- Does Jon Lester’s 2 2/3 inning on Saturday worry you about an injury or lack of self-confidence?
I’m not really worried about Lester being Lester, albeit sluggish at times. Looking back at last season, Lester struggled with ups and downs in the season. He seems a bit frustrated, but a few cold games for the Cubs offense doesn’t help. I think he’ll refocus before his next start I don’t foresee it being a lingering issue. This team needs this stretch to solidify themselves come August.
- Do you think Jorge Soler finally gets “the message”?
FINALLY, the day we’ve all been waiting for. I would say yes; it seems like Soler Power is at full power as we approach June. Soler looks more confident all around, and it’s the right time. Injury wise, missing Schwarber hasn’t been as evident, but it’s nice having Soler step up more than ever, especially with Jason Heyward struggling with bumps and bruises from doing the incredible on a nightly basis.
- Are you worried about the struggling offense and would you call it a slump?
I’m not exactly worried, as even Joe himself said this team would have stretches like this. It’s important. Think about teams with recent dominant success in the regular season, the Capitals in the NHL for example. They dominated regular season play, winning the Presidents Trophy, and they’re golfing after a second round exit. The Cubs need these cold stretches to figure out what works best and what doesn’t. It’ll heat up sooner rather than later.
- Do you think Addison Russell is emerging as one of the best shortstops in baseball?
I really do. God I love Addison Russell. Can we give Theo an extra hundred million? I mean think of that trade, and all the fans that were freaking out about throwing away pitching. Russell has sharpened his game, and during spring training I said he looked more comfortable than ever, and not only defensively but offensively. That was never more evident than in the home opener back in April against Cincinnati. Man, that game winning jack gave him a status he hasn’t experienced yet. He’ll continue to grow; I don’t think he’s anywhere near his full potential yet.
- Joe Maddon is so unpredictable that you never know what he might do. We’ve seen him switch around the lineup and sometimes keep it the same. Tell us your most perfect lineup and why it’s perfect in your opinion.
I think Joe being Joe is what makes the Cubs so special. The unpredictability not only keeps things from getting stale, but it makes it harder to pitch against. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad lineup yet. If I had to go with my perfect lineup, I’d go this route: Zobrist, Soler, Rizzo, Bryant, LaStella, Heyward, Montero, Russell and Arrieta. I guess I have to throw a pitcher in there? I’d think #JakeCanRake would make it set. Zobrist is just so phenomenal at the dish of late, and with the surge from Soler it’s nice having Bryzzo behind him. LaStella has been so solid this season, and though I love Baez, I want that consistency more than anything. Heyward’s offense is coming, and having him with the potential of RISP is the best option. Montero and Russell round out that area, with Russell being just as solid as Zobrist, good having them front and back. Is that the perfect lineup? Maybe not, but it’s the one I like most. It’s fun seeing Joe play around a bit though.