Some random information heading into the regular season…
- Cubs.com’s Carrie Muskat tweeted that Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler will throw out the first pitch at the Milwaukee Brewers’ opening game on Friday. The reason this makes it into a blog dedicated to the Cubs? She is a lifelong Cubs’ fan. I can only hope she wears a Cubs’ jersey out to the mound.
- ESPN Chicago’s Doug Padilla wrote an article about Carlos Marmol heading into the regular season. Dale Sveum talked about Carlos Marmol’s pitch selection and grip improvements made over the course of Spring Training. He spoke about Marmol gripping the seams of the baseball more on his fastball and using that pitch to get ahead in counts or get back into counts. After ditching the awful cutter from last season, look for Marmol to be the fastball/ slider pitcher we’ve seen in the past. Carlos has not allowed a run in his last six outings before today.
- One of the most talked about names in trade rumors as the regular season approaches is Cubs’ CF Marlon Byrd. The potential exists that the Cubs would be willing to absorb some of the salary remaining on the last year of Byrd’s contract. Should Marlon actually be traded, at any point this year, that would all but guarantee Brett Jackson would be called up at some point this season. It probably would not be initially, because the Cubs did send him back to Iowa for a reason. At this point, I would guess Byrd remains with the team until closer to the July non-waiver deadline.
- Like most teams in baseball, the Cubs are looking for help in the bullpen. The only assured slots are going to closer Carlos Marmol, set-up man Kerry Wood, and lefty James Russell. Behind those three are unproven commodities, although it would be a shock if Rodrigo Lopez was not the long reliever going into the season after the spring he’s put together.
- The Cubs are 15-16 this spring. Even though the games do not count, they did not get off to a great start. Hopefully, some of the late spring momentum carries into the regular season, and the Cubs can get out of the gates better than they did last season. If they have any shot at contending, a lot needs to go right, and a fast start is one of them.
Opening Day is less than three days away. Let the real games begin!