The Cubs’ hot ways continued today, as they swept away the Astros. Seriously. That’s an actual sentence that I can type, and it’s all accurate.

Travis Wood remains one of the hottest starters in baseball, and the Cubs’ bats did just enough against Wandy Rodriguez to lock down the win. Carlos Marmol got another Marmol-esque save (i.e., not perfect, but some nasty Ks), but a save just the same.

David DeJesus was pulled late for Tony Campana (after himself coming in late as an apparently defensive sub), so we’ll have to keep an eye on that one. Hopefully it’s just a minor injury thing, or nothing at all (or a trade…?).

  • daveyrosello

    If only Volstad could figure things out like Wood and Maholm apparently have done…………..

    • Kyle

      Anyone remember all that talk earlier in the offseason that left-handed pitchers could be a nice way to exploit Wrigley’s intricacies?

    • Josh

      Even Marmol seems to have gotten his stuff together after going to AAA

  • gratefulled

    Someone should tell Dale that Cashner is not a reliever anymore.

    • Dougy D

      I believe he was talking about Marshall in the trade for Wood.

      • Kurt

        One start by the always experimenting (cheap) Padres doesn’t make him a starter either. ALL Padre starters should be viewed skeptically because of Petco, (I know Cashner’s start was in Houston).

        • Dougy D

          HOw did he do in that start? I didn’t see anything on it.

          • RW

            He had a no-hitter into the 7th.
            Then gave up 2 runs, and ended with a no-decision.

            • Dougy D

              Good to hear he had a solid outing. I enjoyed watching him pitch as a Cub.

        • Scotti

          Cashner has the stuff to be a dominant Ace in this game. The only real question is Can his arm handle the pitch count of a starter? That is a big question, and a gamble on their part, but they have little to lose.

          • LouCub

            Theo orginally didn’t want to move him because he has a great arm but, a cornerstone young 1b is hard to pass up, especially sinc eit was a HUGE position of weakness in this organization

            • Brady

              And when he saw Rizzo avaliable you know he just wanted to jump on it. He really likes what he has seen in Rizzo and I like what I have seen so far too both defensively and offensively.

  • gratefulled

    Holy freaking Marmol. Let’s hope he keeps it up. Baseball tomorrow, Woo-Hoo!!!

  • rcleven

    5 of the last 6? Is this our Cubs.

  • Jeremy

    Liking the 2-3 punch of Castro a lot. I don’t know if its the new hitting coach or maybe the fact that Rizzo being up has taken some of the pressure off him but Castro’s AB’s have been much much better. It’s only a matter of time before the ball starts falling when he puts wood on it with this new approach. We should start to see his BA climb far north of .300 if he continues these types of AB’s.

    • art

      let’s don’t start making the new hitting coach another Jaramillo. IMO they are over rated.

      • Bric

        Yep- team hitting got progressively worse every year he was here, as did the overall record. So either he wasn’t anywhere near as good as we were led to believe or the position itself isn’t all that important. Regardless, that was 15 mil doen the tubes.

        But somehow the guy managed to collect his 5 mil (or something like that) a year, every year, without many people noticing or holding him accountable until now. Another stroke of Jim Hendry genius.

        • Pat

          750,000 a year

    • J Wilson

      I did notice in the box that Castro drew a couple walks in the last few games, were they good ABs or did the pitchers just bounce the ball-4s in the dirt? If Castro can only get on base at a .340+ clip, he’d be a great #2, possibly the best in the league. I won’t wager on it, but I hope Castro can start to allow others to drive in runs.

      • Brady

        From what I have seen they are good AB’s. He is making pitchers throw a lot of pitches and eventually they throw a bad one.

      • mikaylaaa

        yesterday and today, he was intentionally walked at least once. both times they threw balls in the dirt to him twice, then realized he wasn’t going to swing at them, and they gave up and just intentionally walked him.

        • Mat B

          If he’s laying off bad pitches and inducing opponents to walk him to get to RIZZOMG, I’d call those good at bats!

  • #1lahairfan

    Wood is also a good hitter

  • #1lahairfan

    We’re still in last by 0.5 a game.

