Author: Matthew Pouliot

Tom Ricketts

So, someone sent Cubs owner Tom Ricketts a goat’s head


As everyone knows, the Cubs have been plagued by the “Curse of the Billy Goat” since 1945. Well, that and a lot of bad management and not all that much incentive to win since fans keep packing Wrigley Field regardless.

But someone is taking this goat thing rather seriously, it seems. Dropped off at Gate K at Wrigley on Wednesday was a suspicious package addressed to owner Tom Ricketts, according to Inside was a goat’s head and nothing else. There was no note. Not a return address. Police were called to the scene and are investigating the matter. They might want to check if all of the rooftop owners have alibis.

This is the second straight year with a goat incident at Wrigley. Last year, someone strung up a severed goat’s head outside of the ballpark.

Barry Zito still unbeatable in 10-0 win over Rockies

Barry Zito Getty

Including last year’s postseason, the Giants are riding a streak of 16 straight victories with Barry Zito on the mound. The left-hander pitched seven scoreless innings and went 2-for-3 with two runs scored Wednesday in a 10-0 drubbing of the Rockies.

Zito posted a 1.69 ERA in his three postseason starts last year, and he’s yet to allow a run in 14 innings in 2013.

Perhaps no one but me is thinking of next year right now, but at the rate Zito is going, the Giants might actually pick up his $18 million option for 2014, a possibility that would have seemed preposterous at pretty much any point since the first year of his seven-year, $126 million contract.

The key there is the $7 million buyout attached to said option, meaning the Giants will essentially have to decide whether they think Zito will be worth $11 million in 2014. Or perhaps the decision will be made for him; the option vests automatically if Zito throws 200 innings this year. He hasn’t reached that mark since 2006, his last year with Oakland, but it probably goes hand-in-hand with the Giants’ decision anyway. If Zito throws 200 innings or very close to it, he’ll probably be someone the Giants will want around at $11 million for 2014.

Of course, that’s all a long way off. The Giants will just enjoy the ride for now, since there’s no telling whether it will last. If you remember, Zito started with a 1.67 ERA in four starts last April, then posted ERAs of 4.94, 4.54, 4.07 and 6.46 the following four months before rebounding in September. In 2010, Zito started 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA in April and then went 5-14 with a 4.72 ERA the rest of the way.

Jake Westbrook pitches first shutout since 2006

Jake Westbrook

Cardinals sinkerballer Jake Westbrook recorded just the second complete game of the 2013 season Wednesday in a 10-0 rout of the Reds. It was his fourth career shutout.

Westbrook pitched a five-hitter for his first shutout since 2006. He had two that year while pitching for the Indians: one against the Royals, the other against the Angels.

After giving up nine runs in the ninth and losing 13-4 on Monday, the Cardinals came back to win the next last games in the series against their NL Central rivals, outscoring the Reds 15-1 in the process. Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Matt Adams and Matt Carpenter all homered today.

There were eight days without a complete game in between Clayton Kershaw’s Opening Day shutout of the Giants and Westbrook’s shutout today, which is pretty extreme even in this day and age. There were 128 complete games in MLB last year, 13 of which came in April.

Second game in reconfigured Safeco features eight homers

Michael Morse

Yeah, but new walls or not, it’s hard to slow down offensive juggernauts like the Astros and Mariners possess.

In the second game in Safeco since the walls were brought in, those two teams combined for eight homers in a 16-9 Houston victory. Here’s the list:

Chris Carter x2
Jose Altuve
J.D. Martinez
Marwin Gonzalez

Jason Bay
Raul Ibanez
Michael Morse

All three of Seattle’s came after Erik Bedard departed and new callup Paul Clemens came on. Clemens had a 5.78 ERA and allowed 23 homers in 143 1/3 innings in the minors last year, so his getting tattooed shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The homers were the first for Bay and Ibanez this year. Morse is tied for the major league lead with six.

The Astros, on the other hand, had totaled two homers in seven games this season before going deep five times tonight. They homered three times off Kameron Loe, once off Charlie Furbush and once off Oliver Perez.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that it’s the third time there have been as many as eight homers hit in Safeco. There were nine hit there twice in 2004.