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More shocking: the Cubs win, or the game got off without any kind of interference from the rain?

Trick question. It was the scoreless 9th from Carlos Marmol.

Carlos Villanueva was dominant once again, giving up only a couple of solo homers, and the Cubs and Rangers defied the weather odds by getting a full game in today. Welington Castillo had a nice 4-4 day, and Anthony Rizzo killed the ball all day (including a 475 foot homer). Alfonso Soriano also got his first homer/RBI of the year.

You’re not going to crap on the offense too hard on a day when they “exploded” for six runs, but they sure left a lot of runs out there on the bases. They went just 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position, and left 10 on base (over just 8 innings – yo).

But, hey, a win’s a win. And this was a good one over a good team. Here’s how Cubs fans watched this game …

april 18 box

  • magilljl

    HA. Very accurate. Nice win today. Good to see the bats show up to back Villenuevas awesome performance.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Lol nice thought on the rain.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Well, the rangers didn’t leave any on base. I think I’d take our stat. It’s one of those stats that is a bit of a misnomer. If you get a bunch of hits your bound to leave some on base.

    • Spencer

      Exacty. I’ll take the LOB today because we actually scored runs. It’s hard to get 13 hits and not have a high LOB, unless you’re hitting a lot of dongers.

  • Cerambam

    Or castros 2 walks!

    Power from sori
    Strikes from marmol
    Walks for Castro

    What’s going on?!

  • DarthHater

    Wow, Sveum, Theo, and Ricketts must be really pissed at the team for winning this one. Aren’t the players on board with “The Plan?” :-P

  • Kyle

    That was easily the most enjoyable game of the year. That ball Rizzo hit was just stunning. I wish it had come in front of a bigger crowd so that their stunned silence would have been more noticeable. That has to compare favorably with any home run hit since Sosa.

    I want so badly to go on a stupid little 6-game win streak or something and get this team into relevance. They aren’t playing badly enough to deserve to be 5-9.

    • jayrig5

      Especially when you consider who they’ve had to play.

    • jdblades

      It was the longest homerun in the majors this year 475 feet

    • DarthHater

      I didn’t get to see this one, but I did see the comeback win after Fergie sang in the 7th inning stretch. Personally, I found that one pretty enjoyable. :-D

  • Rudy

    No mention of Beef? Dude’s at .425!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He’s mentioned.

  • Andrew

    nobody rains on the ‘stache two days in a row

  • Blublud

    Looking at each player at there individual positions leads me to believe this Cubs team is close to actually being very good this year.

    Castillo is doing exactly what I said he would. Hit!!!!!
    Rizzo starting to hit the ball hard.
    Barney will probably be typical Barney. (It is what it is)
    Castro is looking good.
    Valbuena is ewwww!!!!
    Schierholz is looking like a super star. Another couple weeks and I might be on the banwagon
    Dejesus is Dejesus
    And Soriano seem to be coming around. It bout to be warm.

    If we can replace Valbuena and our starting pitching continues, we are going to start winning a lot of games.

    • Andrew

      “Valbuena is ewwww!!!!”

      I don’t see how you can be critical of him this season. So far he has actually been decent. .222/.363/.361 line after todays game. Those are solidly average numbers.

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        I was very critical of Valbuena, but he has been surprisingly good for what I expected from him. His avg. still sucks though…

      • jdblades

        His defense looks good too. I still think a healthy Ian Stewart is an upgrade, they are similar in defense, Stewart with the slight edge, there OBP are similar, but Stewart has some pop. If he stays healthy I can see him hitting 15-20. He hit some monster homeruns last year, granted not very many, but with a bad wrist. If that wrist is 100% I can see him redeem Theo, in many folks eyes, for that trade.

        • Andrew

          I agree Stewart is probably an upgrade as a starter if he turns it around, but I think Valbuena will be a pretty valuable bench guy when Stewart gets back

      • Blublud

        There is absolutely nothing average about valbuena. He couldn’t hit the ball hard if you sat it on a tee in front of him. He is riding an abnormal walk rate for him that will eventually come back to reality. Dude is absolute hot garbage. I’m praying for Ian Stewart to be healthy, and Watkins and Vitters to show they can play so we can 86 his ass.

        • Andrew

          Walking is completely in the control of the hitter though so its not as unsustainable as other stats like babip that keep his average down. He has been batting in front of the pitcher so that has helped the walks, but getting a guy on base always helps the team score runs and win games. The cubs need guys that can get on base and right now Valbuena is doing that. He’s also a solid defender on top of that. He’s not great but he is better than “eww”

          • Blublud

            There is no way he can keep his walk rate this high. Once the secret (or not so secret) info that he can’t hit gets out, he’ll stop getting those walks. If I was a pitcher, I would throw him three fastballs right down the middle, know the worse I could do against him is 1-4.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Valbuena has had an above average walk rate his entire career, so clearly this idea is not how it actually works.