  • Njriv

    What is that 3 game winning hits for Rizzo in 5 games?

    • joepoe321

      Cubs 4-1 with rizzo……..3 of the 4 wins, rizzo had the game winning hit!

  • Stu

    Baker came through. Good Job!!

  • calicubsfan007

    Wow, nice job Baker. I still think he sucks though. Rizzo might be the good luck charm. TWoo is being awesome and making Theo look smart.

  • chevy2nova

    I didn’t get to watch the game, but does anyone else think its weird that Dejesus got put in the game and then taken out fairly quickly?

    • RY34

      yeah what was that all about, r we thinking campy is a better defender than dejesus, i think not??

      • chevy2nova

        I’m thinking there may have been a trade, but what team would need Dejesus and why hasn’t it been announced?

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    Nice move by Sveum to pull Wood in the 8th in order to get the standing ovation. He knew he wasn’t coming back out in the 9th regardless…

  • blublud

    Shhhhhsshhh…. We don’t want to piss off the pro Marshall guys so don’t say it to loud, but Wood has 19.1 straight scoreless innings(as a starter). Anybody still think that was a bad trade.

    • Leroy K.

      but….but….LOL!!!! Keep it up T-Wood!!!

    • cubs1967

      sure 19.2 IP makes him an all-star……..just like all the other once cubs prospects who started out great like jeff pico who threw a shutout his 1st start, etc, etc.

      marshall; you know the guy, he of the .8 WAR, 2.16 xFIP and 11 plus K’s per 9 compared to wood of over 4.00 xFIP, and a .2 WAR.

      Shhhhhhhhhshhhh…..let’s see at year end.

      • Tommy

        cubs1967 – I wanna party with you, dude. You are a bottle of optimism and good times.

        • FromFenwayPahk

          Funny about a twinkie. You forget all about ’em for like, six months, and then you see ’em in the back of the cupboard. You think, “No, it can’t be!” But there it is; and still fresh, too.
          Where the eff you been, Tommy???

      • Leroy K.

        now say something nice….

      • Mrp

        You realize that 19.3 is about as many as Marshall has thrown (29) all season, right? Just thought I would toss that morsel out there for ya.

      • Drew7

        B-R has the WAR for each player at .7 & .6, with the edge to Wood…

      • Cubbie fan lost in Atlanta

        Cubs1967- Do you ever have anything positive to say about the cubs? Why the hell are you a Cubs fan if you can’t appreciate what they do? Do you just have a hard-on for Sean Marshall? I mean if your are ‘curious’ we promise we won’t judge you? Stop being so damn negative, and look at the glass half full, not half empty.

        • Carew

          I cant decide whos more negative, Cubs1967 or die hard

          • @cubsfantroy

            I think it is pretty much a tie. Cubs1967 gets the ignorance award though.

            • Cubs1967

              i think you get the coward award for calling someone ignorant behind a computer screen.
              really…..cuz i’m not ready to do cartwheels over 19.2 IP by wood? after seeing how many failed prospects since the 1970’s……get real.

              look in the mirror…….ignorance is bliss…..

              • BT

                Ahhh, before it was “one start” (even though it wasn’t one start), now it’s 19.2 innings. Soon it will be “3 weeks”, then it will be “one good half” that you aren’t going to do cartwheels over, but rest assured, the nanosecond Wood has ONE bad outing that single outing will certainly be proof that trading away a middle reliever with an expiring contract for him was the equivalent of Brock for Broglio. Mules have nothing on you dude.

              • @cubsfantroy

                I live in Rockford, Illinois, I will do them face to face with anyone too. I don’t need to hide behind a computer.

          • Drew7

            Diehard is harmless, the kind of posts where you just smile and shake your head.

            Cubs1967 has a couple very strong opinions that wont be changed, but I suppose we all do.

            Lets just say there have been many that are much worse…

            • MichiganGoat

              It’s time to just completely ignore these comments, we don’t want to do this dance anymore

              • Drew7

                At least he has some sort of support to his arguments though. It may just be me, but his posts dont bother me until the personal attacks and “coward” start getting tossed around.

