Although the bullpen once again got the loss for the Cubs, this one didn’t have quite the same heartbreaking feel as the first two losses of the year, because it was the Cubs trying to do the coming back tonight. They came up just short, ending the game with the tying run on second base, and the winning run on first. It was disappointing, but kind of encouraging.

Chris Volstad’s night was short and only modestly effective. He was at the edges of the zone all night (and wasn’t getting the calls), and when he was in the zone he was exactly where he needs to not be: up. Shawn Camp wanted to make sure Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood didn’t feel lonely on the “we give up runs” side of the bullpen, and he gave up another few tonight.

Starlin Castro’s on-base streak ended, together with the Cubs’ comeback bid, when he struck out on three pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. It was the end of a really ugly day for the young shortstop.

Aramis Ramirez had a successful return to Wrigley, getting on base twice and driving in two runs. It was nice to see that his early-season struggles are apparently uniform – and not city – dependent. Good for him. He did boot a ball at third, though, so maybe the defensive issues are tied to the city.

One of the only bright notes on the evening? …

  • Chris S

    All I can say is I liked the effort in the late innings.. last year’s team would have laid down after the 4th.

  • Myles

    18 at-bat men left on base.

    That will lose you some games.

    • DocPWimsey

      The Cubs won despite outhomering the Brewers last night. So far, the team that hits the most HR is 32-9 (with 18 games featuring equal homers). 9 is too small a sample size to draw any conclusions, and, besides, I’m comfortable with saying: “Out homer the opposition and you’ll win 78% of the time.” After all, baseball is probabilistic, not deterministic. However, all 9 games have one thing in common: the winning team got more extra-base hits than the losing team once you add in doubles & triples.

  • Ferrets bueller

    The bright side: Cubs are currently in a multi-way tie for the 3rd overal pick, just one game out of 1st overall. Come on guys, you can do it!

  • art

    IMO, Campana is a AAA player, one tool.

    • Aaron

      Plus glove also. Covers a lot of area in the OF pretty well.

      • CubFan Paul

        Campana does NOT have a ‘plus glove’. Weak arm, yes. Above average defense, hell no

        One Trick Pony

        • Brett

          It’s a REALLY good trick, though. :)

        • Cedlandrum

          Campana’s glove is not great, but it is average. I have seen him enough to think that he can play CF for about any team. There are better, but he isn’t going to embarrass himself. I am not sure where the Campana isn’t a good defender have come from to be honest.

          • CubFan Paul

            All of the Major League Scouts disagree with you Ced. To be a “good” OF defender an average arm is at the least needed. Campana throws like a girl, not like Byrd, Dejesus, Soriano, BJax, ..I could name all the starting OFs in the MLB too

            • TWC

              I dunno, Byrd made a throw last night (in the 7th, 8th?) that was as Campana-like as I’ve ever seen.

              But to Ced, have you watched Campana’s loopy-arm throws back to the infield?  They’re truly terrible.

              • CubFan Paul

                “They’re truly terrible.”

                and embarrassing.

                • Puma0821

                  I didn’t pay that much attention to his throws last year, but since everyone’s been ripping his arm I payed attention at the game on friday in Des Moines. I was sitting in left field so I got a really good look at it. There was a line drive off the wall, Tony picked it up a bit shy of the track, fired to second and got the guy. From prior criticism I’d heard here, I was expecting a big rainbow or for him to bounce it. It was neither. It was a good throw accurate and respectable. Obviously he is not Andre Dawson but his arm wasn’t that bad!

                  • Drew

                    I believe the average velocity of an outfielders arm is around 90-91MPH (heard it once from a Phillies scout, not sure there’s any way to confirm). Just because he didn’t throw it like Small’s from Sandlot doesnt mean his arm isnt still really bad.

            • Cedlandrum

              Really you have talked to all of major league scouts? Remarkable. Also you should probably know since you are so glued in with scouts that the arm tool and the defense tool are not the same. They work in conjunction with each other but they are not the same.

              Now he doesn’t have a GREAT arm, but he looked pretty good throwing a guy out at 2nd on Friday night when I was at the game.

              But to answer the question, I have watched Campana many times in person and on tv when he was up last year. His reputation for not having a good arm are overblown, he had 11 outfield assists in Daytona in 09. He does throw it loopy when he is tossing it in, but when he is throwing it in he has a quick release and he is usually very accurate.

              • CubFan Paul

                no, i havn’t talked to all of the Major League scouts but their opinions of Campana’s arm (or lack there of) have been made public and they all still disagree you Ced. If your opinion as a non-scout mattered, i’d quote you too..

              • ty

                Ced–you nailed it. But when he hit the majors he was overthrowing–forgetting to skip the ball and also use the cutoff man as needed. Guys will run on him so he has assist chances.. Scouts are in serious like with Tony but few thought he would get this far–he keeps proving people wrong so we will see.

  • RY34

    stating the obvious here, but this is one of the sorriest excuses for a bullpen i have ever seen! kudos to russell for actually not giving up a run, other than marmols one out save on sunday, is that the first reliever other than dolis to not have given up a run in a bullpen appearance so far this year?

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    It was a familiar sight to see Sorry jogging over to watch a fly ball out by any other OF’er drop in front of him. I can name at least 4 or 5 other players on our roster that would be better out there. (sigh)

    • DocPWimsey

      You’ve never seen Logan Morrison, then, have you!

  • MaxM1908

    Before this season started, everyone was predicting the Cubs to have around 70 wins. So far, they’ve looked like a 70 win team. But, I see some positives to take away from the last four games:

    1. Our rotation is looking promising. I’m not ready to call them “Great” yet, but if they can continue to have strong outings, I’ll definitely call them the strongest part of our team.

    2. Barney, LaHair, and Stewart have all demonstrated they have power-potential (Barney not so much as the others, but if he could consistently hit doubles, and surprise us with a HR every now and then, that would be “power” compared to what folks are expecting from him).

    3. Fielding, on the whole, looks improved. It still needs work, and LF is a weak link, but I think we will be better than last year.

    4. Our biggest obstacles as I see them are: 1) bad at-bats and 2) Bullpen. Both of those can be improved through coaching and through roster moves.

    Once again, I don’t think we’ll be a playoff team, but we’ll be better than last year. I’m not willing to condemn them after 4 games–especially when there have been many positives in those games.