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March 2017

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COMMENTS

Morning News – I Thought Selig Got Rid of Ties

Written by , Posted in General

The Cubs are all of nine games into Spring Training, and three in-camp battles remain the juiciest (and really only) roster discussions on a loaded team looking for a repeat. The 9-9 tie with the Rangers on Sunday certainly showed everyone the potential of some of the players involved in these competitions.

In the center field platoon discussion between Jon Jay and Albert Almora, the latter showed some ability that is not a tool in Jay’s game … power. Jay likely will hit for contact, but the boom-or-bust that has surrounded Almora for years let out a big boom with a grand slam in the fifth inning. It’s the voltage in his bat that should vault him into more starts than Jay (and maybe Jason Heyward? Kidding …. but am I?)

But real talk for a second … if Heyward goes all 2016 on Cubs fans again, when does Eloy Jimenez enter the conversation at the MLB level? Defensively, he’d be a liability with a light arm, especially with Schwarber in left, but he is tearing the cover off the ball and at some point will be pushing someone in the next year or two at the big-league level.

Infielder Tommy La Stella went oppo-boppo with a home run to lead off the scoring against Nick Martinez and the Rangers. I am not a fan of La Stella and his refusal to be demoted for the good of the team last season, but I will admit that he’s a handy little glove man with more pop than Mickey Morandini and therein lies his value. While Matt Szczur has my heart, La Stella likely will take the last bench spot. His utility is just too handy on a team that is loaded with outfield depth.

In the bullpen battles, Koji Uehara and Justin Grimm looked good. Rule 5 pick Caleb Smith did not. I still think that the Cubs carry 13 pitchers on Opening Day with a bullpen featuring Wade Davis, Carl Edwards, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Uehara, Grimm, Brian Duensing and Brett Anderson.

Unnecessary Hypertension, Part I
Believe it or not, Cubs fans still need to be OK with Wade Davis as the new Cubs closer. Sure, he got 3 runs on 3 hits hung on him in one-third of an inning Sunday. On paper, the skeptics who had an off day from dissecting Heyward’s hitless (0-for-15) swing, received fuel from Davis’s off outing. There is good news in the ugly line for the 31-year-old righty … his velocity was up and on point. Good enough for me.

Unnecessary Hypertension, Part II
Lester also got touched up for 2 earned runs in his first outing of the spring, all of 2 innings pitched. The Cubs Opening Day starter gave up an RBI double to Will Middlebrooks (Spring Training HOF Class of 2018) and two more hits. It was the first time he wasn’t taking signs from David Ross, so he and Wilson Contreras should be on the same page come April 2 in St. Louis.

Catching On
Contreras remains my bet to break out for the Cubs in 2017. He hit a 2-run home run Sunday, and two of his three Spring Training hits are longballs. If his bat takes off along with his already strong defensive game, Miguel Montero better take Joe Maddon out to way more dinners if he wants regular playing time.

Former Cub ‘o the Day
Taking over in the third inning for Rangers starter Nick Martinez was LHP Wesley Wright, who had a mild 2014 with a 3.17 ERA in 58 games for the Cubs coming out of the pen. (Half a mention for Delino Deshields Jr., whose dad, Delino Deshields, played second base for the Cubs in 2001 and 2002.)

If You Want a Laugh
For those who are poking at Wade Davis for his performance Sunday, remember the Cardinals signed lefty Brett Cecil to a 4-year, $30.5 million contract this offseason. He gave up 6 earned runs on 4 hits Sunday without recording an out. Every fan base needs a hug at certain points in Spring Training.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    So Albert “Boom Boom” Almora is doing better then JJ’s “Dyn-O-Mite”, that is good to see.

    • Dork

      That is a dated reference way back from my childhood. I’m sad that I get it.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I just realized that Albert “Boom Boom Almora can be shortened to ABBA. He might want to consider using “Take A Chance On Me” as his walk up music.

  • cap’n realist

    might be time for a ‘guess the date Heyward finally gets a knock’ pool. Winner buys ridiculously expensive Irish Whiskey for Sherm and Raker in San Diego.

    • JTBarrett16

      And RumChata for Joe

      • Doc Raker

        No umbrella drinks in San Diego

      • JTBarrett16

        Soda for me. Can’t drink. Got to drive.

