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Even after everything, it still feels good to watch the Cubs win, doesn’t it?

So, so many things could be enhanced today. I could note that Paul Maholm was effective, and the Reds kept pounding the ball into the ground. Or that the Cubs today got more extra base hits out of centerfield than they have the entire rest of the season. Or maybe that the Cubs are now 3-1 when Steve Clevenger starts behind the plate. Or how about the bullpen putting up zeros? Or Tony Campana’s gritty single! And gritty drop in center field!

But, I’ll go with the future of the Cubs, and the dual nature of his abilities.

  • rcleven

    Cubs can’t hold Clevenger out of tomorrows lineup.

  • ETS

    Is it odd how much production we got from center and catcher today? Crazy how that works.

  • JulioZuleta

    Highlight the damn double.

  • Adam1680

    Clevenger is quickly becoming my favorite cub. He hit the ball hard every at bat today and the pitching staff seems to pick it up for some reason. Although I cringe at myself for saying that “pitching staff is better when he catches” because it always seemed to be the argument for Koyie Hill and Paul Bako.

  • brittney

    Oh look no soto or byrd and the cubs win! I think soto be the back up. Or ship him out and wellington and clevenger can split games behind the plate. Out with the old, in with the new should be the cubs new mantra!

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

    I’ve been saying for a while that I liked Mather and Clevenger and I’m so freaking excited to see both of them playing. Hopefully this deal with Byrd goes through and we’ll see a split of Mather/Campana in center. To be honest, todays line up gives me a glimmer of hope. I hope they use this exact line up more often (sans DeWitt). I wouldn’t mind putting Mather in Left and Campana in center if need be, but I’m just excited that we could potentially be dealing Byrd and I’m excited with how great Clevenger has been doing. Hopefully things continue to somewhat look up, but won’t mean having to put more guys on the DL.

  • CubsFan4Life

    Great choice for the box score enhancement, and great to hear the Cubs play a good game. Steve Clevenger is on fire right now !!! I hope Sveum starts Clevenger tomorrow to help Randy Wells get the Cubs a 2 game winning streak and the first series win of the year.

  • Ron

    Didn’t K. Hill also have a better record catching than Soto?

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

      Yep, a lot better to my recollection.

      • JoeSchmoe

        He just couldn’t hit. Clevenger on the other hand….

  • Alex

    You cant lose them all, but i dont want the cubs to have meaningless winstreaks. Im hoping we can do some serious damage in the 2013 draft, we hav e to keep pace with the padres which are completely horrible.

  • EB

    Great game by the cubbies today! Now that was fun to watch!

  • Kyle

    Very relieved to see Maholm take a step toward a respectable season.

  • art

    My thoughts,

    Trade for Aram, Pena, and Z. keep playing Soto, Soriano, and Byrd.

    Play Campana, the great gold glove man with great speed. gee, if he could only get to first and catch fly balls. sorry, he’s not new to Wrigley OF/Sun. if the sun bothers you, you turn side ways, gives you a better look. i think he was standing under the ball looking right into the sun.

    Get rid of Mather, he couldn’t make the cardinals, oh and he’s 29.

    Get rid of Barney, what has he ever done except win everyplace he’s played, hustles on every hit ball, scores from 2nd and goes from 1st to 3rd on most regular hits.

    Don’t play Clevenger, all he does is hit everywhere he’s played.

    Someone get on Castro for not running on an obvious blooper to right B-4 he becomes another Soriano. on that play you run in case he can’t get to the ball. it wasn’t a routine fly.

    i said last year he should be moved to CF, Barney to SS. i’m talking about this team as it stood last year and as it stands today. i doubt it will happen so switch him and Barney.

    unlike most people, i never did buy his being young and will improve with age. he’s played SS long enough, he is what he is. a SS that will make many errors.

  • EvenBetterNews

    If this keeps up, how long is it before Starlin is changing positions? I don’t expect it to happen for a couple of years, but no way can you get this fielding production from your SS and win consistently. His bat is too valuable. Does he become Alfonso Soriano? Does he move to the OF?

    • Kyle

      Most shortstops his age, including the ones who go on to be great defenders, are still in AA right now making a bajillion errors and nobody notices. His bat has carried him to a place his glove isn’t ready for.

      Of course, lots of guys who never did become consistent enough to handle SS also made a ton of errors at his age.

      In summary: at least two more years. The error totals are perfectly normal for a SS this young.

      • Dob2812

        To be fair I thought he made the outrageous the second time too. The first one was bad but then he made the good play on the ball up the middle afterwards. The most annoying thing I thought was his approach on the bases loaded at bat. He could Have let the pitcher get himself in trouble there.

        • Dob2812

          Out, rather than outrageous.

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    Ken Rosenthal states that the Rays have been trying to upgrade their catching position since the end of last year. Would love to see Hoyer dangle Soto in front of them for a few quality prospects that they drafted over the last few years…

    • rcleven

      WSox might be offering Pierzynski. Very easy to play off one against the other. I think you are being being a little optimistic of Soto’s trade value.

  • rcleven

    Let’s be honest. This line up won’t scare most pitchers in league. Ran up against a #5 starter today. Tomorrow we run up against Johnny Cueto who is a true #1.
    14 hits today. let’ hope that we didn’t use them all up today.
    Good win today. I’ll take any win we can get.
    Next 7 games are going to be pretty tough.

  • Cubmig

    Whatever accounted for the Cubs playing as well as they did today to win, that’s where the “magic” is. Now, if somehow they can only lock it into their psyche so that tapping into it becomes only a matter of reacting instinctively—–then I’d say we’re in for a nice winning run.

    Think they can do that?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The Cubs won because they outslugged the Reds, and a lot of that was due to Leake leaving balls up in the strike zone.  If the opponent pitchers will oblige and do that consistently, and if Cubs pitchers can prevent the opposition batters from diving the ball, then this will happen.  However, there is one big problem with this scenario, isn’t there….

  • rcleven

    Bruce Miles ‏ @BruceMiles2112

    #Cubs manager Sveum said Soto will start behind the plate tomorrow despite 3 hits by Clevenger, who is 10-for-17 on season

    5 Retweets
    1 Favorite

    I really am beginning to think he doesn’t want to win.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnotherSpaceSong Bret Epic

      I could slap Sveum at this point. Anyone have Quades number?

  • JustSwain

    You have got to be kidding me! Clevenger leads the team in OPS+, what in gods name is Sveum thinking? Does anyone have a rational explination that makes one lick of sense?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Sure: expecting Clevenger to continue to be more productive than Soto is betting on one guy continuing to have good luck and the other guy continuing to have good luck.  Clevenger is not exactly driving the ball: even a couple of his doubles have been undriven.  His singles rate given contact is ridiculous: 6 for 16!  Most of those have been grounders that are outs if they are hit a few feet to the left or right.

      Indeed, I would be willing to bet that Soto has more “well-hit balls” per AB (and especially per AB with contact) than Clevenger does.

      • rcleven

        A few feet left or a few feet right is why the game is played. If it wasn’t the game would be played on paper and the world series would be played in April.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That’s not particularly relevant.  We aren’t worried about “why” but “how.”  Grounders a few feet to the left or right are not a “how” but a “what happens.”  When guys are getting hits that way, then you’ll know that they’ll come back to earth soon.  Conversely,  when guys are losing hits by hitting balls at fielders, then you’ll know that they’ll come back to earth in the other direction soon.  (See “Mean, regressing to…”)

          Good management recognizes this.  Only bad management would plan around Clevenger continuing to be this lucky or Soto continuing to be this unlucky.

          • rcleven

            I know what you are saying Doc. But a Team has to play the hot hand. I don’t advocate a trade because Soto is not hitting. I would like to see a player played till the norm returns. Make hay while the sun shines. Stewart hit some pretty hard balls in the first game of the series and all went for outs.They will fall in eventually at a later date. There has been nil coming from the number 7 & 8 hitters in the lineup and things need to be shaken up. I’m not a big believer in letting a player play his way out of a slump. Let Soto look over his shoulder and say I have to play better to keep my job. Compition is never bad.

            • JustSwain

              I’m not saying give Clevenger Soto’s job, I’m saying let Clevenger hit himself out of the streak. I don’t care if its luck, skill, conditioning, or voodoo, whatever Clevenger is doing right now is working. I’ve seen his Abs, he has impressed me with his ability to make consistent solid contact. Sure he’s going to start hitting at people, but he is an unknown until you let him play a few games in a row. Doc you are the guy who says slugging wins games, well, Clevenger has been slugging better than any other Cub this season. If a larger sample size means Clevenger’s stats drop, so be it, but until that time play Clevenger. This isn’t the Soto versus Hill argument, Clevenger is calling better games AND hitting better. Why is this even a question?

        • drew

          Here’s whats funny: people using an “old school” approach SHOULD be paying attention enough to notice these things; Soto has been hitting the ball hard and Clevenger is getting pretty lucky.

          However, especially in regards to Soto, these same “old school” fans are the ones who, instead of noticing this, defer to his BA and call for his head! Its doesnt take an advanced statistic to realize these stretches, (what most consider a “slump”, where an unusually high rate of GB are turned into outs) happen to every player every year single year, its just further magnified if it comes at the beginning.

      • JustSwain

        O.k., that does make a lick of sense, you got me. I still think you should play Clevenger. You can’t ignore the stats, nor can you ignore the Win Loss column, and they’ve won 3 times more games with Clevenger behind the plate in less than half the chances. That’s also a stat. Perhaps its not the stat most likely to indicate future success, but its still not something you just ignore. For goodness sake the guy is batting .588! What does he have to do to get normal playing time? Homer every at bat?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Well, yes, that is a stat, but if you put the error bars on the winning percentages, then you’ll see that we cannot reject the idea of the same “real” winning percentage.

          But I think that the other thing is that the stats are too general.  A player does not hit a single: he hits a grounder/line drive/flyball/bloop/popup that goes for a….. single.  The single itself (or any other outcome) doesn’t tell us which of these it was.  Now, a homer almost always is smoked, and a double/triple usually is, but a lot of singles aren’t.  When a guy is getting as many singles as Clevenger has gotten without having any HR to go with it, then it’s likely that he’s getting a lot of grounders for singles: and today’s groundball single will (probably) be tomorrow’s groundball out.

          That being said, it does look like (at the very least) Clevenger represents a competent MLB catcher, and that is invaluable.  Catching is brutal, and catchers miss a lot of games even without major injuries.  I expect things to even out in terms of the BABiP aspect: but if the Cubs can have a #2 catcher who’s not an automatic out, then that’s a good thing for 2013 and beyond.

  • CubsFan4Life

    He is playing Soto tomorrow for the same reason he continued to play Byrd. In order for Theo and Jed to trade Byrd to the Red Sox (Is the trade official yet?), they had to play Byrd to show that he wasn’t injured. Unfortunately, Byrd proved he can’t hit anymore, so I don’t expect to get much back from Boston for him.

    Theo and Jed know they don’t want Soto on this team, but they need him to play to prove to other teams that he can still catch, even if he can’t hit so far this year. It has to be difficult for them to trade Soto, even if he was the ROY a few years ago. Hopefully Soto will start hitting soon to make it easier to trade him. I am definitely looking forward to Castillo being called up to platoon with Clevenger as soon as Theo and Jed can make it happen !!!

    • drew

      Actually, I view Soto as almost exactly the kind of guy this FO would want on this team, probably more so than any other guy on the roster (except maybe Dejesus). For his career, hes been a a patient hitter with a good BB rate and better than average power for a Catcher.

  • nkniacc13

    No the trade isn’t offical. So many names being thrown out that could be coming back to the Cubs no one seems to know. Also with Boston playing right now don’t expect news until game is over. BTW they lead NY 7-0

  • T Larson

    Byrd is tweeting that he is traded

  • ty

    Promoting Campana is my avocation but damn, Tony, Take a deep breath out there and play your position!

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Sat here with my sons and my new baby girl and enjoyed the first Cubs victory of her lifetime. Hopefully she won’t be 2 weeks when we get our next one.

  • H

    Hooray, look at the lineup and cubs won. Bye bye byrd.

  • RW

    7 errors in 15 games…
    That is terrible. Horrible…

    Last year he led the league with 29 errors.
    Obviously it is a small and likely skewed sample, but he is now on pace for 75 errors this year. He is not getting better in the field.
    They better be thinking about moving him ( OF or 2B )- or at least have an infield instructor work with him a lot more….

    • Kyle

      Today’s quiz: Look up what level Ozzie Smith was playing at during the same age that Castro is now, and how many errors he made.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        For added giggles, look at Ozzie’s best offensive years and compare them to what Starlin is doing now.  Getting that sort of production from your SS will win you far, far more games than a bad mitt can possibly surrender, especially when that bad mitt is attached to pretty good range.

  • RW

    OK.. we can compare , if you really want:
    Ozzie:
    age errors
    21 12
    22 22
    23 19
    24 20
    25 22
    26 17
    27 21
    28 0 ( 12 games only)
    29 16
    30 16

    He never made close to as many errors as Castro- and there was only a slight improvement after his first few years

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Baseball Reference does not agree with these numbers at all.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/smithoz01.shtml

      Age 22 (NWL) – 23 E / 65 G

      Age 23 (NL) – 25 E / 159 G

      Continuing on, his error totals through his age thirty season are: 20, 24, 16, 13, 21, 12, 14

      He had 24 errors in the year he won his first Gold Glove.

  • RW

    Oops.. Sorry I posted Ozzie Guillen.
    Not sure why I had him on my mind when thinking about Castro.. ;)

    Good pick up Luke.

  • Joy

    They say Starlin will most likely get better in fielding with age. Um lets see, they are playing professional baseball correct? Isn’t there a place called the Minor Leagues for kids his age to learn the fundamentals of fielding? I do not see him improving. Send him to the minors for a while to learn. I don’t care how much he hits, he needs to learn to field.

  • MSU

    Joy, you are a misinformed baseball fan. He’s not just a good hitter, he’s becoming an elite major league hitter. The minor leagues are no longer an option, I am sorry.

    • Shawon O’Meter

      100% agree with you MSU! We have been waiting a long time for a special talent to come around, like Starlin Castro, and all people can do is point their fingers at his deficiencies?

      For those who get so worked up over #’s of errors, here are some numbers for you to ponder. You might have heard of these players before (and no, I am not saying that Starlin will be a HOFer or ever win a Gold Glove, but he might). Oh, and did I mention he is 22 years old?

      Ozzie Smith – age 23 – 25 errors
      Robin Yount – age 19 – 44 errors
      Barry Larkin – age 24 – 29 errors
      Cal Ripken Jr. – age 23 – 26 errors
      Dave Concepcion – age 26 (he won the Gold Glove) – 30 errors

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