Sometimes you just have to say it out loud, because that helps you get past it a bit: the combination of not being able to go work at a coffee shop for a few hours AND having the kids at home without any of their activities going on continues to make work extremely difficult. I’m just not nearly as focused or efficient, and four months into this thing, I’m not really sure how much better this particular challenge has gotten. To be sure, it’s a small slice of the big picture challenges we’re all dealing with, but I was feeling it particularly acutely this morning. (Still love you, kids!)
• Victor Caratini, a switch-hitter who works a great at bat, is going to get some consideration for DH duties when he’s not catching. David Ross, via Cubs.com: “He’s always been a very calm, controlled hitter. You can really rely on a quality AB when he gets in the box. So that’s great to have as a manager. As far as the DH is concerned, we have a ton of options and we’re going to continue to see how that develops and what that looks like. I definitely think you’ll see Vic in some capacity.”
• In a year interrupted by a hamate bone injury, Caratini hit .266/.348/.447 (108 wRC+). And in his 23 pinch-hit appearances, he hit .421/.522/.789.
• I like hearing this from Ross, and I totally agree with Matt Clapp’s conceptual take here, but my response to both of them would be that he’s a guy who has had just 272 PAs total since that 2017 season:
He's a huge wild card on this team (and his upside was why I wanted to target him). He hasn't been "healthy" since 2017, but was a 3.8 WAR player that year with 30 homers. So, if he can be *anything* at all like that guy, it's a big boost. https://t.co/gEjVP5zBb9
— Matt Clapp (@TheBlogfines) July 7, 2020
• Souza has not appeared in a big league game, against big league pitching, in 22 months. You put it that way, and it becomes very hard for me to see him getting his footing in a 60-game season. When he was going to have a full year with the Cubs to get back into the swing of things, I was really intrigued by what he might become. Now? I think you just have to be less optimistic.
• David Ross responded to Joe West’s comments that seemed not to take the threat of COVID-19 very seriously (NBC 5): “It’s natural and when you’re in this environment, you know that everybody is in a different boat mentally and so you try to set standards and follow the guidelines we’re given to make sure everybody is in check and doing the right thing. These are medical experts that are a lot smarter than I am that have set these things in place, and so we try to listen to those and keep it as safe as we possibly can …. His internal thoughts are what they are. Those don’t concern me as much as just the fact that he comes to work and is a professional and does his job to the ability that he can and under the guidelines that we’re gonna be provided.”
• That’s probably the right place for a manager to land: that guy can say and think whatever he wants, but what matters is that he follows the protocols and treats those seriously as a professional.
• On the testing issues that backed things up this past weekend, Jed Hoyer said that the Cubs do have some local testing options if it came to that, but they don’t want to deploy them, for good reason: “Almost everything is done through the lab in Utah. We do have some rapid turnaround tests that we can use when we need to. We try to deploy those judiciously. That said, we’d like to avoid (bypassing MLB’s) central location and having to use testing facilities in Chicago because that could be taking tests away from first responders or sick people in Chicago that may need those tests more than an asymptomatic athlete, right? So we do have some rapid tests, but we’d like to not have a situation where we have to take 80 to 100 tests away from people in Chicago that might need them.” (The Athletic)
• If you missed it last night, Anthony Rizzo was a scratch with a lower back issue, which is not necessarily something to freak out about with him, because it happens every year:
Rizzo wasn't in the intrasquad game tonight because his lower back was a little tight. They decided there was no reason to risk it. Rizzo's back usually keeps him down for short periods of time every season.
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) July 8, 2020
• You can get an Instant Pot for 20% off at Amazon today. #ad
• After the intrasquad last night, the Cubs ran the bases like the kiddos do:
‼️ ATTENTION KIDS ‼️
Pros do baserunning practice. Here’s your proof. Only one way to get better… LOVE to see this from the #Cubs.
Also, don’t @ me about the fake swings. pic.twitter.com/xhS2hFGdYq
— Michael Bolling (@mikealexbolling) July 8, 2020
• New Cubs reliever Jeremy Jeffress likes to dance:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 7, 2020
• People have been having fun with these questions, but Albert Almora just gave the best answer anyone will ever offer:
• There’s a world in which Almora doesn’t tag up from first on the Kris Bryant deep fly ball, Anthony Rizzo isn’t walked, and then the Ben Zobrist slapper is right to the third baseman – who is playing no doubles because of the runner at first – and it ends the inning.
• This feels like a fun idea to me if you could actually work out the logistics:
This is one of the no-brainers of all time… charge $5 each to 35,000 people to have all your voices simultaneously live-streamed into the stadium for each game. Fans can participate and you’ll get authentic reaction to action on the field. Win/Win. https://t.co/H1RlHP3EtY
— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) July 7, 2020