Cubs Corner would be remiss not to mention the fantastic spring start that the 2021 Chicago Cubs have enjoyed. Now 4-2-1 in exhibition games, the team looks a lot more impressive than most had imagined. I know, it’s just Spring Training, but it’s still nice to see those W flags flying.
The Cubbies did, however, suffer a 5-4 loss to Arizona yesterday.
Chicago will host the Rangers this afternoon, with coverage beginning at 2:05 PM Eastern from Sloan Park in Mesa.
Cubs Corner: Strop Sidelined for Violating COVID-19 Protocols
Of all the boneheaded moves a player could make in Spring Training – especially a player vying for a roster spot – Pedro Strop has been ordered to leave camp for violating the league’s COVID-19 safety protocols. While it is unclear what his fate may inevitably be (he is on a MiLB contract with an invite to camp), at the bare minimum he must now quarantine for at least seven days.
As a veteran reliever and one who was ecstatic that the Cubs gave him another chance to come back to “his house”, Strop should have absolutely known better. If memory serves me correctly, the Cubs were the only team in 2020 who suffered no temporary player losses due to COVID or protocol violations.
Chicago’s bullpen could have used a rejuvenated Strop this season, but with his performances over the last few seasons, Strop was going to need every inning possible to prove himself worthy of a roster spot. To date, he’s not pitched in any Spring Training games, so this stunt of his will only serve to further complicate his chances of making the team.
Cubs Corner: Cubs Alzolay Not Ready
I debate this with readers and Cubs fans all the time, but I’ll say it again: Adbert Alzolay is not ready to assume a role in the starting rotation, nor is he ready for a full-time Major League assignment. Yes, you can argue with me about this being Spring Training, and I have taken that into consideration, but this…
For those who may not know, “rolled” in this year’s Spring Training terms means that the Cubs failed to get three outs and called the inning after Alzolay bombed. Yes, crazy, but they can do that this season. If a pitcher reaches 20 pitches in an inning, a team can choose to end the inning with less than three outs. I have seen a pair of Cubs games this spring where the Cubs offense was doing well and the opposing team rolled the inning with two outs.
Even worse than the multiple pitches and hits, the D-Backs weren’t just hitting the ball, they were crushing it.
I get it, rolling the inning saves a team from burning through a ton of pitchers in one game, but this rule is just crazy. The last time I saw this in a Cubs game (I have missed the last couple of games), the Cubs had men on the corners, two away, and had already plated a few runs that inning. Great that they don’t want to burn through bullpens, but what about teams (not unlike the Cubs) who need to work on offense?
To make matters even worse, in order to keep scorekeeping accurate, if Anthony Rizzo (or whomever) was due to bat when an inning is called, Rizzo’s at-bat gets scored as a groundout to first, even though he never saw a pitch. This inevitably causes the batter to lose an at-bat, though I am unclear if it gets logged in the stats as having made an out, plate appearance, etcetera.
Cubs Corner: Darvish Brushing Up on His Humor
If there’s one thing besides Yu Darvish‘s pitching that Cubs fans loved, it was Darvish’s flair for being humorous and witty, while being one of the Twittershepere’s favorite trolls. Remember that time he told some guy trolling him on Twitter to eat fried chicken until he died, then had shirts made with that quip? There was also the Darvish/Christian Yelich Twitter battle after Darvish suggested sort of tongue-in-cheek that Yelich may have been stealing signs.
Well, he’s at it again, this time clowning with the media in San Diego. Darvish said that he was asked to give some advice to young pitchers and described them this way…
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main image credit Embed from Getty Images