Since the complaint department is once again closed after the Cubs' 8-2 win over the Mets on an absolutely gorgeous afternoon at Wrigley Field, let's examine the statement I made in the headline to this post.
Scott Feldman was signed as almost an afterthought by the Cubs, to a one-year deal worth $6 million, with another $1 million possible to him in performance bonuses. A spot in the rotation was not guaranteed to him.
Edwin Jackson was signed to a four-year, $52 million deal, expected to be at least the Cubs' No. 2 starter for this year and perhaps when the team returns to contention.
Yet Feldman's the guy pitching like he's got multiyear security and Jackson is throwing like the guy plucked off the scrap heap. Baseball's mysterious this way, more often than not. Feldman, in fact, if he keeps pitching the way he has in his last five starts, could pitch his way onto the National League All-Star team. His 2.19 ERA following yet another good outing Saturday afternoon now ranks seventh in the National League -- just behind his teammate Travis Wood, who could also rate All-Star consideration.
Feldman didn't have his best stuff on this day and struggled a bit through the first two innings, although those innings were extended by some atrocious defense by Starlin Castro. Castro was charged with an error for booting a ball in the second inning, and should have been charged with one in the first when he did everything but kick the ball into the seats; that one was ruled a hit for Daniel Murphy. Yet Feldman worked his way out of both jams and then settled down, allowing just five more singles, one of them a bunt by Rick Ankiel down the third-base line after the Cubs shifted toward the right side of the infield on him. James Russell got the Cubs out of that inning.
Meanwhile, the offense put together a really nice long-sequence inning in the fourth, scoring four runs; the biggest blow was a double by... Feldman, who now leads all major-league pitchers in RBI this year with four. (No, I haven't changed my mind about the DH. Still, that was a nice piece of hitting by Feldman.) The Cubs' three doubles Saturday afternoon gave them an even 100 for the season, in 42 games, an average of 2.38 per game. That puts them on pace for 385 doubles this year, which would annihilate the team record (340) and also break the major-league record (378). It's early, but something to watch.
Anthony Rizzo homered in the fifth (his 10th of the season) and Nate Schierholtz also homered in a three-run eighth that put the game away. For Rizzo, he now has a streak of 38 consecutive at-bats without a strikeout, most impressive, and moved his OPS up to .890 (.282/.350/.540). He, too, could get All-Star consideration.
The team just looked really, really good on a perfect weather afternoon. I could get used to more of this. So could you, I'm sure. Hector Rondon allowed a two-run homer to Ankiel in the ninth inning, ruining the shutout, but that was the only negative thing about the day, apart from Castro's sketchy defense, which turned out not to matter.
If you were watching the game, you surely noticed an entire section in the left-field bleachers filled up with orange shirts. This was a group of 500 Mets fans who traveled from New York for this game (the shirts read "Wrigley Roadtrip"), in connection with a New York-based clothing line, The 7 Line. They'll be back Sunday as well. I give them credit for organizing such a big trip, and they were pleasant enough to be around, for Mets fans.
The other big news of the day was the announcement that Matt Garza will rejoin the Cubs' rotation in Pittsburgh Tuesday:
Garza to start Tuesday for #Cubs. Villanueva to pen— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) May 18, 2013
There hasn't yet been an announcement on who will be removed from the pen (and roster) to make room for Garza. I'd have to believe it'll be between Shawn Camp (possible DFA), Michael Bowden (who could be outrighted, though he has the right to refuse that assignment since he's been outrighted before) and Rondon, who might hit the DL with what I call "Rule 5 Disease". Or perhaps a deal could be in the works.
The Cubs have a shot at yet another series win in Sunday's game, where Travis Wood will face Dillon Gee. I have to like the Cubs' chances.