Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

travis wood cubs featureThe Mom’s birthday is today, and she’s coming up to celebrate with us, which is especially nice because The Little Girl has a gymnastics show today. It’ll be a nice family day, and, while it’ll take me away for most of the Cubs game, it’s totally worth it.

And it’s a Jake Arrieta start, so you know I must be *really* into the family thing.

  • As noted last night, Travis Wood is officially in the bullpen now after pitching a clean 9th inning yesterday. It’s expected that Tsuyoshi Wada, who has completed his rehab stint at AAA Iowa, will take Wood’s turn in the rotation on Wednesday (or the Cubs could shuffle the order with the Monday off-day, but you get my point). We’ll talk more about the Wada side of things when that becomes official – I wrote about these two guys on Friday – but today’s focus is on Wood, the reliever. Although this is not how anyone wanted things to play out, I’m excited to see what he could do out of the bullpen. In some ways, definitionally, Wood is a “better pitcher” than many other relievers the Cubs could add at this point, so his mere presence in the pen could help, assuming he’s physically able to adjust to the role. Like most pitchers, Wood’s numbers are best when facing opponents for the first time in a game, though his first inning numbers aren’t great. That can tell you only so much, though, because a guy planning to try and go seven innings will work the first much differently than he would work the only inning he’s pitching.
  • There will be other moves made in tandem with Wood to the bullpen, of course, because now the Cubs have 10 (Ell Oh Ell!) relievers on the roster. Will Wood replace a lefty in the bullpen? Or will he be more like a full-inning guy irrespective of handedness? Or will he be a long reliever? I could come up with a guy he’d replace in each of those scenarios, but I’m not sure it’s going to be quite so “role”-oriented. The Cubs will figure the best seven or eight arms for the pen, and go from there. In the short-term, I suspect we’ll see Brian Schlitter sent back down soon, and then the Cubs will probably wait to make another bullpen move until it’s time to call up Wada.

  • Semi-relatedly to this stuff: Tommy La Stella appeared in two games for the Tennessee Smokies, once at DH and once at second base. With the off-day on Monday, it’s possible the Cubs will wait to bring him back until at least Tuesday, but he’s likely to be ready very soon. When he comes, because of the crazy short bench, he could just replace a pitcher; otherwise, the guy whose role he’d be replacing would be closer to Jonathan Herrera, although the latter is more versatile and more defensively-inclined (which is to say, I could see the Cubs keeping both).
  • Joe Maddon says he writes “don’t be a fan” at the top of the lineup card to remind himself to stay even-keeled and not get too emotional in the moment (CSN). Very good plan for the manager. Leave the emotional explosions and overreactions to the fans. We’re good at it (which is to say we are awful).
  • Maddon is still espousing confidence in Kyle Hendricks, who was so close to an end-to-end great outing on Friday (CSN).
  • Cubs pitching prospect Jake Stinnett, the organization’s second rounder last year, has been placed on the DL at Low-A South Bend. The specific injury or ailment was not disclosed at this time.

  • Did you see Addison Russell’s holy-sh*t-how-did-he-catch-that play yesterday? If not, you should watch it. If so, you should watch it again. Throw in the fact that the catch came in a one-run game with two runners on … this guy is so impressive.

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