Rotation battle news
Chris Volstad followed up Jeff Samardzija's strong outing with three solid innings of his own yesterday. Volstad struck out three, walked none, and allowed one hit. Spring training stats don't mean much (especially just three innings for each guy), but as far as we can tell things are very up in the air for the last two rotation spots, and Sveum seems very impressed with Shark. Carrie Muskat pointed out in yesterday's mailbag that Randy Wells still has one option left. I still like Wells much more than the rest of the options. I think he was rushed back from his injury way too soon (and who wouldn't do it with Doug Davis and Ramon Ortiz getting starts?) and it took him quite a while to get his feet under him.
Kerry Wood followed him up with a scoreless inning, but not so much for Carlos Marmol in the fifth. Marmol recorded two strikeouts in between hitting a batter, giving up three line drives, and watching a Dustin Ackley home run. He was pulled before the end of the inning. Sveum mentioned after the game that Marmol was just focusing on locating his fastball yesterday, and would have spun much more sliders if it was a for-real game.
Soriano homered in his first at-bat, prompting cries of watchering from Hobbitton. As Josh pointed out, it would have been a 2-R homer if he hustled out of the box.
Single game tickets on sale today
Get them while they're lukewarm!
Season preview from Brewers fans perspective
Brewers blog Disciples of Uecker did a preview of the 2012 Cubs. They're not too worried about the Cubs this year, but having Thoyer come in is certainly making other NL central fans nervous for the long run,
Ted Lilly trade ephemera
Kyle Smit, who was part of the package the Cubs recieved for Ted Lilly and taking Dance Fever, was released yesterday. Smit showed a little promise in A-ball but struggled when moved up the ladder last year. Even if the stars had aligned for him it looked like he would have been a replacement level relief pitcher.
Tweet I recently enjoyed
Pat Robertson comes out in favor of legalizing pot on the same day Taco Bell releases a Doritos shell taco? Kudos to marijuana's PR firm.
— Tim Siedell (@badbanana) March 8, 2012
Confidential to person who found OV with the search engine phrase "does Anthony Rizzo have what it takes to be a great major league pitcher"
An actual baseball-related tangent in the comments yesterday on broadcasters and statistics
There was lots of discussion yesterday about how much (and what flavor of) statistics we like the broadcast team to include during a game, stemming from comments about Len Kasper. I don't really mind when Len brings up fangraphs. I know he mention BABIP at least once, but from what I remember most of the relatively rare mentions he makes about fangraphs are usually about the pfx data they have on their pitcher pages. I don't think it's that awkward, nor is he a particular evangelist. It's not like Len trotting out the HOF WAR arguments threads that have been beaten to death over the years, or even particularly advocating for fangraphs stats he mentioned. I'm fine with a program showing a slash line, or even just putting up as OPS as many outlets do. It's not *that* far off, value-wise, from wOBA, and it's much easier to grasp for the casual fan who doesn't care about non-integer weights. The actual calculation of, say, SLG looks ugly because of all the terms but they're all integers and it's easy to translate in your head (total bases per AB).
Is there Wrigley Talk Friday today?
Indeed. Will Carroll will be a special guest.
Is there a Cubs game today?
Ideed. They play the White Sox at 2 PM today. It's even televised……by Hawk and Former Playgirl Model Steve Stone. Len Kasper and the AA Tennessee Smokies announcer, who makes Keith Moreland look good by comparison, also have the call on gameday audio.
The Cubs posted today's lineup yesterday. Kevin Millar would approve.
Travis Wood pitching
Is Bruce Weber the coach of the Illini?
No. At least Illinois fans are inured to late season collapses at this point.
Bunt tournament news
Five players remain. Casey Coleman, Paul Maholm, and Welington Castillo have already reached the Final Four, Either Starlin Castro or David DeJesus will join them. No word yet on whether the Cubs organization will investigate a possible point-shaving scheme involving Tony Campana.