With the win last night, paired with the Reds’ loss, the Cubs pulled to within one game of first place in the Central. But, it’s April, and the Cubs are 8-8. It’s silly to think about first place. Right?
- Jim Hendry says that Starlin Castro could hit anywhere in the lineup, though all the questions he gets focus on batting Castro third. Sure, folks try not to be reactionary, but when your “number three” hitter has just four RBI through 16 games, people will wonder why others aren’t being considered for the spot. Some would say it’s the definition of insanity.
- Speaking of the three-hole and Marlon Byrd’s spectacular non-production, his numbers are all the more shocking when you consider that, from the leadoff spot, the Cubs have the best OBP in baseball: .549. That suggests that, about half of the time, Byrd is batting with men on base. And in 69 at bats, he has four RBI. I love Marlon Byrd, but this point cannot be stressed enough. Mike Quade: listen.
- Hendry is sipping on the hopium about tonight’s sure-to-be bullpen fiasco, the second in as many weeks. He even tries to tell us that Russell, who didn’t last two innings against the worst lineup in baseball last time, pitched just fine. “[Russell] did OK,” Hendry said. “He’s a guy who’s got a lot of big league time, and we’ll just keep him working and see how it goes. We’re not disappointed in the guys here. Russell was certainly a victim of a lot of bad luck in the first inning (against Houston), and then it got away from us a little bit. He’s thrown great for us the last couple times out of the pen. (Jeff) Samardzija has thrown terrific the last two times out, which is good to see. We just need our better guys to throw a little better.”
- Brian Schlitter is back in the Cubs organization, after being claimed on waivers by the Yankees and then Phillies. Schlitter was deemed to have a pre-existing elbow condition when the Yankees first claimed him, which voided their claim. Schlitter was waived to open up a 40-man roster spot for Kerry Wood, who was signed this Winter. Schlitter, 25, has had a cup here and there with the Cubs, but is not likely to be a guy you’ll see soon.