              • Blublud

                Exactly. So when his 20% walk rate that he currently has this season returns back the 10% that’s normal for him, his OBP will drop back to sub .300, his average at Mendoza line-ish at best, and his player status back to horrible. And you guys said Campana couldn’t hit.

                If you really think he’ll maintain an OBP .162 higher then his average, then you don’t know baseball.

                • hansman1982

                  Wait, so, maybe we are dealing with an unsustainable level of production from someone? Could it be due to the sample size or has Valbuena broken out?

                  I love watching you rate players, really, its artwork.

                  • TWC

                    I’m stunned at how quickly Blu is willing to accept Schierholtz into his heart after >>savaging<< him after he was signed this off season.

                    Mind-blowingly fickle.

                    • hansman1982

                      Or, Marwin Gonzalez’s AMAZING run so far this season is him breaking out.

                    • Blublud

                      It’s not about the numbers. There is no way Schierholz continues his numbers. But his approach and ability to hit the ball with solid contact is what I’m impressed with. I’m not on his banwagon yet, but if he continues, I’ll get there.

                      As for valbuena, coming into today, he had 8 walks in 40 at-bats, 2 intentional. That’s a 20% walk rate. That’s is not sustainable over the course of a season for him. Even last year when he had a career high 11.9% walk rate, he had a .310 OBP. I suppose he’ll he be somewhere around those numbers again In a couple weeks. He very rarely makes solid contact. With Stewart back at third, I think a Vitters or Watkins with upside is better on this roster.

                  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                    I saw you post the other day that you watch a lot of porno. What are your favorite websites?

                    • Blublud

                      Dude, that was a joke to a previous comment. Can’t remember to who. Not really a porn watcher. You should be able to tell considering I used all old porn names in the post.

                    • tsb

                      Here’s one: chicago.whitesox.mlb.com

                    • Spencer

                      there’s porn on the internet?

                    • DarthHater
                    • hansman1982

                      “Here’s another: https://twitter.com/JoeHansman

                      I see someone has jokes…

                    • DarthHater

                      I’m sorry. I, the illustrious DarthHater, hereby state that hansman’s twitter feed is not, I repeat, NOT a porn site. :-D

          • jdblades

            He has been batting seventh

    • MichiganGoat

      Did you just praise Scheirholtz?

      • Blublud

        Shit, they way he’s been playing, how could I not. I’ll give credit where credit is due, even if it proves me wrong.

    • JoeyCollins

      We’re about to replace valbueba…. bring on ian stewart

      • jt

        Valbuena trails only Schierholz and Castillo in Cubs OBP while playing a very good “D”.

    • jt

      Cubs need another knocker, stopper and ace to be good.
      When all are playing well, are healthy and are not traded they are good enough to win some games.
      But there guys are going to get tired, hurt and traded.

  • Kyle

    Castillo is riding the patented “Steve Clevenger Everything My Bat Touches in April Falls for a Hit” train.

    • Andrew

      True but even if more of those balls found mitts, he would still be pretty good so far this season

    • Featherstone

      Nuh Uh, He’s going to continue hitting at a .361/.395/.500 throughout the season. His BABIP of .444 is obviously sustainable.

      • hansman1982

        Given that stat line, I’d put him closer to the Bryan LaHair school of batting.

    • jdblades

      Except that Castilla has a much higher ceiling than Clevinger and is a good looking starting catcher prospect while Clevinger is projected as a back up.I sure as hell hope he doesn’t flame out like Steve-O did last year.

      • Kyle

        A year ago at this time, Castillo was considered a slightly better prospect but they were mostly interchangeable.

        I’m not really sure that’s changed much. I’m guessing Castillo long-term is a serviceable but below-average starter, and Clevenger is an above-average backup.

        • Noah

          That’s just not true. I don’t have my 2012 BA prospect handbook handy, but Castillo was ranked as the 6th best prospect in the Cubs’ system a year ago. Clevenger was at least not in the top 10. Kevin Goldstein listed Castillo as the 3rd best prospect in the Cubs’ system. Clevenger was not in his Top 20. Castillo was No. 14 for FanGraphs, Clevenger was not mentioned. Welington Castillo was rated number 9 by Sickels, and a C+ prospect. He did not list Clevenger as a prospect at all.

          In other words, almost no one even considered Clevenger a prospect a year ago.