  • Doc Raker

    How about guess the date in which Heyward gets benched?

  • Doug S.

    Been able to watch a few games so far this spring. I may not understand hitting mechanics as most of you do, but to me Heyward’s swing doesn’t look much improved if any. Glad you folks are seeing positive signs.

    • Eddie Von White

      I’m not really reading that here.

      • cap’n realist

        Yeah…I’m not seeing it. The company line is that he worked hard all offseason to fix it, but he still looks unstable and unbalanced all the way through.

      • JTBarrett16

        A saw a tape, it didn’t look like much changed, and it now looks like a golf swing. FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!!!!!!!!!

  • Seymour Butts
      • JTBarrett16

        There’s not enough sodium laced meat in there

      • cap’n realist

        this made me spit out coffee Swan. Absolutely fantastic.

      • Doug S.

        I like how Seymour’s pinching the bottom to keep the ranch dressing from dripping.

      • Sherm

        I can’t believe they let him hold the sandwich

      • Seymour Butts

        Ok, I’m impressed. Does seem to be missing the veggies however.

      • Buddy

        Wow, Ryan Dempster hasn’t aged very well.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        But he certainly has his choice of substances to add to his pitches, if he chooses. My choice would be the mustard.

      • JTBarrett16

        Good to see I’m not the only one who sees the resemblance.

      • cap’n realist

        you should see Seymour flip his glove all over the place in his windup. Uncanny I tell you.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Does Lizzie give awards for video and pictures?

      • Pictures – Rarely.
        Videos – Never.

      • Doc Raker

        JSwan! Brilliant! Funny stuff. Rack that Lizzie Picture!

  • Karen Hirsh

    Can’t knock pitching yet. Too early. Heyward’s swing looks the same and I still like Szczur better than LaStella.

  • Dork

    is that what it will come down to? Either La Stella or Szczur? La stella is easier to spell, but it does eliminate the hail Szczur jokes.

    • cap’n realist

      Still a lot of opportunity with ‘heil Hitless’ jokes as long as Heyward is around. Zig Heil! NEIN!

      • JTBarrett16

        My brother and I used to play a game where we would try to get each other to say no, the first time we did it I got him by getting him to say nein (9). I asked him what 5+4 is and then told him that he said it in German.

      • Seymour Butts

        You should just say to him ” I often batch cook topless and look foolish.”
        He will reply “I know.” and there you have him.

      • JTBarrett16

        This was pre shirtless batch cooking

  • Jim Cogdal

    Breaking … Jason Heyward just homered. Jackpot.

  • Dork

    Take that all of you Jason Heyward haters. Probably quite harsh but still the 0-15 ends with a HR.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Even Duane Kuiper hit a homer the issue is can he repeat it.

      • Dork

        yes there is a lot of hope in the comment above.

      • Sherm

        Zobrist has no hits this preseason. Schwarber has one. How come that’s not news?

        Here’s my thinking about Heyward. I don’t care if he hits .230 with a .306 OBP and only 7 home runs and 49 RBI’s.

        What I mean is, I don’t care if he hits .230 with a .306 OBP and only 7 home runs and 49 RBI’s…as long as the team has the same result as they did last year with him doing exactly that.

      • Eddie Von White

        Because Zobrist and Schwarber did not go 0 for 590 last year.

      • JTBarrett16

        Exactly how I feel. And this time if Heyward goes 0 for 590, he better not be on the playoff roster. And if he’s struggling, and we have the Heyward Game 2017 version, I won’t be fooled like I was after the 2016 Heyward Game.

    • cap’n realist
      • JTBarrett16

        Love that video. NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN

    • Doug S.

      Yep, no blind squirrel comment from me, maybe his swing has improved.

      • JTBarrett16

        Watched the tape, it was still a golf swing. Maybe that’s the only change. Because he’s still clutching his arms to his chest like last year

    • Seymour Butts

      And a 2 run double in AB number 2. He’s added over a hundred points to his BA just today!

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Maybe there is hope.

      • JTBarrett16

        That’s what I said after the Heyward Game last year

  • JTBarrett16

    If Safety Sue is watching the World Baseball Classic, she would not be pleased. Our old friend Sam Fuld threw his bat, and the broadcasters said even though there is extended netting in the stadium, his bat still ended up in the crowd.