Posted on 13 July 2011 by Lou
It was an interesting 1st All-Star Game for Starlin Castro. Caastro entered the game as a pinch runner for Troy Tulowitzki in the 5th runner. Castro promptly stole 2nd and 3rd base to get into scoring position with less than 2 outs – a great feat for a “green” 21-year old. But then Castro tried to score on a weak groundball hit slowly towards the pitcher’s mound and he was gunned out at the plate. And as we discussed yesterday, Castro’s one knock has been his propensity to commit errors in the field. So we weren’t at all surprised when he cleanly fielded Carlos Quentin’s 1-out grounder in the 9th inning, but then threw the ball in the dirt allowing the A.L. to get a mini-rally going. The A.L. never plated a run in the inning to close the 5-1 lead, but it could have turned into a disaster for Castro if his gaffe allowed the A.L. to get the win. And so it goes for the young Castro. He became only the 5th player to have 2 stolen bases in the same all-star game, putting his name in the company with legends like Willie Mays and Kenny Lofton.
Castro has been the Cubs best and most consistent since he came up to the big league club last May. He has also shown some brilliant fielding prowess. But he still makes that annoying error on routine plays and he still makes mental mistakes. But he has clearly emerged as the Cubs best player and hopefully the Cubs will be able to surround him with a better core over the next few seasons as big contracts come off of the books at the end of the 2011 campaign. Castro has also learned a lot from his short time in the big leagues, especially when Manager Mike Quade sat Castro for a few games last September when the superstar forget how many outs there were in the inning and didn’t run hard enough down the 1st base line as he grounded out into an inning-ending double play. Despite that play, Castro has earned the honor and respect of Quade today — “Every experience is exactly what you make of it. I watched him the entire time we were here, watched him interact with the greatest players on the planet, and I thought he handled himself really well. It’s one thing to have the kind of talent he does, but when you go about your business the way he’s going about it, there’s a chance he’s really going to be something special.”
Gotta love it – now let’s hope he continues to improve on the field and that the Cubs make some smart decisions this off-season so that Castro has some help behind him…
Posted on 12 July 2011 by Lou
Starlin Castro is the Cubs lone representative in tonight’s All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Now I know, Manager Quade was asked to be part of Bruce Bochy’s NL coaching staff, but gimme a break. Quade has really under-achieved as a manager this season and it is clear that he will be back as an “assistant coach” somewhere else following the 2012 MLB season when his contract expires.
Castro has lived up to the hype once again with a solid sophomore season. Castro is hitting .307 with an .335 on-base percentage. He has 117 hits, 49 runs scored and 39 RBI’s. He has walked 17 times while striking out 47 times. He has 10 stolen bases and has only been caught stealing once. The only negative is his fielding – he has committed a team high 18 errors on a team that has committed a whopping 77 errors. That’s a lot of errors for a team that has played 92 games.
Good luck Starlin!
Posted on 11 July 2011 by Lou
What a joke – after losing 7 of their last 10 games heading into the break, the Cubs finished with the 2nd worst record in all of baseball at 37-55. Ouch…
The Cubs trail the Brewers and Cardinals by 12 games in the race for 1st place in the NL Central. The Cubs trail the Braves by a whopping 17 games for the wild card spot. Only the Houston Astros (30-62) have a worse record than the Cubs in all of baseball.
Starlin Castro has been the Cubs best and most consistent hitter all season – .307 batting average, 49 runs scored and 39 RBI’s. Aramis Ramirez put together a phenomenal close to the 1st half to help his numbers look more like his career average numbers – .298 batting average, 15 HR’s and 51 RBI’s. Carlos Pena leads the team with 19 HR’s after not hitting a single home run in the entire month of April. And despite a stint on the DL, Alfonso Soriano has put up decent numbers – 14 HR’s and 41 RBI’s.
The pitching stats are not pretty. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are tied for the team lead in wins with 6. Matt garza has the best starter ERA at 4.26. Dempster leads the team with 102 K’s while Garza is right on his heels with 99.
Let’s go Cubs — at least it can’t get much worse than what we’ve seen in the 1st half, right?!?!
Posted on 29 June 2011 by Lou
What an awful display of baseball from the Cubs on Tuesday as they dropped a day-night doubleheader by the score of 19-10 to the Giants at Wrigley Field.
In the opener, Doug Davis allowed the worst hitting team in baseball to score 10 earned runs off of him in 4+ innings. Davis surrendered 12 hits and issued 3 walks during his embarrassing outing.
Reliever Chris Carpenter did not fare much better in his 1 2/3 innings of work – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Carlos Pena hit another home run – his 17th of the season – and Koyie Hill also added his 2nd home run of the season in a nice 2nd inning that tied the game at 3. But the Cubs squandered some great chances to score against Ryan Vogelsong as he allowed 10 runners to reach base in his 5 innings of work. Starlin Castro’s hitting streak came to an end with his 0 for 5 effort.
