For those of us old enough to remember – it’s crazy that it’s been long enough to even use that preamble – it’s impossible to mention today’s date without a note of sadness. We remember, we honor, and we keep on keepin’ on.
- Donnie Murphy’s homer last night gives him 10 with the Cubs in just 122 plate appearances. That would put him on pace for something in the 50 to 60 range over a full season. I use to say things like that jokingly, but when you reach 10 homers, you’re doing something. Murphy for so long felt like just another minor-league-deal-pick-up-then-toss-aside-at-the-end-of-the-season kind of guy, but I’m starting to wonder whether he’s going to be worth offering a contract for next year (he’s arbitration-eligible, if the Cubs choose to tender him a contract). He’s always hit fairly well in the minors, and hasn’t ever had much of a shot in the bigs. He’s versatile, has some pop, and is still only 30. Depending on the Cubs’ plans for the rest of the infield and bench, I could see Murphy being a worthwhile piece to keep around. The question is whether he’s worth something in the range of a $1 million guarantee and a 40-man spot. On the season, he’s hitting .282/.352/.618, but keep in mind that his BABIP (.309) is more than 40 points higher than his career mark (.267), and his OBP is inflated by 5 HBPs. Murphy’s a guy on whom you’ve got to keep perspective: he strikes out a lot, doesn’t walk much, and probably will never got on base at a high clip. But a bench guy who can play all over and has some pop? Fairly useful, even if his line projects to fall down quite a bit.
- (In the end, though, how can you put a price tag on the ability to have a season full of “Thank you, Donnie,” and “Donnie, you’re out of your element!” comments? Bring him back!)
- Edwin Jackson nearly matched Travis Wood’s dominating start against the Reds in the first two games of this series. What did their starts have in common? No walks. It’s so simple, and yet so important (and, frequently, so difficult).
- The Cubs will indeed go with a six-man rotation for the next two turns through the rotation, allowing Scott Baker to make two more starts, and giving the other guys an extra day of rest. All good by me.
- In his last 33 games – yes, I picked the spot in late July when his production appeared to bottom out – Welington Castillo is hitting .311/.407/.495. The best part? He’s got 15 walks in the 123 plate appearances in that stretch.
- It’s tough to have the last name “Gretzky” and become something of a forgotten prospect, but that’s essentially what’s happened to Trevor Gretzky since he was drafted by the Cubs in the vaunted 2011 draft. Injuries and some performance issues have troubled his first two years, but he’s just 20 and played fairly well in limited time in A-ball this year. The power isn’t there yet, but that comes later for some guys. An interesting write-up on Gretzky from CSN Chicago.
- A look at Darwin Barney’s offensive struggles this year from ESPN Chicago, and a look at the successful Nate Schierholtz move from CSN Chicago.
- You may or may not recall that, many moons ago, I helped run a funny t-shirt site called Unholy Cows. Well, the buddy with whom I worked is re-launching the site on his own, and you should check it out. Lotta funny shirts on there.
Batters and I Are Still Mystified By Sampson, Velazquez’s Rockets, Outfield, Herz, and Other Cubs Bullets