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The Cubs lose again, and, paired with the Minnesota Twins’ win, now have the worst record in baseball. Neat.

Travis Wood did just about everything you’d want him to do tonight, other than to be a bit more economical with his pitches. He worked deep into counts regularly with guys he eventually retired, and was pulled in the sixth after 97 pitches. When he left, there were two outs and a runner on first. That runner scored after Shawn Camp threw a ball away, walked a guy, and then gave up a hit. But the run gets charged to Wood, which totally makes sense. (Seriously: why is there not a sabermetric movement to implement a system for apportioning runs when inherited runners score? For example, in this instance, Wood gets 1/4 run, Camp gets 3/4 run. Pretty simple to calculate, and far more fair and accurate.)

Starlin Castro made a tremendous diving play at short, but he really struggled at the plate, striking out four times. Call it one of those baseball hunches unsupported by logic or the numbers, but I think it’s time to move him out of that three-hole. I just don’t like the way he’s looked at the plate this year (or last year when he was batting three).

At least Travis Wood’s start was promising.

  • ETS

    I doubt he hates him. I think volstad is happy for the opportunity to work things out in the minors and will take advantage of it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      ?

      It was tongue-in-cheek, as these things almost always are…

      • ETS

        I realize. I’m just trying to stay as positive (well if not positive at least as un-negative) as possible.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    And Tony Campana! Don’t forget Tony Campana.

    • Spencer

      That play by Campana was seriously one of the neatest things I have seen in a baseball game. It was super cool.

      • MichiganGoat

        Until he shat upon by three and four hitter

  • magilljl

    Haha.

  • MichiganGoat

    Seems like there was a lot more than 13 Ks tonight, but what really pissed me was how Castto and then Sori pooped on Campana after that amazing dive and slide. What a pathetic game. We just lost two in a row to a little league team.

    • Carew

      You gotta give credit to the Astros though, they are playing A LOT better than what was expected. Theyll probably fade though…

    • njriv

      Then what does that make us?

    • Robert

      “We just lost two in a row to a little league team.” If there a little league team, then what are we?

      • MichiganGoat

        The 4 year old tball team

        • JNasty

          Maybe thats what our offense needs. Put the ball on a tee. I think we would still strike out a lot though.

    • Brady

      If that dive doesnt beat out dunkball on ESPN for top plays I am going to be pissed.

      • hansman1982

        what is ESPN? Anyone watches that?

        • bluekoolaidaholic

          Only Yankees and Sahhhx

  • gratefulled

    Volstad actually looked pretty good today too. Gave up most of his runs while up 14 runs or something stupid like that.

    The I-Cubs are a LOT more fun to watch than this bunch of …

  • http://bleachernation.com PattyP

    its a pretty good barometer of a teams suckability when Shawn Camp is the guy brought into meaningful games. Even sadder knowing he was the obvious choice if Dale had to replace Wood.

  • hansman1982

    Now here is an offense that will out-slug opponents. Screw going small ball – who needs to squeak in a run when we can slug Campana in with one out…in a one run game. We won’t strike out twice in a row.

  • rcleven

    Feel much better tonight. Although the bats were asleep we were competitive for 9 innings.
    Please no more blow outs.

  • Jzwizard

    *Sigh*

    Campana had an epic play diving over the 3rd basemen there in the 8th inning. Then Castro and Soriano (Our 3-4 hitters) fail to manufacture the run. That is very disappointing. I agree it is time ot move Castro out of the 3 hole and preferably into the 2 spot. I think it is seriously time to consider calling up Rizzo as LaHair seems to have returned to earth after his hot start.

  • hansman1982

    Now, now, now Brett, Castro has been performing statistically the same in the three hole this year as he has previously. No need to use your gut and eyes to tell you that he looks like an Ethiopian kid staring at a box of Nilla Wafers when he is at the plate.

  • CBP

    Order Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Lahair, deJesus, Stewart, catcher, 8th Johnson/ Campana the reason I have Campana here is because in the eight hole he will be able tp take more pitches as the pitch around him in front of the pitcher

  • Cheryl

    Campana has proven himself time and time again, but Castro has also proven that he’s uncomfortable batting third. Would he be better off at no. 7 like an announcer suggested?
    DeJesus shows more patience than Castro. What about batting Castro no. 1 or Campagna no. 1, like Brett suggested. Where should Castro bat? Clearly no. 3, no. 4 or no.5 wouldn’t fit. DeJesus is a no. 1 or no. 2 batter.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Again, Castro’s numbers are completely in line with his career numbers. Baseball performance is inherently stochastic: the small blips in week-to-week and even month-to-month percentages simply are an inevitable outcome of this and then overblown by people.

