The man who will start the season as the Chicago Cubs’ fifth starter pitched yesterday. Carlos Villanueva wasn’t sharp, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.But Carlos’ mama said there would be days like this, there would be days like this his mama said.
“The good thing about today is that I know from experience that I’m going to have days like today,” Villanueva said. “To be honest, I felt I had nothing.”
There wasn’t anything wrong physically. His three previous outings had been fairly quick so it felt good to get his work in.
“Games like this I think are necessary, especially in spring,” he said. “You can’t really plan them out.”
I’m glad to know that he’s just going to have some really terrible games. One thing we don’t have to worry about from Carlos is him being all chummy with his former Brewers teammates. He seems adamant about the old-school “no fraternizing with the enemy” rule. His next start will be Friday against the Brewers, and he’s already expecting the worst.
“When it’s time for business, I’m all business,” the right-hander said. “I’m sure they’ll try to mess with me somehow.”
“I don’t want to see you or talk to you before the game because if I have to put one in your neck — hopefully it doesn’t come to that — but I won’t feel as comfortable doing it,” Villanueva said. “Outside of the stadium, we can chat all you want. In here, sorry.
“If you’re a pitcher, we’ll be best buds,” he said. “You won’t be facing me. If you’re a hitter, I don’t care where you’re from. It’ll be all business in here. I have to explain it a little bit to some of the guys.”
The Brewers know that about Villanueva but he also anticipates some razzing.
“It’s just the way I am,” he said. “I believe in the rule about no camaraderie before the game. I’m all for enforcing that rule 1 million percent. We’re competing out there. Don’t go behind second base and chat away. We’re going to compete. That’s how I see it.”
Amy chance he’ll put one in Ryan Braun’s neck, just for the hell of it?
The man who should supplant Villanueva from the rotation made his first start of the spring on Sunday. Scott Baker pitched in a live game for the first time in a year and a half, and looked about as good as Carlos Villanueva. He gave up three runs on three hits and walked two in one inning of work.
“Results are one thing, but getting back out there and pitching in front of fans is something I hadn’t done yet,” Baker said after throwing just a third of an inning against the Oakland Athletics. “It was exciting to do that today.”
“Occasionally I got a little jumpy and left the ball up a little bit,” he said. “Fell behind some guys and when I had a chance to make a good two-strike pitch I just didn’t make it. Surgery or no surgery, those are things you have to do to be successful.”
He’s still counting on being ready in a month.
“The results weren’t there, but physically I did everything I could to prepare for this outing,” Baker stated. “That’s going to continue to be the case. As long as I continue to progress and build the pitch count up, we’re still shooting for that mid-April time frame.”
No weird Matt Garza-esque lat injuries, Mr. Baker.
Should you be so inclined, Julie has set up an NCAA tournament bracket challenge over at ESPN. Good luck winning, as Julie and I will both pick IU to win it all and they will, so we’ll likely be the top two.