Mornings like this morning, I am very tired. Late night up, early start with the kids, lots to get to around here before a day game.
And yet, mornings like this morning, I am very happy. Because last night’s win was a great time. Been feeling that way a lot this year.
- Although he’s exclusively been in left field since Miguel Montero’s return, the Cubs still want to get Kyle Schwarber an occasional start behind the plate this year (CSN). Each of Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon indicate they want to pick their spots for him, but things are working so well right now that it’s hard to mess with it. With Jon Lester going today, David Ross will get the start behind the plate, but perhaps in the weekend series on the South Side we’ll see a Schwarber catching start. He’s still working on it between games.
- As for Montero, he feels like he should have blocked the wild pitch that tied the game in the 9th (ESPN). It’s worth remembering that Miguel Montero is still dealing with pain from his thumb sprain in his glove hand, which probably won’t heal until the offseason (Tribune). It didn’t affect his bat on the walk-off homer, though.
- You could see it as he walked off the mound last night, just 65 pitches into his start and not quite through the 6th inning: Jason Hammel wasn’t thrilled to be pulled so early. You can read about the mood and Joe Maddon’s explanation for the yank – basically it was match-ups – here at the Tribune and here at Cubs.com. The move ultimately worked out (unless Hammel otherwise would have finished through the 9th without allowing another run), just as it did in Hammel’s last start when he was pulled in the 6th inning having thrown just 76 pitches. The fact that it’s happened twice in a row is probable tough to take for a competitor like Hammel, but I do also wonder to what extent his July hamstring injury is factoring into his usage right now. Maybe some. Maybe not at all. Every start is critical, but Hammel’s presence will be even more critical to the Cubs as they head in September. I’m OK with caution for now, especially if the game situation leans in that direction anyway.
- Anthony Rizzo and other observers discuss his incredible catch (Cubs.com). If you missed it, you can watch it here. Now that we’re on to the next day, and all is well, I can admit: I was pretty terrified momentarily as he went into the stands the way he did. With so many people around and his focus on the ball, it had to be hard to know exactly where his feet were going to wind up. If a cleat catches a seat or a leg bone happens upon the wrong spot … *shudders*. Everything ended just fine, though, and now we’ve got an iconic moment to look back on.
- Theo Epstein wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Starlin Castro could be at second base long term (didn’t suggest it, either, though). For now, the hope is simply that he’ll contribute in ways down the stretch this season (Tribune).
- If you missed it early this morning, I checked in on the standings with another Scoreboard Watching thing.
- I think this Matt Garza quote mostly speaks for itself (Brewers.com): “[The Cubs have] got a youth movement. They sacrificed a lot of years for, not only the city, but a bunch of guys who played here to get what they’ve got, but they’ve been adamant in sticking with their plan, and they got what they wanted.” While it sounds like there’s a little bitterness in there … can you blame him? Unlike some of the flippable pieces who knew what they were signing up for, Garza came in via trade before the 2011 season, and then dealt with trade rumors for the majority of his time with the Cubs. Garza turned some folks off, but he was always enthusiastically a part of the Cubs when he was around. Seeing the organization finally now having success – especially having parted with most of his former teammates – is probably not easy.
- If you missed it, there’s a new Limited Range podcast episode out for your listening pleasure.
- I was totally going to spotlight several fan reactions to The Anthony Rizzo Catch, but then Cut4 beat me to the punch. That’s a fun read.
- The only thing is, they missed the very best reaction, which came from this excellent Nuccio DiNuzzo picture. The shock and delight (if it’s not displaying for you, you can see here):