      • ThereWillBeCubs

        … and then people get PAID (son). Ha.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          But not as much as me….. :-)

      • Mrp

        I think it is more about how he looks at the plate right now. He is way out on his front foot on off speed and late on the fastball. In the past, Castro has been notorious for staying back on off speed and keeping his bat in the zone for a long time allowing him to make contact on almost anything. Numbers aren’t the only thing to look at and don’t always tell the whole story. Actually the K rate is up a bit this year and the walk rate is at an all time low for him.

        With that said, I am confident that he will get out of it. I’m just tired of people saying that slumps do not exist when they most certainly do. There is still a mental aspect to this game that a lot of stat heads seem to forget.

        • Drew7

          “There is still a mental aspect to this game that a lot of stat heads seem to forget.”

          -I cant speak for everyone, but I can say with plenty of confidence that I do not forget that slumps exist. I think at least 50% of hitting is due to mental preparation (or lack thereof).

          What people who blow off the stats (I pretty confident you arent one that just dimisses them) forget is that hitters go through these peaks and valleys every year, so they are included in the stats that are looked at.

          Your example of Castro being behind the fastball and out in front off off-speed pitches is a perfect example – the way I look at it, there will be a time later in the year where he looks like a machine and will hit everything. When that streak and this current “slump” are combined, they end up pretty close to what he looks like the rest of the year.

          The main issue I see with Castro is the one you mentioned: his BB-rate (which, due to his being so crazy low, makes the slumps stand out that much more. to me, at least).

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The other thing to remember is that frequencies are not comparable statistics.  What you have to compare are actual numbers and ask whether they deviate from general rates.  If Castro were walking at exactly the same rate as he has in the past, then he’d have 5 more walks than he does now.  That is not a significant deviation from his usual rates: we expect a couple of guys on each team to be deviating by this much simply by chance alone.  If he was K’ing at the same rate as in the past, then he’d have 6 fewer K’s.  Again, that is not a significant deviation: multiple guys on each team should deviating by this much just by chance alone.  In other words, there have been stretches of <200 PAs where he has done this before, and there will be again: and we do not need to invoke extra explanations.

          Indeed, insofar as there is a “mental” aspect to this, the I would say it lies more with the fans with the players: because numbers are marginally off, they are imposing observations.

          • HuskerCub

            Yes and no on the significance of 5 more base on balls. That would more than double his current number of BBs. More concerning for me is that we now have an organization that is supposedly stressing plate discupline, OBP and OPS and yet Castro is regressing instead of improving. Maybe it is an adjustment period for him, but maybe he is simply unable or unwilling to adapt. Given his age you would hope with experience alone he would be improving on last years numbers.

          • Mrp

            I’m definitely not one to blow of stats and I would hope that people do not think that. They are a huge part of evaluating talent, but I don’t think they are the only tool that should be used.

            I knew I should have never even mentioned that his walk rate was down and his K rate went up. It detracted away from my point and you guys focused mainly on that. Let’s try this a different way.

            Do you think that Castro needs to change anything with his swing\approach or will everything just magically work out because that’s what the past numbers have told you? Should we just wait until the numbers tell us that a hitter is terrible or should we try to do something before it happens? (No I’m not saying Castro is terrible)

            I’m not liking what I am “seeing” from Castro and adjustments need to be made. It is to the point where he is pressing now (that’s the mental part that I was referring to) which only makes things worse.

  • Brady

    Wood was also beating the hell out of the ball when he came up. Does he hit like that regularly?

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

    These 8 losses in a row have put things into perspective. If these cyanide pills don’t do it, I’ll be cheering for the Cubs tomorrow.

    • djriz

      you have enough to share?

  • hansman1982

    Brett, in regards to the ER being charged appropriately. I bet we could name 3 people who have access to a system that undoubtedly tracks something similar to that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      You’re probably right.

      • FromFenwayPahk

        a stochastistical probability; or just, like, prob’ly?

        (I think one unmeasured benefit of the math terms is that they piss Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan off…)

  • Vince

    Campana needs to play in every game, no more platoon with Johnson, please. Campana seems to be the only one generating any life in this corps. Castro needs some bench time to get his head straight

    • Blitzenjohn

      Castro doesn’t need bench time. He needs patience. And perhaps moving out of the 3 hole… P.S. The Cubs as a whole seem to lack any passion for the game. That could be improved. And, am I the only person wondering if Sveum has lost the locker room?

