineup, the Twitterverse goes wild breaking it down, the manager explains his decisions during the media briefing and something has to fill space on the Internet before first pitch.” So we get lineup analysis/griping pieces almost every single day.
  • The Cubs have played 38 games, by the way. Mike Olt has appeared in 33, and has started 23 of them. He’s started 18 of those 23 since April 13, and, before last night, he’d started the Cubs’ last six games in a row. Clearly, it’s picking up.
  • You can read Ricky Renteria’s thoughts on Olt here from Carrie Muskat. Nothing too groundbreaking there: Olt will continue to play more and more, but other guys have to be worked into the lineup, too.
  • Jake Arrieta was very hard on himself last night for lasting just four innings because of self-described inefficiency. (Cubs.com)
  • Tickets to Theo Epstein’s foundation-supporting fundraiser (the one where he plays music with Peter Gammons and other musicians) go on sale this Saturday, for the event, which is June 20.
  • Soda Popinski

    In Soviet Russia you don’t find tick… tick finds you.

  • E

    Sure fire way to cool off a player on a hot streak is to keep him on the bench.

    • Jason P

      Which bears absolutely no relevance here because nobody’s being kept on the bench.

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

      Let’s not get crazy and call a 1 game a “hot streak”.

      Or that 7 hits this month is awesome.

      Or think that hot streaks are predictive of future performance.

      It’s one game off in the middle of an increasing workload.

      • gocatsgo2003

        Come on now… he’s clearly playing much better. Over the last six games (week), he’s .263/.364/.737 for an OPS of 1.100 and over the last eleven games (two weeks) he’s .233/.361/.633 for an OPS of .933. If he can maintain a level of performance even one notch below his two week numbers (say something like .230/.315/.425 for OPS of .740), you take that player all day, every day, especially if he can continue to get more consistent with his glove.

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

          Absolutely, he has done acceptably in the past few weeks. I’m a tad nervous with the .400 IsoP in that it will regress horribly but those HR aren’t going to all turn into doubles.

          • gocatsgo2003

            Agreed… that’s why I pegged an acceptable longer-term SLG at .425 — slightly above league average, but not otherworldly.

  • Edwin

    Arrieta and Jackson have the longest pace of Cubs pitchers, with Arrieta taking an average of 27.5 seconds between pitches so far this season, and Jackson with 25. Both average around 25 for their careers since pitch F/X. Hammel has been the quickest, at 20.8. If you break it down, that means over 100 pitches, watching Hammel pitch will result in 11 minutes of less dead time. When Zambrano pitched, he averaged around 18 between pitches.

    Just thought that was neat.

    • Pepitones wig

      Thanks for that…interesting stuff

      I’d like to see a 20 second rule..but thats just me

  • Darth Ivy

    “Olt’s playing time is ticking up …. he’s getting more and more of a chance to play ….”

    Good enough for me. I’ve been pretty critical of Olt sitting earlier in the season, but now I’m happy to see that the plan to steadily increase his playing time is actually what they’re doing. So my concerns were not realized and I’m happy about it. Good call to those who stayed patient and expected this.

    That said, I picked up Olt two nights ago and yesterday was the first game I had him on my roster. It was disappointing that I couldn’t start him for the first day I had him. Just a little selfish thinking there.

    • 70’s Cub

      RR was hired based on effective implementation in terms of the process of bringing on young talent. The FO was profoundly disappointed in Dale’s method’s.

      • Darth Ivy

        You can’t bench a guy the FIRST day he’s on my fantasy roster! That’s just cruel!

        But yeah, I like the idea of gradually increasing playing time. It’s like how the Cardinals bring up pitchers into the bull pen before putting them into the rotation (if that’s really what they do). There’s no rush as far as team competition. The Cubs won’t miss the playoffs because Olt was gradually brought in like this. And about RR, well, Castro and Rizzo…boom.

        • Darth Ivy

          bull pen, as in, they make their pitchers take care of the bulls at the rodeo. Duh

  • Urbanted

    Starting or not, IMHO there’s no way he should have been running with 1 out in the top of 7th (down by a run) with the 2-3-4 hitters coming up, even if it would have been Valbuena facing a lefty. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but aside from the (temporarily) high BA right now, Bonifacio seems to swing and miss a lot. I thought that was a bad call. I’m slightly less critical of the decision to send Rizzo in the 10th with Castro up and a pinch hitter next, but it’s rough to give free outs in a close game with men on base. We’re 3-15 in 1-2 run games this year.

  • Revery

    Come on down to Southern Illinois. After one weekend, you’ll go from freaking out to “oh a tick, pinch the back, lift vertical, and pull – repeat”.

  • Myles P

    Everytime Olt does something good, I think of that picture and end up yelling “MIKE. OLT” with my hands in the air. Well done, Brett.

  • modje03
    • itzscott

      I’m totally down with that.

      Let’s see if Hoystein can make it happen.

      • gocatsgo2003

        With what seems to be their normal MO right now, I would guess the FO has told the Rockies they would start by asking for both Gray and Butler. Then we wait for the deadline and see what the price is.

      • gocatsgo2003

        And yes I’m aware that they would have to take Gray as a PTBNL due to being drafted in 2013.

  • Dustin S

    In the end RR is kind of going into every game like a fight with 1 hand tied with this offensive roster. It’s easy to blame a lineup order or x starting instead of y, but when people are clamoring that a guy hitting under .200 isn’t starting you know there’s a problem. Don’t get me wrong I’d rather see Olt/Valbuena over Valbuena/Barney anyday. But it’s more a symptom of RR not having enough weapons than a problem with lineup decisions.

  • CubChymyst

    I have no problem resting players occasionally. If at some point during the season Castro or Rizzo is on the bench for a game I wouldn’t blast Renteria for it.