I’m not sure if I should be rooting for Alex Rodriguez to continue his success because LOL-Yankees, or if I should be rooting against it because forget-A-Rod. He’s currently hitting .286/.394/.571.
- Travis Wood is a dirtbag, in the best possible sense, according to Joe Maddon (Cubs.com). Given his athleticism, hustle, and overall baseball ability (especially relative to other pitchers), it sounds like a fit to me. Most importantly, Wood was a dominant pitcher last night, hitting his spots, and working very well with catcher Miguel Montero.
- If you found yourself noticing an uptick in velocity for Wood, too, you were right: his fastball averaged nearly 92mph, which was his highest single-game mark since April of last year. It trailed off into the high-80s from there, so we’ll see if this is just something that happens for Wood in April, or if he’s figured out a way to keep it in the low-90s. If he has? And if the command is there like it was last night? He will dominate teams all season long. I’m not saying I think that will happen, but I’m just saying: a lefty with excellent command of five pitches (four-seamer, cutter, change, slider, curve) and sitting at 92mph? That’s a guy who will dominate hitters, just as he did last night. (Odds are, however, that the velocity will slide back to the 90mph range, and the command won’t always be *that* spot-on. Still – through two starts, Wood is looking like a very good 4/5, which is all the Cubs need him to be, especially when you consider the extra value he provides on defense, on the bases, and with the bat.)
- The belief that the Cubs’ 2013 draft board went 1. Mark Appel 2. Kris Bryant has been pervasive for almost two years now, but Jason McLeod tells Phil Rogers that isn’t true – by the time draft night rolled around, the Cubs wanted Bryant.
- Jorge Soler with Gold Glove and mini-Hawk potential? (CSN)
- When Neil Ramirez had to leave the game last night – more on that in a bit – Joe Maddon had to call to the bullpen for a reliever without actually calling on the phone. So he did this:
- Tommy La Stella (side/rib cage) is eligible to come off of the disabled list on April 24, and he hopes that’s the day he’ll be ready to go (Tribune). That’s a week away, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the roster by then, with Kris Bryant on the way and Chris Denorfia back at some point from his hamstring injury.
- I made some jokes on Twitter last night about Mr. Woodchuck (‘Full House,’ FTW) during Travis Wood’s stellar start, which prompted ghibby to joke about a “Rally Beaver,” which prompted me to suggest that the Rally Beaver should be the official, non-mascot rally animal of the Cubs. The original pictured animal was apparently not actually a beaver, so I found another. What do you think? You in for the Rally Beaver? Actually kind of terrifying:
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) April 16, 2015
- I’ve put together my initial lineup for tonight’s DraftKings contest, which was tricky because there are so few games tonight. Here’s where I’m at right now:
- I don’t love having both Chris Archer and Jose Bautista in the lineup as a couple of my big money players (since they face each other), so I’m going to have to make sure to check lineups when they come out to see if there are any fringe starters I can pick up to do some last minute tinkering. If you want to play, too, you can sign up here. The contest starts at 6:05pm CT.
- If you missed the Minor League Daily this morning.