Be Gone, Last Place and Other Bullets

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Be Gone, Last Place and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

white win flag wrigleyRough night personally/professionally, good night for the Cubs. I’m going to do my best to press the reset button today, and proceed with the lessons of yesterday in mind.

  • About that good night for the Cubs: it took them out of last place! The Cubs’ recent hot streak – 6-3 in their last nine games – coupled with a Brewers cold streak has brought the Cubs a few percentage points ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central. Do a dance and raise a flag, because this may not last.
  • Last night’s win came largely courtesy of Jeff Samardzija, who looked as good as he has any time this year. “He used the whole four corners of the plate,” manager Dale Sveum said, per CSN. “He pitched up. He pitched in. He pitched away. He used his slider. He used his split. He used a lot of cutters. He just used his whole repertoire. He knew what he was doing tonight. He was pitching. He wasn’t just out there throwing to one side of the plate. He was mixing it up, keeping them off-balance and breaking a lot of bats.” The cutters comment is interesting, as that was something that stood out to me last night – I felt like Samardzija was throwing more cutters than usual. Maybe it was a scouting report thing, or maybe he just felt like he had really strong command of it last night. The movement and velocity (92ish, consistently) on the cutter looked good, so either explanation would be understandable.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer writes about the prospect of a mid-season sell-off, even as the Cubs look marginally improved of late. “Make no mistake: If they don’t see a sustainable window of contention, even if the team is flirting among the wild-card leaders, they have to take advantage of one of the few means left for acquiring young talent.” This is correct, as painful as it might be come July.
  • Carlos Zambrano’s former teammates – Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Marmol, and Kevin Gregg – are happy to see him getting another chance, per Bruce Levine. Zambrano, 31, signed a minor league deal with the Phillies yesterday.
  • Paul Sullivan answered reader questions, and took on the “the Ricketts only want to make money” attitude among some fans. In Paul’s opinion, it would be pretty embarrassing for the Ricketts to rake in money while proceeding over a long-term terrible Cubs team. Instead, he sees the Ricketts as wanting to win AND wanting to make money in the process. Since the two are not unrelated – the better the Cubs perform, long-term, the more money that comes in the doors – that’s probably fair.
  • Speaking of “the Ricketts only want to make money,” yet another angry “the Ricketts only want to make money” article on the Wrigley renovation, this from the AP’s Jim Litke.  At least Litke does mention, buried in a throw-away sentence, that the Ricketts plan to pay for the renovation with their own money.
  • I meant to include in yesterday’s Tommy John piece that 2012 draftee, Josh Conway, recovering from Tommy John surgery, was lost for the season after suffering a stress fracture in his elbow. It’s a real shame, as Conway was pitching well, and now faces another year of recovering. All is not lost, though, if I could do some speculating: current Cubs reliever Hector Rondon is pitching relatively well a year after a stress fracture in his elbow, which came a year after Tommy John surgery (I’m wondering if the tendon replacement, which I believe weaves the “new tendon” through the bone, sometimes causes a fracture).
  • Having returned to Twitter, I asked Ian Stewart if he’d be willing to share his thoughts on everything that’s happened over the last couple weeks – to share his side of the story. He said only “maybe some day.” The world may never know …

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.