Episode 4 of BNTV records live tonight at 8pm CT / 9pm ET here at BN. You can participate by emailing questions and comments in advance to BNTV at bleachernation dot com, or by just showing up tonight for the recording, and dropping your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter (send them @BleacherNation).
Even if you can’t come to the live recording, you can watch the episode any time thereafter, either in the post here at BN, or at BNTV’s page at YouTube.
- AAA Iowa’s season is now over, which means September call-ups can proceed in force. This Cubs.com piece indicates that the Cubs will have “about” six call-ups, which means I can’t help but offer a guessing game. We know that the first one was Blake Parker (the six are in addition to Parker), and strong rumors indicate that two more will be Eric Jokisch and Rafael Lopez. Junior Lake and Dan Straily are expected back, which would leave just two more call-ups if we went strictly with six after Parker. That could include Brian Schlitter, Zac Rosscup, or Chris Rusin on the pitching side, or Mike Olt on the positional side. Candidly, I would have expected all four of those guys to come back, though Olt is dealing with a hamstring issue. There have been no indications that the Cubs plan to add anyone else to the 40-man roster at this point (beyond Jokisch and Lopez), and I haven’t heard much about Arodys Vizcaino (who is on the 40-man) being brought up. He struggled a bit at AAA Iowa after cruising at the lower levels in his long-awaited return from multiple arm surgeries.
- On Lake, by the way, in his 13 games since being sent down to AAA, his line is only so-so for the PCL (.279/.333/.426), but his strikeout rate (22.7%) was just about the lowest of his minor league career, and his walk rate (7.6%) was just about the highest. We’re talking about 66 plate appearances, though, so you probably can’t take too much from it.
- As you no doubt noticed, Anthony Rizzo sat again yesterday with his back tightness issue. Were it earlier in the season, before rosters expanded, we’d probably be talking about the disabled list at this point, but that’s not really an issue this time of year. If the issue isn’t cleared by today, Rizzo could go in for an MRI (Cubs.com), at which point we would all nearly break our fingers crossing them so hard that there are no serious troubles lurking in Rizzo’s back.
- Speaking of injuries, here’s the moment when your heart leapt into your throat, emerged from your mouth, spilled onto the floor, and exploded into tiny pieces that were carried away by demonic ravens:
Castillo's liner hitting Soler in the thigh. I'm told the baseball was euthanized on the field. https://t.co/QM63EIckDL
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) September 1, 2014
- Thankfully, the ball hit Soler in perhaps the one spot on his front side where it was unlikely to hurt him – right in the meaty part of the thigh. And dos thighs tho.
- More on Soler’s debut here at CSN. Even he admits hitting isn’t as easy as he’s making it look right now.
- It sounds like the Cubs haven’t worked too much with 23-year-old righty Jacob Turner on “fixing” any mechanical issues just yet (or maybe they don’t see a need – or maybe he’s just not saying). Instead, he tells Cubs.com that they’ve mostly focused on pitch selection and sequencing. It certainly worked yesterday. I’m thinking after about one more start, I’d like to drill down into what he’s doing differently with the Cubs, and how it is manifesting itself in results so far. Given the unrealized potential that led to him becoming available essentially for free in the first place, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m having a slightly tougher time nailing down what I think of what I see when I watch Turner, versus when I watch guys like Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada. Those two, I had a pretty good sense of what they could be within a start or two (though I guess they’ve been around for a while with the Cubs, so I’ve also had scouting reports and minor league stats to roll around my mind). With Turner, I’m still mulling.
- The Cubs welcomed the U.S. champion Jackie Robinson West team from Chicago yesterday.
- Nick Cafardo writes that Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs are finally where he wanted them to be when he left the Red Sox in 2011: loaded with young talent ready to emerge, and with plenty of money to spend to augment that youth where necessary.