I’m not a “music guy,” so I won’t pretend to know anything about anything. I heard a White Stripes song back to back with a Nirvana song (“In Bloom”), which got me thinking about the talent and influence of guys like Jack White and Kurt Cobain. Then I thought about how Cobain killed himself 21 years ago this month, which bummed me out, in part because I wonder what else he could have achieved musically.
Then I thought about Jack White again, which made me think about this, and I felt a little better.
- Welington Castillo is doing what he can with his limited role – he’s come off the bench cold three nights in a row and ripped the ball – but obviously he wishes he were starting (Cubs.com). I joked about it in the EBS last night, but his performance does make you flinch just a tiny bit about maybe not wanting to trade him after all. The start of the season was the first major soft deadline in trading Castillo, and it obviously didn’t happen. The next would have been the day Kris Bryant is called up – because he will be an everyday starter, which pushes someone into a bench role, and crunches the bench a little bit, hopefully with a quality utility player – but now that Tommy La Stella is hurt and Mike Olt is ailing, I’m not so sure the Cubs can’t continue this for a while. Certainly they’ve demonstrated to the league that they can survive with three catchers, and they’re not going to move Castillo short of a quality return. And if that offer doesn’t come, you keep working with three. Maybe someone gets hurt at that point, and you’re thrilled you never made a move.
- Jesse Rogers writes about Jon Lester’s throws to first base, and Buster Olney does the same here. The gist, with which I agree: the issue is not “overblown,” and merits discussing in a head-on fashion. It’s not a secret, it can’t be ignored, and it impacts the game. Theo Epstein is quoted in Rogers’ piece, essentially saying that, yes, Lester has some things to work on, and he knows it. The primary focus, of course, should be pitching effectiveness – and, for Lester right now, that simply means getting into the rhythm of the season – but if he can figure out how to make a throw over to first base cleanly next game, just to show it, that would be fine with me. More on the issue here from Patrick Mooney.
- Andrew Felper breaks down Jon Lester’s second start, and notices a disturbing ineffectiveness – so far, small sample, etc. – with his cutter.
- Further evidence that Jake Arrieta wasn’t exactly getting crushed last night? Four of the seven hits he allowed came on pitches outside the strike zone. If one of those soft hits finds a glove, and if a couple of the 4th inning hits come in a different inning, Arrieta probably cruises through nine innings. Sure, you can play the if-this-then-that game with a lot of outings, but his start last night was a perfect example of how BABIP and sequencing can obscure how effective a pitcher actually was. He got eight whiffs over the course of the night. (Interesting to note: the night before, when he was hit all over the place, Jon Lester still got 10 whiffs.)
- Joe Maddon praises the Cubs’ analytics department (Tribune).
- That crazy Carter Capps delivery may or may not be legal. I’m really not sure I understand how it is, since he doesn’t actually throw the ball until after he’s jumped off of the rubber, landed 12 inches in front of the rubber, and pushes off again. How is that different, practically-speaking, from just, you know, pitching from 12 inches in front of the rubber? This discussion is somewhat relevant to the Cubs and the NL Central, since Cardinals reliever Jordan Walden has a similar hop. I kinda think it’s BS, even if it’s impressive that these guys can do it, physically-speaking. It doesn’t look easy.
- If the Bullets are your first stop in the morning, don’t forget to check out Luke’s Minor League Daily, which typically pops up just before Bullets.
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