The 2nd game didn’t get much better. Rodrigo Lopez allowed 4 runs (only 1 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Granted 3 of his runs were unearned because of Reed Johnson’s fielding gaffe, but you’ve gotta pick each other up. John Grabow tried to get Lopez out of the 5th inning, but he allowed the 1st 4 batters he faced to reach base with a walk and 3 hits before he recorded the final out of the inning. But by then, it was too little too late as the Giants regained a 6-2 lead over the Cubs.
Luis Montanez hit his 1st career major league home run off of Barry Zito in the 3rd inning. His HR gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo home run in the 9th inning. Starlin Castro started another hitting streak by going 1 for 4 in the loss.
Let’s hope Ryan Dempster can bring his “A” game against Tim Lincecum tonight. Lincecum is only 6-6 on the year, but he has a nasty 3/16 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 113 K’s against only 38 walks in 105+ innings pitched… The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 at 32-48.
Posted on 28 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs defeated the Rockies 7-3 in the makeup game of a game rained out back on April 27th.
Matt Garza pitched into the 8th inning, allowing just 3 ER on 5 hits. Most importantly, Garza did not allow a walk and he struck out 6 hitters in his 111-pitch effort.
Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena are both heating up. Ramirez went 3 for 4 with 3 RBI’s and 3 runs scored. He hit a 2-run HR in the 1st inning and a solo home run in the 7th inning. Pena hit 2 home runs – a solo shot in the 4th inning and a 2-run bomb in the 5th inning. Pena now leads the club with his 16 home runs and 42 RBI’s despite a batting average in the low .200’s. Starlin Castro had a single to extend his hitting streak to 11-games.
The Cubs are now 32-46 and they trail the Brewers by 11.5 games in the NL Central race. Not good..
Posted on 27 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs dropped the rubber game of the 3-game weekend series to the Royals in Kansas City by a 6-3 deficit. Randy Wells’ 2011 struggles continued as he allowed 4 1st inning runs to put the Cubs in an immediate hole. Wells ended up lasting 6 innings, but he allowed all 6 ER on 10 hits and 2 walks.
Geovany Soto had 3 hits in the loss, including his 7th HR of the season, but he is only hitting ,225 on the year. Soto had 2 of the Cubs 3 RBI’s. Blake Dewitt had 2 hits and drove in the other Cubs run. Starlin Castro went 1 for 4 to keep his hitting streak alive – now at 10 games in a row. Catsro has a .326 batting average which is good for 3rd best in the National League.
The Cubs played the Rockies today in a make-up of the April 27th game that was postponed due to rain. The Cubs won 7-3 – more on this in the morning…
Posted on 23 June 2011 by Lou
The White Sox defeated the Cubs 4-3 to take the opening series of the 2011 Crosstown Classic. Jake Peavy outdueled Doug Davis, although the Cubs did have plenty of opportunities to tack on some runs against a rusty Peavy who was coming off the DL. Peavy allowed 10 hitters to reach base in only 5+ innings, but the Cubs only managed to push across 3 runs against him. Not good at all. Carlos Pena hit a home run for the 3rd straight game, while Starlin Castro continued his hot hitting with 2 more hits. He is now hitting .322 with 36 RBI’s and 42 runs scored. Kosuke Fukudome and Blake DeWitt also each had 2 hits in the loss.
For the 3rd straight night, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead – 3-0 in the 4th on A.J. Pierzynski’s 2-run triple and Brent Lillibridge’s great bunt single that scored Pierzynski. Doug Davis struggled with his command again, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 2 walks in just 5 innings. The game-winning run that scored in the 5th inning, however, was unearned because of DeWitt’s fielding error that would have ended the threat. Instead, it allowed the Sox to load the bases and Davis ended up plunking Lillibridge to force in the go-ahead run.
The Cubs can take some solace in playing 3 “OK” games, but the bottom line is wins. And the Cubs just aren’t doing enough of that this season.
The Cubs have a day off before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals in more inter-league play this weekend.
Posted on 22 June 2011 by Lou
Each team had 7 hits and no errors. Neither team scored more than 1 run in any given inning. But it was the White Sox who emerged with a 3-2 win after a lengthy rain delay because of heavy storms that pounded the Chicago area.
The White Sox took an early 2-run lead on Paul Konerko’s solo homer in the 2nd and Juan Pierre’s sac fly in the 3rd. It was Konerko’s 5th straight game with a home run, tying a franchise record.
Carlos Pena homered for the 2nd straight night in the 5th and Aramis Ramirez tied it up at 2 with a sac fly in the 6th.
