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The Cubs came back from an early deficit, only to lose the game in extras. That is literally my least favorite kind of loss. Chris Rusin gave up twice as many hits as innings he pitched, but the bullpen was brilliant from there on out. Starlin Castro had a huge game, while David DeJesus had a forgettable one – he was 0-6 at the plate, and his 11th inning error set the stage for the Reds to take their final lead.

At least there was once nice thing to celebrate.

  • FFP

    The FOUR PH 0-1 (LaHair, Sappelt, Mather, Clevenger) highlights the only thing I am finding discomfitting about NL play. I think struggling hitters, in the whole, don’t benefit much from one plate appearance every maybe-other day. A guy like LaHair needs to get into the rhythm, I think (I know it’s tough to give him, in particular, those opportunities since lots of pitchers throw with the other hand).

    Sure there is a lot of drama around a veteran, semi-injured, once-hero guy limping into the batters box, for the first time in the game, in late innings to teach a deep bullpen kid how things are done in the majors; but that’s not this team this year.

    I don’t enjoy seeing guys like these coming in cold night after night. You don’t see this so much in the AL (or in nine inning games, or in games with strong starters; so that’s why last night put a fine point on it for me).

    I spent this year adjusting to watching NL play, and largely like it over AL play. But on nights like last night, and with guys (whom I like) like those four, I don’t.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      But don’t guys like these see even less playing time in the AL? OK, the backup catcher in the AL will get the same number of starts (usually one per turn of the rotation), but without a pitcher, guys on an AL bench usually stay there the entire game (as you note).

      At any rate, there certainly have been a lot of guys who do pretty well as pinch-hitters. Of course, if they do too well, then usually they stop being pinch-hitters and start being regulars.

      • FFP

        Good question. There are lots of moving pieces here, not the least of which is out-of-sight-out-of-mind aspect of bench players (esp. in the AL as you note). That this is a late season (no minors) game and a 40 man roster play into my gut reaction, too.

        Plus I keep pulling for LaHair, which has got me seeing each night’s one-maybe plate appearance as personal high leverage situation.

        I’ll get used to it, I suppose. I gotta.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Is it me, or is Castro playing better since he signed the contract?

    • Cubbie Blues

      I doubt it has anything to do with signing his contract, but rather he is getting more comfortable with his new approach at the plate. In addition, if Castro’s BABIP was the same as the last two years, his numbers would be nearly identical to his career numbers.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Or it’s just the standard fluctuations around the mean. If you look at Castro’s month-by-month statistics, they are pretty much what you expect from a consistent 0.300 hitter. Half of his months are “plus,” have are “down” (just like every other MLBer), and this season has just contributed to that.

        Really, the only thing that is different is that a greater proportion of Castro’s batted balls are dropping in for singles than in June or July. His K’s, BB’s and XBH are all within the range you’d expect for each month this year.

        • Cubbie Blues

          I thought that I was saying about the same thing. His SLG is about the same as his career numbers, so, what he isn’t getting are those singles that he got in the last couple of years. Those non-singles show up in his lower BABIP this year.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Oh, sure. I just don’t think his altered approach even needs to be taken into account. Obviously, baseball is a never ending Red Queen affair: but in truth we’ve seen Castro getting a lot of ground ball and soft line drive singles lately, and that’s probably not due to his altered approach.

            (I suppose that it is possible that altering the stance shifts where balls will go by a couple of feet, which usually is all the difference between a single and an out on grounders, soft liners, etc.; however, that’s just a guess.)

  • Featherstone

    Congrats to Soriano on the 30hr/100rbi campaign especially on a team as putrid as this. Its really rather impressive. Castro really starting to string quite a few hits together and although he wont hit .300 this year its good to see an improvement on plate discipline and an increase in his power numbers.

  • Cedlandrum

    This game is why the w/l stat is stupid. Cabrera gets the L. What a joke

  • Brick Thompson

    Castro looks like hes aiming for 200 hits. Hes at 169 right now. Will he do it???

    • ssckelley

      It is almost impossible as there is only 13 games left. He averages 4 at bats per game which will give him another 52 for the rest of the season. He would need to hit almost .600 the rest of the way to reach 200 hits. I think he could achieve 190 hits by hitting .403 the rest of the way.

    • Chris

      No.

  • ssckelley

    The disappointing part of last nights game was watching Castillo swinging for the fences so hard that he fell over when all he had to do was make good contact. The Cubs did not need a 3 run home run all they needed was 1.

    • TonyS

      I was more disappointed with Clevengers 1st pitch swing as the pinch hitter. I think the winning run was on 3rd at the time.

      • BluBlud

        I was more satisfied with Clevengers first pitch swing. Winning does us no good right now.

  • BluBlud

    At the begining of the year, I stated my opinion on afew things.

    Things I was right about:
    Not trading Soriano just to save a couple bucks.(boy did he prove me right.
    Trading for Volstad was a mistake.(boy did he prove me right)
    Dempster would have a decent season.
    Maholm was a great pickup
    Dejesus signing was a good move.
    Trading for Rizzo instead of signing Pujols/Fielder
    Shark as a good starting pitcher.
    The Marshall trade was a good move.

    Things I was wrong about:
    Zabrano Cy Young Campaign.
    Stewart trade was a good move.
    Wells would have a rebound season.
    Jackson would breakout once he arrived
    Vitters was a MLB starter.
    Cubs would be close to .500

    8 out of 14 is not so bad. I would say that makes me about as accurate or more accurate as the average ESPN MLB analyst.

    • ssckelley

      I would debate you on DeJesus, I look for sluggers in the corner outfield spots not leadoff guys. DeJesus leads the team in walks, OBP, and plays good defense but there is a reason why he is playing on the Cubs instead of a playoff team. His slugging percentage is one of the worst in all of baseball for a right fielder, and getting on base all those times and taking walks do not help you much when he has little to no speed and no one hitting behind him to knock him in. After losing Ramirez in the off season the Cubs needed another slugger in the lineup. I know hindsight is always 20/20 but Ryan Ludwick would have looked nice in the Cubs lineup and he is making 1/2 of what DeJesus signed for.

      • Drew7

        “I look for sluggers in the corner outfield spots not leadoff guys.”

        -This isn’t the problem as much as…

        “no one hitting behind him to knock him in.”

        -This. You need guys in your lineup to get on base, and as the Yankees have shown with Brett Gardner, those guys can play the corner OF. The difference is, these guys get great slugging from positions you don’t typically find it (2B, CF).

        In the end, its all about producing more net runs than the other guy at your position, and DDJ has been almost exactly average in doing so. So the problem lies not so much with him, but with guys like Valbuena and the crop of CF’ers (and Barney, if we are judging from a purely offensive-standpoint).

        • ssckelley

          That was my point, we need more players in the lineup to knock in those runners than players getting on base and not being able to get to 2nd on their own. You are losing one of the corner outfield positions that could be used on a slugger. Like you said if you have slugging coming from other typical non slugging positions like CF or 2nd then you can get away with someone like DeJesus playing right field. But since the Cubs don’t and those type of players are harder to find than slugging right fielders I consider DeJesus a bad signing.

          Again the Cubs needed another slugger after losing Ramirez and they relied to much on Stewart being able to rebound. They went into the season with Soriano, Byrd, and DeJesus as their starting outfield and the opening day lineup was horrible.

  • fortyonenorth

    Well, on the bright side, the game provided a lot of teachable moments. I hope Dale capitalized on the opportunity.

    Sorry to see Barney’s hit streak end, but I think that overall his approach has been better. I was surprised to hear that last night’s was his first strikeout is fifty-some PAs.

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