Suzuki’s Scratch, the Double-Play Combo, Supportive Org, Clock Talk, and Other Cubs Bullets
Proud papa today. The Little Girl was in a musical, the performances of which were Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They were awesome. She was awesome. It made me so happy.
- The new rules stuff (and an attendance record) all seemed fine enough to me in the first Cubs spring game. The big news yesterday was actually something that happened before the game: Seiya Suzuki was scratched with left oblique tightness. I did not see an update after the game – only that there were evaluations to take place – so I’m kinda on edge about that until we hear more.
- An actual oblique strain would not only cost Suzuki significant time (the range is enormous on obliques), but it would blow up his whole spring – a spring that was carefully structured to allow him to play in the WBC and also ramp up to his sophomore season in the big leagues. You don’t need me to tell you how important Suzuki’s bat is to the Cubs this year, so anything that threatens to take him off course sends me spiraling a bit, irrationally or not. So, please let the end result of this be that he felt the tiniest of things, and it’s literally February, so he sat. If I hear the letters M, R, and I, then I will be all the more concerned.
- Update as I publish, this is GREAT:
- You don’t get imagine done unless it feels like something is lingering when you wake up the next day. I am definitely bracing myself for a strain. This sucks man.
- Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner immediately got together on a smooth double-play yesterday, though Swanson says there’s still more work to be done. “After [the first couple weeks], you really start building that strong chemistry to where things really, really flow. Kind of to the naked eye it looks great, but I think we both believe that there’s still some things that we can kind of hone in on and hopefully improve upon.” It did indeed look great to the naked eye, but if they want to get better and better, that’d be fine with me, too.
- A terrible situation, but you do appreciate seeing the team support, via the Chicago Tribune:
Team personnel wore gray T-shirts emblazoned with “Mighty Maeve Fight Club” in honor of Cubs pro scout Alex McClure’s 1-year-old daughter, Maeve. She died about one month ago after a battle with holoprosencephaly, a fatal brain disorder. McClure, his wife and their two daughters spent time around the team Saturday. When McClure worked as a regional scout for the organization, he was responsible for the Cubs drafting and signing pitchers Ethan Roberts and Keegan Thompson.
“We’re all family here, this whole organization, and when a family member loses someone close to them, the emails have been out for weeks trying to support Alex and his family and the things they’ve been going through,” Ross said. “To show them a little bit of love and support, trying to help any way we can and show them how much they’re a part of the family.”
- I don’t know if it’s just a “for now” thing, but Meghan Montemurro reports that MLB officials said they are not permitted to confirm the number of pitch clock violations from a given game (I noticed that it wasn’t in the box score). I saw two violations for sure while I was watching, but there may have been more.
- Buttoning up one question I had about yesterday’s already-infamous game-ending pitch clock violation call:
- I think we’re probably going to see some catchers try to trick batters with this. The catcher seems unready and waiting, but is in the box by nine seconds, so the batter thinks he has more time, and then boom, violation. Here’s hoping batters just get used to it and the “trick” never works, or MLB changes the rule regarding catchers slightly. For as much as I *am* pro-pitch clock, I don’t think I’m pro-gamesmanship USING the pitch clock, whatever that might look like. You know teams will try to find ways to game things a bit.
- And on pitch clock visuals, this is what I suspected:
- Marcus Stroman is almost TOO good at this, because I had to watch everyone else to make sure they were actually moving at normal speed:
- Stroman’s line about the “sanker gonna be sankin'” this season with the middle infield studs behind him was a quip, but it’s also true – the sinker has always been a huge pitch for Stroman, even in an era where pitchers have moved away from it. Great read on Stroman’s sinker here at the Sun-Times.
- This was fun to watch:
- Also fun:
- This is gold:
- Well that seals it, I’m signing with the Cubs now: