Jayson Stark’s column today deals with all of the schedule havoc wreaked by the bad weather early in the season. Stark talks with Katy Feeney, who handles the MLB schedule, and she explains why it’s so hard to optimize things given so many competing interests. Sorry, there do have to be games in Minnesota before Mother’s Day, folks. That’s just how it is.
Also how it is, however, and which seems to be the driver for so many of the logistical issues Stark and Feeney discuss, is the unbalanced schedule. Which goes unmentioned entirely, by the way, because it’s simply a non-starter to go back to the old balanced schedule among MLB decision makers.
Which, in turn, limits my sympathy for MLB decision makers when the weather takes a bad turn. You make it so teams visit the majority of their road opponents once and only once, you put yourself at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.