Five Things Every Cub Fan Needs To Know for July 9th, 2014
1. The Cubs were swept in a double header – I looked at game one as a probable loss. Travis Wood hasn’t been the same pitcher this year that he was last season. It’s a good thing I’m not running the team because I was ready to lock him up to a long term deal after the development last season. This year it’s just not been there. Throw in the fact that he had to face Johnny Cueto, one of the hottest starters in the game this season and you have the makings for the a loss. That’s not to say we didn’t have our chances in game one. When we fell down 3-0 early I thought it was over, but back to back home runs by Chris Coghlan and Ryan Sweeney in the 6th made it close. We had more chances from there that were wasted, including a bases loaded situation in the 7th with one out. We just couldn’t get the run in. It was frustrating to watch it happen again after we had chances the day before.
In game two, we saw the debut of Tsuyoshi Wada, who came over from Japan to sign a deal with the Orioles a few years ago, but never got a chance to pitch due to the need for Tommy John surgery. He’s not a young kid, so he’s not really a “prospect”, but then again you never know what he can bring to the table for the next few years and that’s all I look for in pitching. Wada threw the ball well enough to get a win, but the bullpen completely wet the bed. When Wada left the game after five, the Cubs had a 5-0 lead and things looked good. When all was said and done, every Cubs reliever that entered the game had been charged with an earned run, which I can’t remember happening any other time this season aside from when it’s been just one reliever entering, and the Cubs had coughed up the lead.
If we have to find positives, we saw continued hitting out of Coghlan. We saw Anthony Rizzo go deep for the 19th time this season and Mike Olt didn’t strike out every at bat, which means he hit a home run.
Kyle Hendricks gets the start today, making his big league debut and I can’t be more excited. The game is on WGN, which I’m thrilled about considering the fact that the MLB.tv package wet the bed last night and was basically unusable.
2. The Athletics Like Luis Valbuena – Ken Rosenthal reported in his column on Tuesday that the A’s were trying to get the Cubs to include Valbuena as part of the deal over the weekend. Theo and Jed balked at the idea, but Rosenthal speculates that perhaps a deal may happen still prior to the non-waiver deadline. I have done a complete 180 on Valbuena. I can vividly remember calling for him to be off the team just two seasons ago and now he’s blossomed into a very useful part of this team. He has good patience at the plate and generally plays a good third base. With the plethora of infield talent in the farm, if we can turn that into more pieces, I’m all about it. His value should be higher given that he’s inexpensive and still under club control on the cheap.
3. Who Needs a Shortstop? – The Washington Nationals are rumored to be in the market to acquire a young shortstop. The Mets also need a shortstop, though Keith Hernandez doesn’t think Starlin Castro is any good and doesn’t want him. What I think is important to point out to reassure those who worry about the “logjam” at the shortstop position. There is no such thing as too many shortstops. Just the rumors over the last two days about people’s interested in middle infield help should be enough to reassure that we’re going to be just fine with these guys.
4.The Red Sox are looking to deal Jake Peavy – Peter Gammons is reporting that Peavy has said he’s ready to go if Boston finds a deal. That doesn’t have a direct influence on the Cubs, but it makes me wonder if they would also want to deal Jon Lester before the deadline since they’ve had a hard time in negotiations with him. I believe they missed their opportunity to sign him and that he’s going to walk at the end of the year. I want him in this rotation next year so I wonder if Boston will look to deal him. Ideally, I’d rather him come here via free agency, so my hope is that Boston will not deal him and then he walks. We shall see. The Sox are looking more and more like sellers.
5. Minor Matters – Kyle Schwarber continues his assault on minor league pitching since being drafted in June. He went 3-f0r-5 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Since being drafted, Kyle has played in Boise and Kane County (Go see him now before you miss your chance if you’re in the Chicago area), and has posted a line of .436 / .511 / .872 with 8 HR and 23 RBI in 21 games. He’s a college hitter, so you’ll expect his bat to move quickly through the minors, but I didn’t expect him to come out this hot. I worry that his bat will far out pace his development at the catcher position and he’ll end up playing somewhere else. If we could develop him as a catcher it would be huge.
Bonus Thing To Know:
We’re giving away a copy of OOTP 15 – If you’ve never played the game, you need to. It’s a tremendous simulation baseball game and we’re giving away a copy of it at the end of the month to one lucky Twitter follower. Follow me on Twitter @vftb for a chance to win.