Honor, admiration, and respect to those who service, and reflection and remembrance of those who served in the past. It is, of course, OK to enjoy the holiday, as you swim and grill and visit with friends and family. But there are also service men and women to remember, and it’s worth reflecting on their sacrifices, as well as what their friends and families have lost.
- Everywhere you read, and everywhere you see a clip, there are Cubs players and Joe Maddon saying essentially the same thing after a series sweep in Los Angeles: the team is not panicking. At 26-25, the start to this season has been far more average than anyone anticipated coming into the season, and, although it is not “early”, it is still less than 1/3 of the way through the season. The banked losses hurt, and I think we have enough information to have developed legitimate concerns about certain player performances, but I’ll still take the Cubs versus the field in the NL Central if you’re asking me to place a bet. Like I said yesterday, though, I think it’s just going to be a tighter NL Central race than people were expecting, for longer than they were expecting.
- As for the fans, Maddon has a similar, but Cat Stevens-like message (Sun-Times): “If you want to freak out, freak out.” I’m not sure I could put it better. If you want to freak out about the state of the team, go ahead – so long as you recognize the talent is there for better performances ahead.
- Of his season-worst 3.1-inning start yesterday, Jon Lester says he just didn’t have command, and feels like he wasted the whole day (Tribune). A very tight zone didn’t help, as he was getting nothing on the edges, but his velocity was also down a click or two (and it’s already down a click or two this year). I’m not sounding any alarm bells, mind you – it’s more a comment about him just having an off-day all around, when you consider the velo and command troubles. It happens. Given that the Cubs actually managed to put up a four spot on Clayton Kershaw, though, the timing was really unfortunate.
- Ben Zobrist (wrist) could return to the lineup today in San Diego (Cubs.com). It will be interesting to see how the Cubs handle the lineup in the coming days when Zobrist is back full-time, as Javy Baez is blistering hot in the last 10 days, hitting .458/.462/.833.
- Joe Maddon talks about the risk of information overload when it comes to hitters, specifically, because the nature of what they’re trying to do at the plate is so reactive (Tribune): “There’s only so much you can do. A guy has a ball in his hand and the defense controls the action with the ball. He knows what he wants to do. You have to react to it. If you’re guessing all the time and anticipating he throws a slider 30 percent of the time on a 2-1 count, you could be screwed.” I’d imagine that part of the art here is also knowing which players are better at handling having that extra information, and which players would get inside their own head too much. Maddon said that when it comes to pitchers and defense, however, getting all the information you can to the players is a great thing.
- If you like the Memorial Day gear the Cubs are wearing this weekend, you can get your own at the Official MLB Shop or at Fanatics.
- OK, I guess you don’t want to pretend to swing at a 15-foot pitch, because a bad thing can happen if you get an umpire who doesn’t really use his discretion wisely:
When you got that swing and miss stuff working. pic.twitter.com/0lYTEoWM3W
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 28, 2017
- If you missed it earlier, Cubs pitching prospect Thomas Hatch had himself a serious day.
- Various Kindle best sellers are a Deal of the Day at Amazon, as well as a cheap built-in-pump blow-up mattress (just $34.99) if you want to have one handy for summer visitors.
- Memorial Day, from the Cubs:
The #Cubs honor the heroes who sacrificed their lives in service of our country.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 29, 2017