Thoughts and looks and comments and TAKES! coming later this morning in separate posts on the big out at third base, as well as Willson Contreras’s defense behind the plate. For now, other Bullets …
- I am not a fan of using a rock hard object, hurled at 90+ mph at a defenseless human being, to send a message. I know it’s part of the game of baseball to some, but it’ll never be a sensible part of the game to me. So, when Jaime Garcia nearly hit Kris Bryant in the face last night, I was pretty pissed off. To re-set the scene for those who missed it: Brandon Moss homered off of John Lackey earlier in the game, and, in the top of the 5th inning, with a runner on base and two outs, Lackey hit Moss with an inside fastball. Intentional? Game situation – one run game, runner already on base – suggests no, and I think it’s more likely Lackey was just trying to go way inside on a guy who jumped on a first pitch the last time up. For what it’s worth, Lackey reacted as though he was very frustrated to have hit Moss. In the bottom of that inning, Jaime Garcia threw extremely tight to Kris Bryant with two outs, but did not hit him. Two pitches later, Garcia threw a fastball at Bryant’s head, which fortunately clipped his shoulder. Once again, the game situation – one-run game, already two strikes, Anthony Rizzo on deck – suggested it would be insane to have intent there, but the execution and Garcia’s comments after the game (“It got away.” “Both times?” “Yeah.”) strongly suggest otherwise. And, given their beanball approach to the Cubs last year, which set off Joe Maddon, the Cardinals don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.
- Within the confines of the way the game is played, even if I don’t agree with it, I can understand Garcia (and, let’s be honest, Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny) sending one in tight to Bryant, like he did early in the at bat. If it hits Bryant, it catches him on the butt, and, if it doesn’t hit him, message sent. But to then go offspeed away, then throw a fastball at a guy’s head? That was intentional and utterly disgusting. I hope the Cubs find it within themselves not to retaliate in similar fashion today or tomorrow, but I know that I’m seething, and I’m just a dude typing words on my couch.
- Yesterday, the Cubs decided to play it safe and put center fielder Dexter Fowler on the disabled list with his hamstring issue, even though the sense you get from both Joe Maddon’s and Jed Hoyer’s comments is that it won’t actually take 15 days for Fowler to get over this (Cubs.com). So, then, the calculus was apparently either let Fowler sit for five, six, seven days and play shorthanded so that you can have him back for that second half of the two week period, or let him sit the whole time, not play shorthanded for any of it (though, without Fowler), and make sure you don’t push Fowler into a place where he really hurts himself. Given the Cubs’ lead in the NL Central, I think that’s a fine decision.
- As for the decision to call up Carl Edwards Jr. to take the roster spot, I’m good with that, too. No, he hasn’t quite acquitted himself the way you’d want him to at AAA this year – the control and command problems still plague him, which would manifest not only in walks at the big league level, but also a lot more damaging hits (missing spots, bad counts, relying on single pitches, etc.). But he has such killer stuff that you’d love to see him figure it out, and maybe more work with the big league coaches and pitchers can help in that regard, even if he’s not up here to stay.
- And, on that, Edwards is almost certainly not up here to stay, because I suspect what the Cubs may now do is use that roster spot when Tommy La Stella is ready to return from his hamstring injury. As Michael discussed yesterday, it was going to be a little tricky for the Cubs when La Stella was ready to come back – does Albert Almora go back down? Willson Contreras? do the Cubs risk losing Matt Szczur on waivers? – and now that decision can be deferred much more comfortably. La Stella, who could head out on a rehab assignment soon, simply replaces Edwards, and the trickier roster decisions are deferred until Fowler and Jorge Soler are ready to come back. By then, who knows? It could have sorted itself out all over again. When you’re able to defer the decision without materially harming the big league club, it’s always better to defer.
- Len and JD ranked as the fourth best TV crew at FanGraphs.
- Theo Epstein’s Hot Stove Cool Music fundraiser raised a ton of money for a great cause.
- Care to peruse some Cubs jerseys on Amazon today? Well, here they are!