Punched in the Neck and Other Bullets

darwin barney punched in the neckThere’s a fresh podcast episode on the way later today and I’m thanking we recorded before last night’s heartbreaker. My mic would have been punished.

  • Darwin Barney, whose line drive to center ended the game last night when Craig Gentry dove and caught it, pretty much summed up what all of us who were watching were thinking. “Unfortunately, I got punched in the neck, it felt like,” Barney said of the almost-hit, per Cubs.com. “You get a good piece and you pray it drops, and it doesn’t. That’s part of the game. What a catch out there. Gosh. That ball gets by him, it’s game over.” If it’s any consolation, it was a hell of an at bat by Barney against one of the best closers in the game.
  • Jed Hoyer told the media that the reason for swapping lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi out of the pen with Kevin Gregg is that Gregg simply has better stuff. Obviously the Cubs felt like Takahashi was never going to be more than a long man for them, and that isn’t the need right now. I still question the wisdom of flicking the switch after just two weeks – and leaving the bullpen with just one lefty (James Russell, who is not a lefty you’re necessarily going to just want to use on match-ups). I also question how much Gregg really has left in the tank, but I guess we’ll see.
  • Jed Hoyer on the frustration of the first two weeks, per Carrie Muskat: “It’s always bad when you can’t close out games. If you want to look for a silver lining, we’ve been in a lot of games and we should’ve won more. If you’re getting blown out night after night and don’t have the talent to compete, I think it would be more frustrating. I think the way we’ve played is probably the most frustrating brand of baseball. There’s nothing worse than winning a game for 2 hours 45 minutes and then losing. I think that starts to wear on a team. As the game goes, the most frustrating brand of baseball is winning for most of the night and losing in the end, and we need to stop that. Obviously, the bullpen needs to tighten up and the defense needs to tighten up, too.”
  • I’m guessing that Hoyer was just playing fast and loose with his phrasing when he told Cubs.com that Kyuji Fujikawa’s “elbow was definitely barking,” and that’s why he went to the DL. You’ll recall, the Cubs were very careful to emphasize that his issue is wholly unrelated to his elbow, and is just a forearm muscular thing. As I mentioned at the time of the injury, forearm issues are often related to elbow issues, and you get nervous about the latter when you hear about the former. That nervousness amplifies when the GM describes the soreness as in the elbow. Fortunately, Hoyer said in the same session that there are no long-term worries with Fujikawa, and he just needs some rest. He dealt with it in Spring Training, apparently, and the Cubs thought they had it cleared up with a week’s worth of rest at that time. Hopefully this time the rest works.
  • Jorge Soler is listed on Daytona’s roster now that his five-game suspension for the bat incident has ended, but he wasn’t with Daytona for their game yesterday. He’s been in Arizona playing in extended Spring Training games, and Scouting/Player Development Chief Jason McLeod told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Soler would return to Daytona “when we feel that he’s ready to get back on the field and compete from all aspects – physically and mentally.” Holding Soler back for a little while after the suspension is not really surprising (especially given that Daytona played the same team yesterday as they played in the bat incident game). Five games may have been enough punishment, but it might not have been long enough for the Cubs to give Soler the kind of support they feel like he needs before getting back out there. I’d tentatively expect to see him back with Daytona within the week, though.
  • A.J. Pierzynski to Paul Sullivan about the numbers on the Eamus Catuli sign: “It’s my favorite sign. They brought it back for old time’s sake, so I’m glad to see they brought it back …. What, it has been 104 [years] now? Still going though.” He loves playing the heel.
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

    more cubs news

    Latest 2024 MLB Mock Draft Lands the Cubs a Top Prospect Out of Wake Forest

    Baseball America today released its updated (version 2.0) mock draft for the 2024 MLB Draft. With more of the amateur season taking place, we are starting to see more of the top tier become firmly crystalized with eight names, none...

    What’s Going on with Kyle Hendricks and Where Do We Go From Here?

    That was a bummer of a series. The Cubs wound up splitting their weekend series at Wrigley Field, which isn't an awful outcome. But playing home against those Marlins, you definitely hope for at least three of four. Unfortunately, after...

    Cubs Injury Updates: Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ, Justin Steele (UPDATE)

    If you're looking for some good news following a pretty frustrating weekend of baseball at Wrigley Field, I do have some for you. Just before the game, a trio of updates were reported for the Cubs injured players, and it...

    Enhanced Box Score: Marlins 6, Cubs 3 – April 21, 2024

    Well, this is what happens when you don't close out winnable games earlier in the weekend when you have the chance - it's a four-game series split with the lowly Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. I watched most of this...