    • Alou and Vinegar

      Castro needs a day off. Sit him tonight, off day Thursday and it gives him a couple days to get his head straight. Also, do not bat Campana ahead of Castro. I know Campana was a pinch runner last night, but once again Castro is hacking at the first pitch. Everyone knows Campana is in to steal, at least give him a pitch or two to do that. Castro never does that. I might try this lineup when Clevenger is back;

      Castro, DeJesus, LaHair, Soriano, Clevenger, Stewart, Barney/Cardenas, Campana, pi

       

       

  • alsongs

    Campana definitely needs someone behind him that (providing he gets on base) will take a couple of pitches and give him an opportunity to use his speed.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    Brett – isn’t FIP close to what you are requesting? Camp’s FIP will be as hard hit as Wood’s here.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sort of, but not really – FIP does what FIP does. I want to keep ERA for what ERA does, but I want to make it better.

    • Hansman1982

      Fip would charge him for the walk and hit. Dip doesn’t care about the runs that are scored.

  • CubFanBob

    Is it me or does it seem like the ball just bounces the right way for the other team.

    Seeing Campana fly in the air safe into third was epic…love that guy hope he continues to improve

  • http://twitter.com/rbmryu Rafael Bruno

    What a good year to go to Chicago and watch my first game…
    Maybe some Brazilian heat will help them out.

    • CubsFanBob

      1st place or last place watching baseball at Wrigley for your first game is always a blessing.

  • die hard

    agree…Castro is batting out of position and is also playing out of position…bat him 6th and put him in LF….

    • Cheryl

      Partially agree – bat him 6th but not sure LF is the answer.

  • Roughriider

    Disagree… as the best HITTER on the team, Castro is putting too much stuff on himself and trying too hard to make something happen on a truly lousy team. He needs a day or two off and a chance to put things in perspective. It’s a grind for everybody to loose eight in a row but especially for a youngster like Castro.

    • OlderStyle

      I would agree with your disagree, he is the best hitter and just needs to get perspective. A few days off could help.

  • Curt

    we’re a t-ball team or a wiffle ball team, and I know I’m probably in the minority on this one but anyways, it’s time to bring rizzo/Jackson I know u lose the advantage of service time and it’ll be more expensive down the line, for sure at least rizzo he’s done all he can do at Iowa get him up here at 1st base bench soriano bc he has zero trade value anyway and it’s most likely not going to get better so bench him or release him , get Jackson in center, put camps a back on the bench he’s decent but in a limited role just a few thoughts.

    • bt

      Why? So we can move up to the SECOND worst record in the majors?

  • DowntownLBrown

    Castro will never be a 3 hitter. He is totally a 5 man. Problem is this team doesnt have a leadoff, 2 or 3 batter.

  • RY34

    man we are masters at making shit pitchers look great! amazing talent this ballclub has! will we match the 18 game losing streak we had to start the season that one year whenever the hell it was??

  • JK

    When is Jaramillo going to get his due criticism, isn’t he supposed to be the best hitting coach around?

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I wonder if we suck so bad that we are losing fans? Except for we masochists of course.

    • hardtop

      im pretty much done for the year. Im not denouncing Cubs fandom entirely, my heart just cant take it. every 6 or 8 years i need to take a step back, for my mental health. This season was fun for awhile: seeing what we have, if the trades “worked out”, if the re-treads proved to be good/decent/bad gambles. i think i have a pretty good picture of all of that at this point. Summary: Disappointment. We didnt do much and we dont have much. :(

      • TWC

        Yeah, I felt that way yesterday afternoon, too.  Then I turned on the game.

        • hardtop

          and that game changed your mind? based on what? t-woods second start? nah. the jury is still out… like way out.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I think he’s saying he didn’t want to watch anymore/care anymore yesterday, as well.

            And then he succumbed to the siren call.

            • TWC

              Yup.

              But I will gladly admit to a pleased smile at Travis Wood’s start.

            • hardtop

              ahh yeah… its difficult to resist the calls of pat hughes

              • TWC

                Moreland does his best to dissuade me.

                • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

                  Agree. Even when the Cubs struggle, it was at least entertaining to listen to Pat and Ron or Otto, et al. But Moreland has taken that all away…

  • Curt

    Bc is the goal really to have the worst record in baseball so we can pick 1st in the draft , silly me I thought we were changing the culture.

    • Kyle

      You can do things that further both goals simultaneously. Employing Reed Johnson seems to be a great way to improve your baseball culture and work your way toward the worst record in baseball.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ha. I tell you what, I’d be a hell of a great teammate and mentor for young players, and I’m quite certain I’d be dog shit on the field. The Cubs should sign me immediately!

        • hardtop

          thats sad. if you do the comparison thing, if reed is dog shit, most of the team aspires to be dog shit.

  • TrueblueCubbie

    Sadly, Wood’s good game was ruined by a lack of offense.

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