Friday tidbits

Another busy day. Aren’t they all at Wrigley?

Here are the tidbits:

* Albert Pujols clarified things regarding the Home Run Derby today. He said he was mostly caught off-guard by the announcement and the questions about it yesterday, but that he’d like to participate. And if he’s on the All-Star team and healthy, he fully expects to participate.

* More Pujols: that ball that hit him on the left arm got him pretty well, and he was still in some pain after the game. It was above the elbow, and he had a noticeable welt. He said he hopes to play tomorrow, but couldn’t guarantee it; he didn’t do his normal lifting after the game because of the discomfort.

* TLR on the choice to send Kinney out in order to make room for Walters: “It was a close call, because we feel Josh is an important part of this ‘pen. But he hasn’t gotten his delivery where it needs to be. And it’s tough to get better when you’re pitching pressure innings, so this is an opportunity for him to get work.”

* Also per TLR, Khalil Greene and Rick Ankiel showed signs of progress yesterday, which is exactly why they weren’t in the lineup today. He didn’t want to send them out there against Zambrano and set them back after they were starting to come around. Witness Ank’s double off Heilman as another sign he is in fact getting right.

* They’ll probably just roll the starters over after the off day, with Pineiro on Tuesday and Wainwright on Wednesday. No word on whether Walters will get another start, for a turn that would come on Thursday at home against the Mets.

* TLR on the Cubs’ comments postgame yesterday: “Normally you don’t get away with criticizing umpires like that.” Of course he also thought the 3-2 to Bradley was a strike.

Today, a different kind of Chicago playlist:
Smashing Pumpkins, “Drown”
Wilco, “Via Chicago”
Liz Phair, “Strange Loop”
Material Issue, “Goin’ Through Your Purse”
OK Go, “Get Over It”
Ministry, “N.W.O.”



Didn’t realize Kinney was having problems. He had such a good spring training stint, etc, so we wish him the best and hope he gets squared away very soon. I was a big supporter of Freese, but fear he has not been hitting well enough to stay on the team. Would Tyler Greene be a possible replacement or is Greene not versatile enough to be a utility in fielder for the Cards? Barden is a pleasant surprise, hope he continues his solid hitting.

He’d have to say it, of course, but after looking at the clip of the Bradley pitch and assuming that TLR did the same, I wonder if he REALLY thought it was a strike. It was a gorgeous pitch, but clearly off the plate.
Maybe I’m just getting older and more cynical, but it seems like every year, the home-plate umpiring gets worse. There were some really bizarre balls and strikes calls yesterday. And I don’t see why the Cubs were whining: although the home-plate ump was an equal-opportunity screwup, in practice the bad calls seemed to hurt the visitors more than the home team. This really needs to be fixed.

Nice call on the Chicago Playlist even though Wilco is cheating a little being that they are from Bellville. I miss more Uncle Tupelo than anything else.

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