My efforts to learn Snapchat continue apace. If you want to follow along as I go through that process, you can add me using this link. Although I’ll be doing Cubs-related stuff there, my guess is that it’s also going to be a place where I get into more meta-type stuff and more my-life-type stuff, since I sense that’s kind of the culture of Snapchat. It’s more for connecting with me, personally, than necessarily just connecting with all things Cubs. Which means it might not be for you. Or it might be. I really don’t know. I make no promises!
- After the Cubs’ second off-day in the last five days, they’ll now head out for nine straight on the road against the Brewers, Giants, and Cardinals. The Cubs’ lead in the Central stands at 7.5 games over the Pirates, and 8.0 games over the Cardinals. Although the Cubs have been winning at a hellacious clip to start the season, it’s still more reasonable to suspect they’ll settle into a more sustainable pace of winning. Thus, I am constantly making an effort to recalibrate my expectations. For example, on a road trip like this, facing two very good clubs and one less-so, you’d be plenty happy to see them go 5-4 and thrilled to see them go 6-3. I will try to remember this throughout the week.
- The start of that, of course, would be a series win in Milwaukee against the Brewers. You know by now that the Cubs’ only series losses this year have come against the Padres and Rockies, so nothing can be taken for granted. I do think it worth pointing out, however, that since that early-season Rockies series, Colorado has proven to be fairly resilient – they’re actually 19-18, in second place in the NL West.
- A great read from David Haugh on Jed Hoyer’s journey into a baseball front office, after years of work doing other things after his college baseball career ended, and also how he works with Theo Epstein as the guy who is too often forgotten by those following the team.
- And a great read from Patrick Mooney on Pedro Strop, similarly, as the “other guy” to many – specifically, he was the other guy the Cubs got in the Jake Arrieta trade a few years ago. Like Hoyer, Strop is far from merely a second fiddle.
- A Justin Grimm Q&A at ESPN, including the best heckle he’s heard: “Quit hooking up with my sister!”
- You are reminded that there’s a sale right now at the BN store, so give it a look if you haven’t in a while.
- Interestingly, Angels righty Garrett Richards will not undergo Tommy John surgery after all, despite a torn UCL. Instead, he will join the relatively short list of pitchers who’ve attempted various other treatments and then rehab. Off the top of my head, I can think of two notable examples where this approach to a torn UCL was a success – Masahiro Tanaka and Adam Wainwright – though we’re still early in the process for Tanaka, and Wainwright, after years of pitching with the torn UCL, ultimately did require surgery. Also recently, Matt Harvey attempted the rehab approach for a few months before opting for surgery. And therein lies the risk for Richards, who may try to rehab only to need the surgery later this year, thus delaying his return until much closer to free agency (and risking quite a bit of money in the process). I would also question how his payday could be impacted even if he does return this year, and pitch healthily for the next couple years. Will prospective signing teams feel confident in that elbow enough to give him nine figures?
- It sounds like today is the day for punishment in the Rangers-Blue Jays fracas. I think it’s a safe bet that the plunking pitchers, Jose Bautista, and Rougned Odor will all get suspensions, and there were a bunch of other guys doing lots of scuffling in between the main action. It could be a big-ole pile of punishment.
- It turns out, exit velocity varies slightly depending on the ballpark in which the tracking takes place (which makes sense, given the placement of the radars, the sizes of the ballparks, etc.). As BP relates, Wrigley Field is pretty true to form, but some ballparks offer variances of upwards of 2mph in each direction, which is actually somewhat significant.
- If you like Kris Bryant autographs, but you also want to show people you have eff-you money, how do you do it? You get a 24-karat gold signed Bryant baseball, of course.
- The guys at Ivy Envy, together with Danny Rocket, are hosting a John Baker Day event on the anniversary of The John Baker Game (remember it? winning pitcher, winning run in the marathon against the Rockies? it was awesome) – you can get the details here for the July 29th event.
- Some Cubs karaoke while relaxing away from baseball? These guys are fun, and they’re just like us! Kinda.
- If you missed anything yesterday, catch yourself up:
- A swing around baseball for some of the biggest bits, including the increasingly weak free agent class.
- Dan Vogelbach won the PCL’s player of the week honors.
- Luis took a fantastic look at how the Cubs have been stellar at converting grounders into outs.
- New restrictions for the plaza at Wrigley Field?
- Luke took in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in person, with some eyes-on reactions.
- Gerrit Cole doesn’t think the Cubs are the best team in baseball.
- Ryan Kalish cleared waivers and stayed with the Cubs organization.