Matt Garza tossed 5 solid innings before the rains came – 2 ER on 4 hits and 1 walk.
Jeff Samardzija pitched a perfect 6th inning before running into trouble in the 7th. Samardzija got Alex Rios to pop out with 1st and 3rd and nobody out, but then Brett Morel delivered the game-winning sac fly that gave the Sox a 3-2 lead.
The Cubs had their chances. They scored only 1 run in the 6th after having a 1st and 3rd, 1 out scenario. They had 2 on and 1 out in the 8th inning and came away empty.
Doug Davis will battle Jake Peavy in the series finale tonight at the Cell. Let’s hope Davis can duplicate his performance last Friday when he stymied the Yankees to just 1 run and 3 hits in 7+ innings of work.
Posted on 21 June 2011 by Lou
WOW – I thought this one was over after 1, but Carlos Zambrano proved that maybe he has “changed” in the Cubs 6-3 win over the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night. Zambrano allowed 3 of the first 4 batters he faced to score as Carlos Quentin delivered an RBI single and Paul Konerko delivered a 2-run home run in the 1st inning. Big Z could have cashed it in and given in to his demons (just a year ago, he got into an altercation with teammates in the dugout of this same cross-town classic rivalry and was suspended by the Cubs for his actions). Instead, Zambrano re-gained his focus during the break and went on to pitch 8 outstanding innings to give his club a chance to win an important game. Zambrano allowed 2 White Sox hitters to reach base only once more during the game. That was in the 5th inning when he put himself in a 1st and 3rd 1-out jam facing the middle of the lineup. But he battled and got Carlos Quentin to fly out and Paul Konerko to strike out to keep the Cubs trailing by just 1 run.
Starlin Castro was the other Cub player who stepped up big in the win. Castro’s 2-run single cut the White Sox lead to 3-2 in the 3rd inning. And after Big Z’s heroics in the 5th inning, Castro led of the 6th inning with a game-tying solo home run to deep left field. Gavin Floyd seemed shaken by the HR – he then surrendered a single to Blake DeWitt and a walk to Aramis Ramirez. Then it was time for Carlos Pena to deliver the game-changing 3-run bomb to deep right center field that gave the Cubs a 6-3 lead. And that’s how it stood the rest of the way.
Carlos Marmol made it interesting in the 9th inning – he gave up 1-out singles to A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios to bring the tying run to the plate. But marmol got Mark Teahen to line out to right field and Juan Pierre to ground out to 2nd base to preserve the 6-3 Cubs win. It was Marmol’s 15th save and it also gave Big Z his 6th win of the season.
Matt Garza and Mark Buehrle battle it out in game 2 of the cross-town classic series tonight at U.S. Cellular Field…
Posted on 20 June 2011 by Lou
The Cubs dropped the final 2 games of the Yankees series over the weekend at Wrigley Field to fall to 29-42 on the season – 10 gamed behind the Cards and Brewers. Both games were nationally televised broadcast losses and they erased some good “mojo” they had developed after taking 3 of 4 from the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley earlier in the week and the opener of the Cubs-Yankees series on Friday afternoon.
Randy Wells pitched 6 solid innings, allowing 4 ER on 5 hits and 4 walks. He was hurt by Starlin Castro’s quick attempt to get a double play in the 4th inning with a runner on 1st base and one out. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano were both safe on Cano’s weak grounder in front of home when Castro pulled his foot off the bag at 2nd base on Geovany Soto’s throw. Castro should have made sure that he got the lead runner at 2nd base, but he didn’t, and then his throw to 1st in an attempt to get the speedy Cano was late. Both players were safe and both came around to score to cut the Cubs lead to 4-3.
Sean Marshall pitched a perfect 7th inning, but then surrendered back-to-back hits to start the 8th inning. Manager Mike Quade opted to go with the righty Chris Carpenter to make Nick Swisher bat from the left side and he made them pay with a 3-run jack to deep right field. Just like that, the Cubs 4-1 lead turned into a 7-4 deficit with a few key plays.
Reed Johnson had 2 hits and a run scored in the loss. Aramis Ramirez continued his hot hitting by going 4 for 5 with a run scored. Alfonso Soriano hit his 6th career homer off of Yankees’ starter CC Sabathia with his 3-run shot that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead in the 3rd inning.
The Cubs travel down to the south side to take on the White Sox this week. Carlos Zambrano makes his 1st appearance in U.S. Cellular Field since he had a 1st inning outburst during last season’s inter-league play when he felt like certain players were not giving their all. Big Z was suspended for his actions and forced to take anger management classes. Zambrano goes against Gavin Floyd tonight in the opener of the 3-game series.