                I just happen to disagree with just about everything he says, which is no big deal if you can be respectful about it. People just need to realize once the concept of civilized conversation is ignored (by either party), it does no good to continue the debate.

                • calicubsfan007

                  Drew7: Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Mrp

    But, but Sean Marshall……rabble, rabble, rabble.

    • Cubs1967

      but theo theo theo, he of the worst team in baseball……did you have a point?

      • whiteflag

        And we didn’t expect this going into the season? Are you really saying you would rather have a middle reliever over a potential number 3 starter, and two prospects that have potential to contribute in the future? If Marshall becomes a starter again maybe you have a point. But middle relievers are much easier to find than starters. Give Wood a chance he might fail, but he has looked pretty good of late.

        • RoughRiider

          It’s funny you should say that. If memory serves me correctly, Marshall pitched better than any starter in spring training a couple of years ago but wasn’t a starter when the season began because the Cubs needed him more as a reliever.

          Not to take anything away from Wood. I’m as thrilled as anyone that he’s pitching the way he is. But, He previously had a 17 inning stretch with the Reds too so until he has a sustained stretch of good starts I’m going to l’ll be sceptical but hopefull.

          • whiteflag

            Completely acceptable. We really all should be a little skeptical but as things stand with Wood starting and Marshall in relief, I like how the cubs fared. Selling high and buying low is rarely popular with the average fan, but those are the trades that turn organizations around. Lets hope this one of those trades.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    I have more confidence in the backend of the bullpen with Marmol pitching great lately with Russell and Camp as Set up guys along with Corpas who has done a decent job since he has been up

    • Scotti

      As long as you don’t over use Marmol he should be fine. And a fine Marmol is a very good closer.

  • Kevin

    The Cubs may have more talent than they even believed. Theo & Jed, please don’t sell cheap.

  • willis

    5 out of 6? Me likes.

    I was 100% wrong about Wood. He has been lights out lately. I’d love it if he can be a mainstay in this rotation. His ceiling is probably a 3…maybe a 4 but it’s nice to have a left handed innings eater.

  • lou brock lives

    DeJesus caught a fly ball after his entry as a defensive replacement & then made a throw back into Barney which gave every indication that something was wrong with his arm. I believe he was taken out because they saw the same thing from the bench & are concerned about his left arm.

  • Ted

    SS Castro
    1B Rizzo
    3B Vitters
    C Clevenger/Castillo
    2B Barney

    SP Wood
    SP Samardjizaj

    This is likely where we stand at the end of 2012. We’re an ace, a cleanup hitter, a leadoff hitter, and a bullpen away from contending — do we buy this offseason?

    Fwiw looking ahead to the next two offseasons, possibly-attainable free agents in the OF include Granderson, Ellsbury, Upton (BJ), Franceour and SPs include Greinke, Hamels, Sanchez (Anibal), Johnson (Josh), Halladay, Santana.

    • Andrew

      Dejesus has been a pretty decent leadoff hitter to me and hes locked in for next year. I’d be much quicker to lock in Jackson to next year than Vitters simply because of more seasoning for Jackson, although both of them starting next year wouldnt surprise me terribly. i believe several minor leaguers in iowa are going to be using this year to audition for a role on the team next year

    • JoeyCollins

      Still don’t buy. Depending on what we get this trade season that could change a little but id like to see 2 or 3 of those blanks filled by guys in the organization now. We just wont know what guys will pan out for atleast one more year.

  • jim

    Wen u watch weekday baseball u becum cub fan. Wen u becum cub fan u make lahair all star 😉

    • TWC

      Wen u typ lik dat u sound lik idiot

  • jim

    Larussa is a cub fan like us! He is retired and watches weekday day baseball!!

