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jorge soler cubsWe’ve been waiting for so long for something significant to happen on the Wrigley Field renovation storyline, and, this morning, we got it. But it’s really just the start of another long process; or at least I need to remind myself of that fact so that I can step back from obsessing about it for just long enough to carry on with the other items of interest today …

  • We learned yesterday that last week’s hamstring issue was indeed a strain that was going to put Jorge Soler on the shelf for a little while, and force him to rehab once again down in Arizona. He’d missed time in Spring Training and in the early season with a left hamstring injury, and, so, a third iteration was really disconcerting. Except, it turns out, as Carrie Muskat reports, the injury this time around is to the other hamstring (his right). I go back and forth in my mind about whether that’s good or bad news – three consecutive strains to the same hamstring could be really, really bad; but, on the other hand, straining both hamstrings at various times sounds pretty bad, too – but I think I’ll land on good, since I’m in a relatively positive mood this morning. Most hamstring strains these days seem to cost the player about a month, so that’s certainly not good news, but if this is the impetus to get Soler’s muscular issues figured out (and Muskat has thoughts from Jason McLeod that suggest it is), maybe it’s a good thing in the long-term. Hopefully Soler is back at Tennessee by mid-June.
  • Jason Hammel felt like his hand exploded when it was hit by that Brett Gardner grounder on Tuesday night (Cubs.com). There is no break, however, just a bone bruise and some swelling. He’s determined to make his scheduled start this weekend. Hammel was able to stay in the game and pitch well on Tuesday, though you always wonder how a guy is going to feel when the adrenaline wears off. Having a good “feel” for your hand is, you know, pretty important for a pitcher.
  • It became a more prominent question after Hector Rondon blew the save yesterday, but, if you were wondering why he was brought in on Tuesday night to replace Neil Ramirez with a five-run lead, and needing just one out, it was because Ramirez was up to 22 pitches, and Ricky Renteria didn’t want to risk him throwing 10 more pitches to the next batter (Tribune). You may recall that Ramirez has dealt with some shoulder issues in the past, so the Cubs may be fairly careful with his usage. I was frustrated at the time, but I accept and approve of that explanation.
  • My run differential piece on the Cubs yesterday wondered how historic the Cubs’ positive run differential and strongly negative win differential is, and specifically said, “Great research question: what’s the latest a team has had the worst record in baseball, but still had a positive run differential? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that it’s the 2014 Chicago Cubs.” Tom Tango put out the call to any of his readers who wanted to look into it (Tango, himself, is a consultant for the Cubs, and cannot publicly comment on them), and Scott Lindholm confirmed the depth of the Cubs’ bad luck:

I ran the numbers prior to today’s (Wednesday) loss to the Yankees. The Cubs were 16-27 coming into the game with a +2 run differential.

No current team in baseball history has ever had a record that bad or worse with a positive run differential. The old bygone teams of the American Association, Players League or Union Association might have, but that would have been over 100 years ago.

  • As I said, man: Cubes.
  • I know it’s become a pet railing point, but I’ll say it again: there’s a stat out there that says Jeff Samardzija is the best pitcher in baseball (ERA), and there’s another stat out there that says he’s the worst pitcher in baseball (pitcher wins). Do those stats tell you something about Samardzija’s performance, or does Samardzija’s performance tell you something about those stats?

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