        • gutshot5820

          Sveum said that Clevenger’s bat was “slump-proof.” So you have that.

      • JulioZuleta

        Castillo’s playing fine behind the plate, too. Of course I guess anything looks good when compared to Dioner Navarro this year. He looks like he’s trying to catch the ball on the end of a spear.

    • JulioZuleta

      Hah yeah, I remember he was hitting .571 after 3 weeks or something. That said, I don’t expect Castillo to drop off nearly as dramatically as I expected Clevenger to. He could hit .260-.270 with solid power numbers. Maybe slightly better.

    • mjhurdle

      At work so i can’t research it as through as possible, but I remember reading somewhere that Castillo has always had a high BABIP throughout his time in the minors.
      If that was true, then maybe Castillo’s market correction is not going to be as severe as might otherwise be expected.

  • CubsFanBob

    Am I crazy or genius ? I just picked up Marmol as a replacement for an injured relief pitcher in my fantasy league.

  • Rizzo44

    Great win. Feels great. We should play 2!! Rain looks like its moving outta here for the night….

  • arealpoy

    “exploded”? this is clearly an example of plagiarism. i saw this in the comments earlier today.

    moran.

  • Jason

    Nice to see Castillo still red hot. It could be a huge boost to the rebuild if he establishes himself as a long-term solution at catcher. .260/.330/.430 would be great with 10-15 home runs.

  • Rcleven

    Fun game to watch today.
    First game the Cubs excelled in three phases. Pitching,hitting and defense.
    Excited to watch this starting rotation.

  • wkranz54

    This team is still going to be frustrating to watch, but I have to say it looks like Theo and company have made some nice moves this off-season. Villanueva and Schierholtz have definitely outweighed the bad of Feldman, Jackson (maybe), and Fujikawa.

    • Andrew

      way too early to say that. There is still more than enough time for fujikawa, feldman and jackson to turn their seasons around and there is more than enough time for schierholtz and villanueva to regress

      • willis

        Feldman blows. But the rest of the argument is valid. Fuji has some good stuff if he can stay healthy, EJax will be fine, and the two mentioned that are off the hook right now, that’s going to slow down. But damn are they on fire. Villanueva looks awesome on the bump and Schierholtz is just killing it. Great to see.

  • Zack

    Welington Castillo is starting to be my favorite player… Hitting about .414. That’s saying something

  • Die hard

    As stated B4…. bet 6…. It’s a winner this year and avoids 100 losses

  • Blublud

    My prediction of Castillo going to the all-star is looking better and better everyday. He won’t hit .400, but this can absolutely smash.

  • ruby2626

    Yes Clevinger did have an abnormally high BABIP early last season but the real amazing guy was LeHair. For the longest time his was mid .600’s which is incredible. Rizzo seems like he’s getting a bit unlucky in this stat, lot of line drives to left seem to be right at the OF. Loved his 10 pitch at bat in the first inning Tuesday night then a line drive off the 1B, maybe his swing is coming around.

  • another JP

    Finishing the upcoming road trip at 5-5 would be a nice shot in the arm. At this point I’m much more impressed with Villanueva than Schierholtz- it looks like both these guys have figured a few things out in the prime of their careers. If Sori and Rizzo get hot, look out-

  • gutshot5820

    Love the fanaticism of this site. When the cubs lose, “the sky is falling.” When they win ONE game, all of the sudden, the team isn’t so bad, The daily contrast is always good for a few laughs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I love the Cubs! I just hate everything about them!

      • cubsnivy56

        LOL

    • Kyle

      I’ve been on the “they aren’t nearly as good as they should be, but not as bad as some think” train all along. Whether they win or lose decides which half of that thought I focus on.

    • DarthHater

      Love the douchebag contingent at this site. If people say the sky is falling, the d-bags piss and moan about their irrational overreaction. If people say things aren’t so bad, the d-bags piss and moan about their cultlike sheepness. The unvarying consistency is always good for a few laughs.

      • hansman1982

        I love the d-bag pointing out other d-bags contingent. Regardless of what anyone says about anything they piss and moan about them saying something.

        The unvarying consistency is always good for a few laughs.

        • DarthHater

          …whined Mr. Morken-Is-A-Troll.

          • hansman1982

            Shut up you A@# F@#^^@* K#$! A)(!!!!!!!

            • Cubbie Blues

              Cubert is offended by this. ^

              • hansman1982

                Sane people are offended by this ^

            • DarthHater

              Why don’t you just go back to posting hamburger comments. It might distract you from eating the–which, judging by your photo, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

              • Whiteflag

                Is this a joke?