  • @cubsfantroy

    I used to read a dictionary and a thesaurus. Then, I would worry about my grammar and spelling.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Mr. Darwin Barney is leading the NL Second Baseman in defense this year. Only 1 error puts him in front of all second baseman in the NL for the Gold Glove. He is like 3rd in best range to balls in play. I think he has great range and has made and continues to routinely make some very difficult plays. As we look around the league and MLB we have to realize that he isn’t a power hitter and he is never going to be a plus .300 hitter. But I like him and we could be in a whole lot worse place without him. I know there are people on here who don’t think much of him. I’m not one of those people. He does everything you ask of him and he compliments Starlin extremely well. IMO he is the Glenn Beckert of my younger days as a Cubs fan. I hope Theo/Jed keep Darwin Barney on this team. I think he mans Second base for a while (until we have developed a better baseball player at 2B). If Barney was a fan favorite and got a little more recognition he would have the Gold Glove locked up this year. But… it’s a vote and Brandon Phillips who is declining on defense will win the popularity contest. Brandon Phillips will know who the best Second Baseman is on defense and that is OUR GUY!!!

    • Carew

      I love this post

    • @cubsfantroy

      I agree with this whole comment, minus one point. I think with some more experience, Barney will hover around the .300+ range. I could be wrong, but I think he has the potential to do it.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Barney would need a great BABiP season to hut 0.300. He simply puts too many non-strikes into play and too rarely drives the ball: and thus he is going to hit too mant fieldable balls. It could happen once or twice: Larry Bowa managed it once this way,for example. But it won’t be common.

        • @cubsfantroy

          As it stands now, what is his BABIP? Just out of curiosity.

        • Turn Two

          Not sure he even needs to hit .300. Every good team has a few guys like Barney. Real solid defensively, comes up with the occasional clutch hit, from all signs that I have seen is a potential leader in the clubhouse and is comfortable with Castro around the bag for double plays, shifts, etc.. Not to mention that while he is not particularly fast he is an excellent baserunner. He is the protypical high I.Q. guy. I am not saying he is an elite second baseman or that he will ever be in that discussion. However, when you are building a team you need a few guys like Barney and a middle infield that grows together can be awful fun to watch as they get better and better defensively.

    • JoeyCollins

      Been thinking this for a few weeks now and preaching it to all of my barney-bashing friends. Now that the the juice has left baseball and hitting stats have returned to human levels I think barneys 10 to 15 pts short of being an elite 2nd baseman.

      • calicubsfan007

        Joey: I could agree to that. I like Barney, he’s underrated.

      • Drew7

        Im not sure what *points* you’re referring to, but I think I’d disagree regardless. Barney, even with his above average defense, is still a touch below average offensively. Until his offense is sustained at an above average level, being *elite* will elude him.

    • Mat B

      I agree, very underrated player. Don’t worry about a popularity contest. I believe the Gold Glove is voted on by writers. I know it’s not a fan vote.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Being uplifted by our Winning Streak.. we officially have a winning streak going. ya baby.
    We have some nice positives in the fold and I think things are improving. I hope that LaHair’s nomination to the all star team gives him a confidence boost and he gets back to form. He has shown some signs he is wanting break out of his rut.

    All Positive:
    Soriano – Continues to lead by example and is playing well on offense and defense.
    Castro – Allstar learning to look at some pitches
    Rizzo – Awesome Start to his Cubbie Career
    LaHair – Allstar that’s awesome for this guy
    Barney – leading in Gold Glove this year
    Soto (throwing and hitting +++ lately)
    Marmol – Well he is pitching like he is supposed too and that’s real positive
    Valbueno (god we should have had him at 3B all season)
    T. Wood – WOW … we get to wear our Wood jersey’s again.. :) and it doesn’t cost a thing.
    Maholm – quietly has been getting better. Remember he wasn’t anywhere 100% healthwise at the beginning of the season! He’s getting better.
    The Bullpen – has been better in the last 10 days… let’s keep it going.
    * We aren’t embarrassing ourselves on defense like we did the past few years. *

    Things we need to fix. Dempster, SpellCheck and Garza. Hopefully we get better healthwise and we get better starts from SpellCheck and Garza. (hi pitch counts not many innings)

    I don’t want to talk about any negative stuff because we have a Winning Streak Going

    • Spencer

      I wish I had your optimism about Valbuena.

      • art

        i’m with you, he has no history of hitting and his D doesn’t show me anything.

  • SM

    How about the horseshit call at first?

