Steele’s Performance and Finger, Darvish Sentiment, META, and Other Cubs Bullets

You may have noticed we had a site problem yesterday – the most visible component of which would’ve been the lack of a navigation bar at the top of the page. Basically our menu system went poof, and I had to scramble to get a replacement option in place as quickly and usefully as I could. It’s unfortunate, but it was result of conflicts between the required updates for the site software and the menu software. I had a very bad day.

See the Meta at the bottom of this post for more details on the site situation. My brain is definitely a mess right now (and no sleep), so let me do the best I can with these Bullets …

  • Justin Steele had a great night overall against the Padres, going seven strong with just one run allowed, and efficient as heck. He’s been pretty fantastic since the start of May, except for that one stinker in Cincinnati. It’s been impressive how sometimes he seems to go into contact-manager mode (with success), and sometimes he goes into strike-’em-all-out mode (with success). What’s all the more incredible is that he did what he did last night even after the attempted barehanded play in the first inning, which left him with a finger issue:

  • That play created some discomfort for Steele throughout the night (he also had an unrelated blister on that same index finger), and was the primary reason he got pulled as early as he did (just 77 pitches through 7 innings): “Tonight was an easy [decision],” David Ross said, per Cubs.com. “The velocity continued to drop. I started to get worried about how much pressure he was taking off his finger. I’m not taking him out — the way he’s pitching at 77 pitches [if it wasn’t for the finger].”
  • Steele described the pain as “manageable” during the game, as he could feel it when he gripped down on the ball. He, like everyone, is waiting to see how it feels today, but said, “As far as I’m concerned, I’m fine.” We’ll see. You’d hate to have a disruption in the rhythms Steele is establishing this year as a starting pitcher.
  • There was a moment over the weekend when Steele was, quite literally, the only healthy member of the expected Opening Day rotation. Wade Miley (shoulder), Drew Smyly (oblique), and Marcus Stroman (shoulder) are all on the IL, and as of this weekend, Kyle Hendricks was being held back because of unspecified issues (he hasn’t pitched in two weeks). Thankfully Hendricks returns tonight, but if Steele does have to miss time, it’ll kinda be like all five expected starting pitchers were out at the same time, at least for 12 hours or whatever. Just ridiculous.
  • Speaking of troubled rotations, since we’re on the topic … It’s not entirely clear what’s going on with Eduardo Rodriguez, but he is now away from the Tigers, whose rotation has more or less been completely eviscerated this year:
  • In not-so-troubled rotation news, Yu Darvish was awesome last night against the Cubs, as he often is (well, and as many starting pitchers are against the Cubs this year). A Yan Gomes solo homer was the only damage, and Darvish managed to get through eight innings.
  • Darvish also just kept on warming up out on the field while the tornado sirens were going off (hope everyone is safe and OK the day after), about which he got sentimental, which makes me also feel some things:
  • It was true last year and it’s still true this year: Yu Darvish, alone, is not the difference between this Cubs team (or last year’s) being competitive and not. In hindsight, the trade was probably a good move. But anyone who wants to let those disappointed/hurt/angry feelings bubble back up for a minute in a game like last night’s, well, you won’t get any pushback from me.

META: I remember the last time I had to do a complete site overhaul – been about five or six years now at this point – and it felt a whole lot like things feel now. A web site is the interrelationship between a crapload of pieces of web software, server software, database software, third party services, browsers, devices, web protocols, and the coding you apply to make the site your own (among many other things). Over time, each of those layers evolves, and some of them start to play less nice with each other. You patch it as best you can in each instance, but eventually, some stuff becomes un-patchable, and you have to make hard decisions about how to proceed to keep the site as well-functioning as possible. It gets worse as the years go by.

That is to say, I can already see the looming horizon. The site is going to need a top-to-bottom overhaul at some point soon-ish. I hate that reality, because I know the difficult and risky work it will entail, but I also just know that’s where this is going. I’ll keep you folks in the loop as changes come, but it probably won’t be super soon – whole lotta cleanup work I still have to do before I can even start that process. (I want to give an early heads up to the commenters among you: Disqus is one of the worst offenders when it comes to the above problems, which is to say nothing of the things I really don’t like about Disqus in the first place. So you can expect that a commenting system overhaul is likely to be a part of this process.)

As for the menu, specifically: the new menu is mostly the same as the previous iteration, though I’m sure there are bound to be bugs on some devices (please holler at me in the comments if so, and tag me in Disqus if possible; or you can always send me a DM on Twitter). One of the known issues is that this version of the menu can use only one banner logo for the site, which is why there aren’t the differentiated ones right now for the other sports sections. It’s only a visual difference – the functionality is the same, with the banner logo taking you to the site home page, and the links in the navigation bar taking you to the various sports sections.

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