welington castillo featureThe Wife and The Little Girl are going to the game with me today, and it’ll be the first baseball game for The Little Girl! I am so over-the-moon excited to share the game I love with her, but I’m sure I really need to temper my expectations for just how much a four-year-old can get into the game. Hopefully she sees a little excitement, enjoys some ballpark food, and finds Clark for some high fives.

  • An interesting wrinkle to yesterday’s rough start by Jon Lester is that it came with Welington Castillo behind the plate. That is not to say there was a connection, but it’s something folks will undoubtedly notice and discuss. Lester wasn’t about to lay any blame on Castillo, as you can read here or here. Even if you wanted to say there was an issue there, you’d be just as likely to say that it was a pitcher and a catcher working together for the first time (and it just happened to be Castillo), rather than it was some specific confirmation of Castillo’s poor receiving/game-managing abilities. From the Cubs’ perspective, it’s probably not how they wanted things to go, given that putting Castillo out there to catch Lester was almost certainly in part about showcasing him for possible trades, and/or to show the rest of the baseball world that they’re serious about keeping Castillo if necessary. (When it comes down to it: does anyone really think Castillo is going to catch Lester in the regular season, in the highly unlikely event that the Cubs carry three catchers this year?) Hopefully no one takes too much away from this one pairing, as even Lester, himself, said that he wasn’t feeling sharp all game.
  • As for Lester, he wasn’t going to use “it’s just Spring Training” as an excuse (Tribune), because even when he’s working on things, he wants to get good results. I dig the competitive nature, but I’ll offer the excuse for him: it’s just Spring Training, and I’m sure he was working on some specific things. The outing was very unlikely to be any kind of reflection of how he’ll actually pitch when regular season wins are on the line.


  • Fantastic read in the New York Times about the Cubs’ offseason plans, expectations, and more.
  • The Cubs’ goal is to get 1000 innings from starting pitchers this year, which means the sub-goal is that each of the projected starters reaches 200 innings (Tribune). It’s a great goal, and it would certainly mean things are going well for the entire pitching staff, but it’s a tough feat to pull off these days. I suspect one thing about huge innings totals from starting pitchers that would really appeal to Joe Maddon: he could really maximize his bullpen usage and match-ups.
  • I’m now not so sure about the previous report that Tsuyoshi Wada threw BP the day after he was pulled from his start last week – Carrie Muskat writes that he was expected to play catch yesterday, and there’s still no timeline for his return. That sounds a lot more realistic to me.
  • That article also has a lot on Jacob Turner’s elbow injury, and just how cautious everyone is being – sounds like something they caught very early, and the effort now is to make sure that it doesn’t bloom into a more significant issue.


  • Once he’s able to play in the field again (shoulder fatigue), Kris Bryant sounds more than open to playing some in the outfield (Tribune). As we’ve discussed, having both Bryant and Mike Olt able to play in the outfield is nice because of the options it affords the Cubs in the near and long term.
  • If you missed it last night, Michael looked at one specific kind of value Kyle Hendricks might provide the Cubs.
  • A friendly NCAA tournament wager between Joe Maddon and Matt Szczur.
  • Speaking of the Tourney, if you wanted to join a no-money pool for fun, BN’er mjhurdle has set up a BN bracket at CBS that you can fill out. The password, of course, is “lastella”.
  • Your odds might not be great, but it’s a chance:




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