  • Toby

    I’m not sure if accounts were hacked but Jon Morosi is reporting that Atlanta is close to acquiring Zack Greinke and Boston is close to acquiring Cole Hammels. If this turns out to be true then one would think that Atlanta might not be a place that Garza ends up if he is traded. If Boston gets Hammels then do Baltimore, Toronto, and Yankees step up offers for Garza.

    • @cubsfantroy

      I think Hamels will be a last minute deal if one is done. Philly is going to hold out as long as possible. Greinke to Atlanta though, I buy that one. Especially since the Brewers aren’t going to get to the playoffs and I doubt he resigns with them.

      • Toby

        I saw the tweets from Terry Francona’s twitter account. It looks like his account was hacked because I haven’t read any news about Greinke or Hammels.

        • @cubsfantroy

          I was just on Twitter and Starlin had a tweet saying his account was hacked. There was a weird tweet by him earlier. So possibly, there were some hacked accounts.

          • Toby

            I should have known better because it’s rare to see two blockbuster trades so close together that’s not near the trading deadline.

            • @cubsfantroy

              Eh, we all do it.

              • calicubsfan007

                @Cubsfantroy: I saw that 1967 called you a coward. I am sorry about that. If it makes you feel any better, he called me one too.

                • Cubs1967

                  so don’t call people names on the computer; what a tough guy you must be. did your mother not teach you anything?
                  it’s called cyberbullying and not acceptable.just because you don’t agree with someone’s opinion; act like a 3d grader and call them names. really a class act. real cubs fans don’t do that; only must be the theo bandwagon effect. grow up!

                  • calicubsfan007

                    1967: I’m sorry? I didn’t call anyone a name. I was trying to be nice to @cubsfantroy.

            • THEOlogical

              The Braves have said that they are going after Greinke but only if his price drops to around 15 mil/yr. Right now he is supposedly asking for 20 mil/yr. And that’s in a longterm contract, they don’t want a rental.

  • AD

    Vitters and Brett Jackson each with at least two extra base hits apiece tonight!

    • Colin

      Cardenas 3-5 w/2 doubles and Sappelt went yard. Sucks they lost after coming back down by so much.

      • calicubsfan007

        Cardenas hits so well in the minors, why couldn’t he do anything major in the bigs when he was up?

        • Crockett

          Could’ve been the 39 PAs in 25 games with only 7 starts.

          Not given much of a chance is an understatement. I’m hopeful someone offers something decent for Barney and he’s gone and Cardenas gets a chance in the 2nd half.

  • calicubsfan007

    Wow, some negativity has occurred while I was off. Wow. I won’t say more because I REALLY don’t feel like being called a coward again, it just pisses me off. Guys, question the info, not a person’s character.

    • rhino70

      A-MEN!!! Please quit with the name calling, etc.

      I used to be a daily visitor to NSBB. Over the last year or so, that site has degenerated badly. A lot of name calling and bickering between members, which adds nothing of value for the average reader.

      Fortunately, I found this place. Now I come here daily, or rather several times each day, to get my Cubs “fix”.

      Please don’t let this site follow the same path as NSBB. Once it starts, it’s a slippery slope.

  • Kbreezy

    I’ve been really impressed with Rizzo so far. His defense seems smooth and effortless and his hitting has been good. I always have to tell myself not to let the .263 average fool me, he’s been in games with 2 lefties, and has only struck out a couple of times (both of which I believe came against those lefties). I’ve also noticed that he does EXTREMELY well with runners on base which is what the Cubs need.

    With Vitters “finding himself” in AAA, he could turn out to be what we thought he would. My question is: do you guys think that maybe the combo of Dale and the new hitting coach in the majors could help Jackson cut down on those K’s??

    • Colin

      I think with Jackson we will have to deal with the K’s but hey if he can hit in the upper 200s and give good defense, speed and OBP skills with power? That’s a very solid regular at a premium position.

  • Mat B

    All right, all right, as long as Wood continues the way he has, I’ll call that trade a success, regardless of what Sappelt & Torreyes do. Marshall was a tough piece to give away though. I still think he could transition back to the starting rotation.