It’s Baez-mania at Wrigley Field today

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Coming off his debut series against the Rockies in which he hit three homers, Javier Baez makes his home debut for the Cubs today against the Rays at Wrigley Field.

Over at CSNChicago.com, Patrick Mooney details how, in the space of just a few days, the Baez-hype has grown. Grown so much that Cubs brass is actively trying to downplay it some, reminding people of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Fun times.

Of course, Theo Epstein is probably getting pretty excited himself. Here he is behind the screen during BP today, watching Baez hit one out:

Baez won’t always be facing mediocre pitchers in Denver. But for now people in Chicago are pretty darn excited.

Alex Wood to try pitching out of the stretch

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Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports that Dodgers starter Alex Wood plans to pitch out of the stretch throughout the 2018 season. Wood got the idea when he watched Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg pitch against the Dodgers.

Wood, 27, finished last season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and a 151/38 K/BB ratio in 152 1/3 innings. That’s a mighty fine season, one in which many pitchers would not dare to mess with something that isn’t broken.

Interestingly, Wood indeed has had better results with runners on base — when he would pitch out of the stretch — as opposed to the bases being empty, with a respective OPS allowed of .523 versus .684, respectively. Over his career, he has allowed a .617 OPS with runners on and .706 with the bases empty.

In response to Moura’s tweet about Wood, retired pitchers Dan Haren and Jered Weaver took the opportunity to burn themselves. Haren tweeted, “I pitched a few seasons completely out of the stretch actually, just not by choice.” Weaver responded, “Sometimes I would just step off and throw the ball in the gap myself because I knew the hitter would do it anyways.”