When I featured a story about John Lackey and Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio alluding to Eric Thames’ possible PED usage, I had thought at the time it was a non-issue. But according to a report from ESPN’s Buster Olney, “Cubs officials were infuriated” by Bosio’s comments
Well, the bottom line is [Thames] has hit the ball and we gotta figure out a way to get around [it]. All that other stuff, I’ll let other people worry about. But he’s doing stuff that I haven’t seen done for a long time.
You start thinking about Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez when he went to the Dodgers, Barry Bonds … You’re talking about some of the greatest players to ever play this game. So, yeah, it’s probably a ‘head-scratcher’ because nobody knows who this guy is. And when he was here before, his body has changed. But, like I said, I’ll leave that to everyone else and we’re just gonna try to worry about how to pitch him better and get him out.
I stand by what I wrote earlier, which is that this seems to be much ado about nothing and that Bosio’s comments, while perhaps poorly worded, really aren’t that bad. However, we’re talking about an organization led by men who are very measured when it comes to their public discourse. Then you’ve got the angles of the allegations leveled at Jake Arrieta a couple years back, not to mention the fact that this kerfuffle involves a division rival.
“It’s just the wrong thing to do,” Olney quotes one Cubs staffer as saying.
While “infuriated” might not be the best descriptor for how Cubs execs felt, I think disappointed and perplexed fit the bill quite nicely. Boz is a pretty straight shooter and isn’t quite as refined as the front office types, so that factors in. But he’s also been around long enough to know better.
And if you’re wondering why this is just coming back around now, it’s probably because Thames has been “randomly” selected for PED tests three times in less than two weeks. You don’t want to be antagonizing your neighbors and making these things a bigger deal than they already are, particularly when teams are looking for whatever they can find to get an advantage.
That’s not to insinuate that the Cubs are doing anything wrong or that the Brewers would try to sic Rob Manfred’s dogs on them, mind you. It’s really more about being courteous and not reaching out to the homeowner’s association just because the guy next door used the wrong shade of red to trim out his tool shed out back. You never know when you might want him to look the other way on a similar indiscretion of yours.
Plus, it’s just a bad look to be out there publicly accusing someone, however oblique the reference may have been. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but I’m not running the organization and am not possessed of the same criteria for judgment as those in charge.
Bosio has been away from the team since last Monday in order to address a personal matter, though he’s expected to rejoin the Cubs when they return to Wrigley to face the Phillies. Was his absence legit or more of an exile of sorts? Maybe a bit of both? It seems a little odd to wait a few days and then “suspend” him, but perhaps there was some kind of gentlemen’s agreement worked out behind closed doors.
Is Kris Bryant hitting home runs a bad thing?
The Cubs have lost every game in which Bryant has hit a home run this season, which really makes you wonder whether he’s better off just sticking to singles and doubles. Except, you know, not at all. It is a little strange that things have worked out that way, whether it was his two-homer game against Pittsburgh or the mammoth shots he launch in Boston.
But c’mon, of course hitting homers isn’t a bad thing. It’s something this kid needs to keep doing lots and lots more of. Speaking of, that bomb on Sunday Night Baseball was No. 69 of Bryant’s career, which is nice. Let’s see what his old man thought of the hit.
Bullpen sinks Cubs in rubbah game
Because of course a poor performance from the bullpen would come the evening after I wrote about how good the unit had been. And then, just to further thumb our noses at the baseball gods, we put this graphic out there Sunday afternoon. And yes, we do believe our karmic influence is such that it impacted the game.
But I thought the bullpen would hold them back. pic.twitter.com/LwTXb4d8xU
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) April 30, 2017
In truth, this is less about our ability to influence performance as is Koji Uehara’s inability to get his slider and splitter down in the zone when pitching on no rest. Consider that the 42-year-old has twice pitched on back-to-back days this season. And he has twice allowed runs in 12 appearances this season, giving up three runs (two earned) on each occasion. Wouldn’t you know it, those appearances coincide.
Back on April 16, Uehara came on in the 8th inning of a game the Cubs led 1-0 and he proceeded to go walk, double, walk, single. Both hits came on splitters that stayed up in the zone. Last night in Boston, the reliever once again had trouble keeping his pitches down, allowing three straight singles to load the bases with no outs. To be fair, it looked as though he might have beaten Marco Hernandez to the bag on the first one.
Pedro Strop came on in relief and was able to induce ground balls, but the combination of the loaded bases and a poor throw, not-great scoop from Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo sealed the deal. It was a hiccup for a pen that has been light’s out over the last couple weeks, and it might also be a teaching moment. Unless you believe Uehara’s struggles are just coincidence brought on by the minuscule sample.
That’s possible, but it was pretty clear that his stuff wasn’t at all sharp Sunday night. His usage going forward will be something to keep an eye on.
CI’s ESPN (sort of) shout-out
Try not to marvel at the exceptional quality of my phone recording skills.
The video in question here, that of the “juxtaposition,” is probably this:
Breaking: Manny Ramirez back with Cubs…as Albert Almora. pic.twitter.com/9iFy1tysB1
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) April 1, 2017
Looks like the Manny mojo from that trip inside the scoreboard paid off. pic.twitter.com/Pj9vCT7epF
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) April 29, 2017
More news and notes
- The Cubs wanted to take Andrew Benintendi ninth in the 2015 draft, but Boston grabbed him two picks earlier
- Man, that would have been an interesting situation
- The Cubs “settled” for Ian Happ
- The Mariners’ Boog Powell made his MLB debut, but was pinch hit for as a pinch hitter
- Ryan Braun exited Sunday’s game with “wear and tear” on his right arm
- Noah Syndergaard exited game with possible lat strain after first refusing MRI
- This comes after Matt Harvey was “not physically prepared” for start following weight routine
- What the hell’s going on in New York?
- In news that should come as a surprise to no one, the pending Marlins sale is still shrouded in mystery