Cubs Call Up Lake and Other North Side Musings

Brian Schlitter has had a rough time in the majors since being called up on April 10th by the Chicago Cubs. The 21-year-old righty has been getting shelled over the past two weeks. He’s heading back to Triple-A Iowa with a 9.53 ERA in seven appearances. It was only meant to be a temporary fix while Justin Grimm is on the disabled list with right forearm inflammation, but Grimm isn’t ready yet and changes needed to made to a bullpen that has otherwise been very reliable.

As the Cubs already had another pitcher called up in the person of one Zac Rosscup and also purchased Gonzalez Germen‘s contract from Triple-A, another bat was a more likely need. Matt Szczur was the most likely candidate but he was optioned on the 19th, which is less than the 10-day minimum that players must stay in the minors before being recalled. Instead Junior Lake was called up.

Lake, 25, became a fan favorite last summer before cooling off in August. He batted .284 with six home runs and 16 RBI. A very fluid swing added to some substantial pop make the crowds love coming to see the “Lake Show.” He doesn’t have the same ceiling as say, Addison Russell, but he’s got plenty of talent. His speed coming off the bench for the Cubs should be a big help in late game/ pinch runner situations. He will, however, be starting in left field tonight (4/28) versus the Pirates.

Jason Hammel has been having a great 2015 thus far. His pitches are hitting their locations quite flawlessly, and he seems to have more determination than ever to succeed for this ball club. He’s touting a 3.55 ERA so far after four starts this season, but don’t let that fool you into diminishing his success thus fare. In 25 1/3 innings pitched, he’s tallied 23 strike outs and only one walk. Yes that’s right: one walk. His KD ratio is 23:1 which is impressive no matter how you look at it.

Young center field prospect Albert Almora is heading to the disabled list for the first time this season. It’s suspected that he may have a concussion or “whip-lash” after diving for a ball in the outfield in Tennessee on Monday. Having had a few concussions myself, I can tell you that not only are they far from fun, but one should take their time when coming back from it. I tried a little too fast once, and because of it, I took even longer to recover in the long run. Head injuries are nothing to fool with. Safety is always key. After all, it’s only a game.

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