One of the most interesting aspects of the new season has been the replay review of close calls. The Cubs have seen reviews in each series as they opened the season at Pittsburgh and at home against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Replay is changing the face of baseball, both literally and figuratively. But I'm not talking about the delays or that this work-in-progress approach is helping umpires get calls right, which is the whole idea.
Cubs scouting reportCubs vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet Tuesday; WGN Wednesday and Thursday
Radio: WGN 720-AM
Pitching matchups: The Cubs' Edwin Jackson (0-0) vs. Charlie Morton (0-0) Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.; Jason Hammel (1-0) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.; Travis Wood (0-1) vs. Gerrit Cole (1-0) Thursday at 1:20 p.m.
At a glance: The Pirates took two of three from the Cubs last week in the season-opening series at PNC Park. Tuesday's game will be the first of 38 night games at Wrigley Field, up from last year's 30 under the lights at home. Starling Marte is off to a good start for the Pirates. He's 8-for-26. Reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen's batting average is only .217, but his on-base percentage is .379, thanks to 6 walks. The Cubs' Emilio Bonifacio is 14-for-28 with a .548 OBP. The Cubs have hit 3 home runs over their first six games.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, Friday-Sunday
-- Bruce Miles
I'm talking about the way in which managers argue -- or to put it more accurately, discuss -- disputed calls with umpires.
First, we may have seen the end of the nose-to-nose, dirt-kicking rhubarbs. Now managers calmly walk out to the base in question and ask the umpire about the play. They also may stall for a few moments so staff members in the clubhouse can study the video to determine if a challenge is worth it.
The next time you see a challenge happen, watch how the manager positions himself. He will turn his body so he can look into his dugout to get a signal to challenge or not to challenge.
"Everybody's going to develop their own style, whatever nuances are in terms of replay information that's being collected while you're out there talking to the umpire," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "They (the umpires) actually are pretty cordial. They're basically wanting to make sure they get the call right.
"There are some instances where they'll tell you, 'I had a really good look' at a particular play and they don't think that they got it wrong. And you've got to make a decision."
There will be some bugs to work out with replay in baseball, but if the technology is there and the aim is to get it right, I say full speed ahead.
If there's a feel-good story on the Cubs, it's Ryan Kalish. The 26-year-old outfielder was one of the heroes of Sunday's 8-3 victory over the Phillies with a double, a triple, 2 walks and 3 RBI.
"Every day I come in I'm just ready for whatever is thrown my way, especially with everything I've been through," he said. "I just want to give it my all when I get the chance."
Kalish missed all of last year with Boston because of lingering shoulder problems that required surgery. A big part of his travails included cervical fusion surgery on his neck last August.
He went to spring training with the Cubs as a nonroster man, and in the final week he got the good news he had made the team.
It has been quite a nice stretch of time for Kalish.
"It's been awesome," he said. "I've enjoyed every single day. I'm trying to live my life like every day could be your last type of mentality. Especially with my story, it's the way I have to live and the way I think we all should live.
"We're all really blessed to be here in the major leagues. A lot of people aren't as fortunate to have that opportunity, and I'm just trying to do with I can with it."
There was more to Cubs prospect Javier Baez getting ejected from Saturday's game for Class AAA Iowa. Baez was tossed over a checked-swing call.
The Des Moines Register reported that Baez got into a dugout confrontation with veteran catcher Eli Whiteside after the ejection. Whiteside was one of the Cubs' final cuts of spring training. The paper reported that other players also talked with Baez about his demeanor.
"I was mad, he was mad, everybody was mad," Baez told the Register, referring to Whiteside. "We argued a little. Nothing personal."
Baez added that he and Whiteside spoke Sunday and cleared things up.
Iowa manager Marty Pevey, a no-nonsense guy, tried to use the ejection as a teaching point, as Baez related to the Register. "He was just like, 'That stuff can't be happening because we need you on the field,' " Baez said of the ejection.
Baez hit a pinch homer in Sunday's game.
Veras' rough start:
One player off to a rough start for the Cubs is closer Jose Veras. In 2 appearances so far, Veras has worked 1⅔ innings, giving up 1 hit, 3 earned runs and 6 walks. That figures to an early WHIP of 4.20.
Veras heard boos Sunday at Wrigley Field when he walked four in two-thirds of an inning and couldn't finish the game even though he entered the ninth inning with the Cubs ahead 8-1.
Renteria was trying to get Veras some work, and closers often have trouble in nonsave situations.
"We didn't want his pitch count to get so elevated there in that ninth, and we couldn't use him in a couple days," said Renteria, who went with Pedro Strop to close it out.
"It's very hard for me to say I'm concerned at this point. It's his second outing. Would I have liked to have had it run a little cleaner for him? Absolutely. I think he does. It's just a game where it didn't work out the way he wanted it to."
• Follow Bruce's Cubs reports on Twitter@BruceMiles2112.