                • Cubbie Blues

                  Yes, it is. At east coming from Darth. Now, Morken, actually did say things along those lines.

                  • Whiteflag

                    Good. I thought I was witnessing an ugly break-up.

                    • DarthHater

                      The Four Goatmen of the Apocalypse are no more. Diehard will be crushed. :-P

                    • TWC

                      I can’t remember — was I part of that?

                    • DarthHater

                      It doesn’t matter any more … *sniff*

                • DarthHater

                  I don’t know, Whiteflag. Is anything here not a joke? The guy directly called me a d-bag and a “A@# F@#^^@* K#$! A)(!!!!!!!” whatever that means. I’d say my response was rather restrained.

                  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

                    Anybody that knows at least a little bit about baseball knows you are none of those things

                    Next

                    • DarthHater

                      More soup for you! ;-)

                  • Whiteflag

                    Just glad the four goatmen are sticking together.

                    • hansman1982

                      I was offered double hamburger rations. How can you not say yes to that?

                    • DarthHater

                      [img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8258/8662341180_98ae03c309.jpg[/img]

              • hansman1982

                But, but, but…

                I’m the league leader in wHAMBURGERS (think about that one for a second)

                I can’t let my fantasy owners down…

                Bdutk bgie, (sorry, fat finger syndrome)

                But, But, But…I EAT HAMBURGERS BECAUSE YOU GUYS TEASE ME ABOUT BEING FAT…..

                [img]http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/milkmandantx/tearsofousadness-1.gif[/img] (which one am I?)

                • hansman1982

                  Wait…maybe if I sit in the bleachers, my gravitational attraction will cause more Cubbie home runs!

                  • DarthHater

                    What are you going to do when the visiting team is batting? :-P

                    • hansman1982

                      Well, I’m sure they need a crane for the video board installation. They could use that to put me behind home plate.

                      Pitchers will be throwing 150MPH

                    • DarthHater

                      Sadly, the internet does not seem to contain a single picture of Jennifer Lawrence eating a hamburger, or I would have posted one for you. This is the best I could find:
                      [img]http://25.media.tumblr.com/445ca0f8d009066f7ff29a2b76a78e6a/tumblr_mhah9xLpRn1riyni7o1_500.gif[/img]

                    • hansman1982

                      Don’t think I haven’t searched for that. Multiple times.

  • JR

    The craziest thing at looking at the box score to me has to be Castro’s 2 walks. That is great to see. I love what Wellington is doing too, obviously..

  • JulioZuleta

    I believe Starlin has been on base for all 4 of Rizzo’s HRs. Starlin has pretty quietly been damn good this year.

    • hansman1982

      I checked out Baseball-reference and your thoughts are correct. 4 for 4 with Castro being on base. Also, all 4 times, Castro was the only one on base.

  • JulioZuleta

    Also, Baez and Soler eached singled in the first inning of the Daytona game.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Who cares?

    • willis

      Ha, but that damn pitching of Daytona can leave a lot to be desired. Yesterday was great, but Tuesday and today, ewwwwwwwsssshhhh.

  • willis

    First things first with a good team-rotation. So far so good there. Minus Feldman who will soon enough be replaced by Garza.

    The lineup isn’t really all that awful. The bench…meh. And the hard headed RH lineup…terrible. But, overall things have been ok with the regular starting lineup.

    Bullpen-terrible. Managing-worse.

    A couple of those get righted a little and this is at least a .500 team. Which I for one, would be happy to see. I just want to see continued improvement from these guys and be out there every day playing their asses off. Great win today. Villanueva is freaking nails.

  • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Alcantara with a 3-4 tonight… That following what he did last night is impressive. He had good numbers last year as well. He plays a premium position. He’s a switch hitter. I think Alcantara ends up with a lot more value then anyone could of previously thought.

    • #1lahairfan

      Yea Alacantara is one of my favorite prospects. I think if he polishes up on defense (30 or so errors last year) he can be our second basemen of the future. Him, Torreyes, and possibly Watkins would all be fine with me at second.

    • Marc N.

      Another guy who is quietly building himself into a solid trade chip/prospect.

  • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

    Isn’t he the guy who makes about 48 errors a year

  • Marc N.

    While I only have one foot on the Castillo wagon right now but I will say this:

    – He’s in great shape right now.

    – I was impressed with his first base hit yesterday against the fastball up in the zone. Len and Jim noted how he seems to get on top of the high ball well as a hitter.

    That said, cheap C is useful for alot of people and I don’t see him as a ten year guy here. The Rays would probably love a guy like him…and Barney, who still has three pre-FA years left after this year kills his pre-arb years.

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