Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

javier baez defenseThe Taylor Family was all over Austin yesterday, prompting The Wife last night to say that we “squeezed all the juice out of this day.” I hadn’t heard that one before. I like it.

I want to offer a special thanks to each of Luke, Michael, and Luis, whose work helped make a trip like this possible – hopefully you didn’t even notice that I wasn’t around much on Thursday or Friday in large part because of the excellent work put in by those guys. Thanks, gents.

  • Chris Denorfia played again for the Tennessee Smokies last night as he rehabs his hamstring injury. That was his second outing, and it’s a good bet that he’ll be ready to return to the Cubs – if he stays healthy – by the end of the weekend. In other words, when the Cubs head to Detroit for a two-game interleague set on Tuesday, he’s probably the guy who is added (whatever you think of Denorfia, the Cubs could definitely use his bat back on the bench – he’s hitting .429/.455/.476 in 22 plate appearances with the Cubs this year (SSS)). In other-other words, if you were hoping for Javier Baez to be back in time for that series, I’d set your sights a little further down the road to, perhaps, a week later when the Cubs start another slate of interleague games.

  • Speaking of Baez, he started at third base for the I-Cubs yesterday for the third straight game. While playing Baez there repeatedly will indeed increase his versatility, it’s starting to look more like a move to ready him for a particular spot. I’m not saying anything earth-shattering here, as Baez at third has been the speculation for a while, in terms of how the Cubs could accommodate all of Baez, Castro, Bryant, and Russell at the big league level. We’ll see if Baez keeps it going at third in the coming days. If so, I’ve got to believe we’ll see him back up with the big league club by the time the Cubs play that next set of interleague games, starting on June 17 (a week from Wednesday).
  • Tsuyoshi Wada knows that his rotation spot is going to be predicated on him performing well, which did not happen last night (CSN).
  • Since talking about multi-inning relievers has become my recent pet project, I do want to point out that Travis Wood pitched two very nice innings last night. His velocity wasn’t quite where it was for that increasingly anomalous appearance in Miami, but he was sitting at 92mph and hitting 93. That’s hot for him, and could be significant, especially if he can do it over the course of a multi-inning appearance. Since moving to the pen on May 16, Wood’s strikeout rate has hit 30.0%.
  • There are new concession stands coming in the bleachers (Tribune), about which I am very happy. Don’t get me wrong – I love the bleachers. But if there was one thing that could really stand to be improved, it was the accessibility of and variety of the food selections.

  • If you missed it early this morning, let’s talk about Anthony Rizzo’s two 400+ foot homers last night, and just how ridiculously good he’s become this year.
  • No surprise, given the rumors of their interest, but the Cubs are expected to attend Rafael Soriano’s throwing session in the DR on Thursday, per the Tribune.
  • If you’ve noticed the Cubs’ awesomeness on Twitter, there’s data to back it up over at FanGraphs. The Cubs’ Twitter account is blowing away other MLB teams on engagement, interacting with fans almost 2800 times in May. Know how many times the Cardinals’ Twitter account interacted with fans in May? 13. Yes, 2800 to 13. I guess the Cardinals’ Twitter account doesn’t think they’re the Best Fans in Baseball after all. @Cubs pretty much sums it up:

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