Sixth Starter Plans, Quintana's Velocity, Old Friend Goes Off, and Other Bullets

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Sixth Starter Plans, Quintana’s Velocity, Old Friend Goes Off, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Littlest Girl is starting at a new school a couple days a week today, and I’ve got those first day dad jitters. It’ll be great for her to be in a setting that is geared toward helping her with her development and needs, but it’ll be an adjustment. I hope she has a blast.

  • How bad has the weather been in Chicago the last few days? Bad:

  • Because of those postponements, and an earlier one in Cincinnati, we know for certain the Cubs will need a sixth starter at times. The Tribune got comments from the two most obvious candidates already on the big league roster – Mike Montgomery and Eddie Butler – and each basically says that he would be prepared as necessary. Recall, though, that Montgomery previously expressed a belief that he might not be at his best physically when flipping back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation in quick succession. One time for a doubleheader? Maybe the Cubs would still do it. But the discussion all offseason sure made it seem more likely that, if it were just a one-off start, the Cubs would go with someone other than Montgomery, who would be in the rotation only if it were going to be for a multiple-start stretch.
  • This will first come up, at a minimum, on May 19 when the Cubs have a doubleheader in Cincinnati. They’ll get to call up a 26th man for the day, so that could be a AAA starter like Jen-Ho Tseng or Alec Mills or Duane Underwood or Michael Roth or Luke Farrell, or the Cubs could just bring up a reliever and let guys like Montgomery and Butler carry the day (perhaps a little Middie Butgomery piggyback action?!?!).
  • Eventually the Cubs will play a baseball game again …

  • Jose Quintana’s average fastball velocity was still down in his third start (his velo issues were discussed this weekend), but his max velo was at its highest point in that start, for what it’s worth. In any case, it’s so hard to know whether that’s a meaningful input or not, given that the conditions for his start on Saturday were among the worst I’ve ever seen – 28 degree wind chill, constant spray of rain and snow, strong winds. My eye is still on it, though.
  • Old friend Christian Villanueva continues to GO OFF for the Padres, homering in his third straight game, and now with six homers on the year is behind only Bryce Harper and Charlie Blackmon in MLB. Are there signs that his .333/.423/.822 is not sustainable? Sure. But for now, the former Cubs third base prospect is crushing the ball, and I say good for him. (For those wondering how the Cubs lost him: he was surpassed at third base by Kris Bryant in 2014-2015, and then had a down year in his first go at AAA in 2015. He came to Spring Training in 2016 with an outside shot at winning a bench job – he was out of options – but then broke his leg. So the Cubs did not carry him on the 25 or 40-man roster from there. What was supposed to be a couple months recovery turned into an entire year. That fall, he became a free agent, and elected to sign with a team where he saw a better shot at winning big league playing time, which he eventually got late last year. The 26-year-old got his shot after a lot recovery and he’s been running with it. Like I said: good for him. There’s no sense of “oh man, the Cubs missed out.”)
  • Bryce Harper, still a freak:

  • It appears that the fantastic @PitchingNinja account was suspended on Twitter last night, which is a tremendous bummer for those of us who enjoyed seeing his GIFs of individual pitches. The real challenge for getting an account like that back is that it was probably Twitter, itself, doing the suspending, and not necessarily MLB – because the copyright holders on all the individual broadcast clips are the broadcast networks, not MLB. So the process of getting them all to see that this is fair use is going to be a challenge. What’s probably necessary is for MLB to do the heavy lifting and get the account cleared, given that what @PitchingNinja does is clearly a huge service to the league without actually detracting any value from the broadcasts. It’s not like individual pitches in GIF form (often a day or more after the game airs) are harming the value of the broadcast product. Rather, they are marketing those very broadcasts.
  • Eventually, it will not be snowing, and you may want to go boating or fishing – tons of that gear is the Deal of the Day at Amazon today.
  • And MLB has released its Mother’s Day gear for sale:

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.