    Pre-Gamin’: Marlins at Cubs (1:20) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

    CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs were just a couple outs away from sweeping the double-header, but they came up short after another blown save by Adbert Alzolay in Game 1. But because they won on Friday, they still have a...

    Here’s One Unique Reason Shota Imanaga Keeps Dominating

    For all the issues in the Cubs rotation so far this season (injuries, underperformance), Shota Imanaga has been an absolute dream. And although I didn't expect his first earned runs of the year to come against the Marlins (and their...

    Assad Keeps Dealing, Gaming Out the Rotation, Who Else Could Close? And Other Cubs Bullets

    Let's just jump right into it. Javier Assad had a wobbly start to his game yesterday, immediately allowing a double and a walk to open things up, while dealing with some clear command issues. Miguel Amaya took notice and trotted...

    Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 5, Marlins 3 – April 20, 2024

    Muuuuuuuuuch better. But first, the bad stuff. For the second straight game, the Cubs couldn't get anything going against a Marlins starter; only this time, that starter was not an established big leaguer like Jesus Luzardo. Nope, for what felt...

    Alexander Canario Just Demolished a Baseball

    In the bottom of the ninth inning of the first half of today's double-header, Alexander Canario swung out of his shoes and came up empty. In the bottom half of the sixth inning of the second game ... he connected....

    Of Course Cody Bellinger Homered Today

    Cody Bellinger has been swinging a really nice bat lately, and that continued in the top of the first inning tonight at Wrigley Field (and of course he homered on 4/20...easiest call ever). Check out his fourth homer of the...

    Latest News

    Pirates vs. Brewers Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, April 22, 2024

    The Milwaukee Brewers (14-6) will put their four-game win streak to the test when they visit the Pittsburgh Pirates (11-11) Monday at 6:40 PM ET on BSWI. Oddsmakers consider the Pirates to be -145 favorites, while the Brewers are +123...

    Braves vs. Marlins Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, April 22, 2024

    A pair of division rivals take the field Monday when the first-place Atlanta Braves (14-6) host the fifth-place Miami Marlins (6-17). Sportsbooks favor the Braves (-209) for the contest, which starts at 7:20 PM ET on BSSO.Bryce Elder gets the...

    Phillies vs. Reds Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, April 22, 2024

    The Philadelphia Phillies (14-8) are -123 favorites to extend their six-game win streak when they face the Cincinnati Reds (12-9), winners of three in a row. The game begins Monday at 6:40 PM ET on BSOH, live from Great American...

    Tigers vs. Rays Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, April 22, 2024

    Amed Rosario (13 games) will look to add to his hitting streak when the Tampa Bay Rays (12-11) and Detroit Tigers (12-10) meet Monday at 6:50 PM ET, live on BSSUN from Tropicana Field. Amed Rosario and the Rays are...

    Blue Jays vs. Royals Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

    The Kansas City Royals (13-9) begin a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays (12-10) with a Monday matchup at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch is at 7:40 PM ET.The probable starters are Yusei Kikuchi (1-1) for the Blue Jays and...

    Cardinals vs. Diamondbacks Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

    The Arizona Diamondbacks (11-12) kick off a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (9-13) with a Monday meeting at Busch Stadium. First pitch is at 7:45 PM ET.This contest's pitching matchup is set, as the Cardinals will send Lance...

    Twins vs. White Sox Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

    The Chicago White Sox (3-18) carry a three-game losing streak into a road contest against the Minnesota Twins (7-13) at 7:40 PM ET on Monday.The probable starters are Chris Paddack (0-1) for the Twins and Jonathan Cannon for the White...

    Latest 2024 MLB Mock Draft Lands the Cubs a Top Prospect Out of Wake Forest

    Baseball America today released its updated (version 2.0) mock draft for the 2024 MLB Draft. With more of the amateur season taking place, we are starting to see more of the top tier become firmly crystalized with eight names, none...

    Braves vs. Marlins Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

    The Atlanta Braves (14-6) and the Miami Marlins (6-17) face off at Truist Park on Monday at 7:20 PM ET, starting a three-game series.The Braves will give the nod to Bryce Elder and the Marlins will counter with Ryan Weathers...

    Pirates vs. Brewers Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

    The Milwaukee Brewers (14-6) bring a four-game winning streak into a contest against the Pittsburgh Pirates (11-11) at 6:40 PM ET on Monday.The Pirates will look to Jared Jones (1-2) against the Brewers and Joe Ross (1-1).Pirates vs. Brewers Pitcher...

    more cubs news