Just a Matter of Facing Good Pitching? and Other Bullets

starlin-castro-batDo we have a lot of NBA and NHL fans around here? Not that I’m necessarily encouraging it, but I don’t see a lot of side conversations in the comments about the two Finals, except for that hour after the Blawkhawks won the other night. I’m guessing we have more Blackhawks fans around here than Heat/Spurs/NBA fans, but I was kind of just curious. And then I wonder how large the Bulls fan contingent is here, and then I wonder about Bears fans, too.

  • Dale Sveum and teammates are talking about Starlin Castro’s 3 for 7 (one double) day as thought it has turned his season around. Sveum called it Castro’s best day of the year “by far.” That seems like a bit much, but hopefully they’re right about this getting things going for him. Castro got some grief from folks for that double, which looked like a walk-off homer off the bat in the 9th, but ended up falling just short, off the wall in center field. Castro wasn’t exactly busting it on the basepaths, and cruised into second base at a slow trot. Could he have had a triple if he’d been running full speed off the bat? Maybe. I don’t really feel strongly enough either way to defend or attack.
  • In talking about moving Castro back up to the two-spot yesterday, Dale Sveum also got into the general offensive struggles he’s seeing across the board with the Cubs lately, and he noted that the Cubs have faced a lot of good pitching lately. You can call it an excuse, but it now occurs to me, as I’ve typed out Pre-Gamin’ posts for the past couple weeks, and I don’t remember the last time I was writing about an opposing pitcher with a truly brutal set of stats. The Reds and Pirates have great pitching this year. The Angels threw Jered Weaver and Jason Vargas (who had just completed a pitcher-of-the-month kind of May) at the Cubs. The Diamondbacks have good pitching. Even that White Sox series that the Cubs dominated featured some good pitching.
  • Reliever Zach Putnam’s elbow issue appears to indeed be the bone spur, about which the team was already aware. The team, team doctor, and Putnam are expected to figure out the best course of action at this point, assuming the MRI revealed no other serious issues. It could be a matter of rest, alteration of mechanics, or surgery (or a combination of all three).
  • There’s a conversation over at the Message Board about Welington Castillo’s fielding prowess – how it compares to the rest of the league, and how much better it is than Dioner Navarro’s. The upshot is that Castillo’s overall defense, thought to be a drag as recently as last year, now looks like it’s solidly better than league average.
  • A James Russell family story.
  • Kevin Gregg remains stupid good this year. He’s striking out 29.5% of the batters he faces, and walks just 9%. The former is a career high, and the latter is his lowest in seven years.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

160 responses to “Just a Matter of Facing Good Pitching? and Other Bullets”

  1. Sacko

    Hey Einstein here to tell whoever told me that and on how to reply yesterday, De J hit a H R yes ter day and Cubs win. Here’s more info on the stats for Sweeney, he will be gone next year as well as the entire OF and with a little luck even Sori. Can’t wait to see what we get for these guys in July or after waivers. Then next year we are going to fill our roster w more part-time temps. Who are we waiting for Jackson, Vitters? So we are still 3 years away. Sign some players worth a 3 year contracts, they can be traded too and maybe for somebody.
    Now for DALE does anyone really think he is our man during the unforeseen time that we will be in a playoff run? He’s a fill in like McClendon was in Pitts. Nobody wants this job right now and we’re not going to pay a name until we are close to that time.

    1. DarthHater

      Too bad the sveep didn’t work out. A golden opportunity for you was lost.

      1. Jp3

        And it’s Epstein not Einstein

    2. gocatsgo2003


      Why would it make any sense to sign “name” players to three-year contracts if we are unwilling to sign a “name” manager to a three-year deal?

      1. Sacko

        there you go if DALE is your man we’re fine that will make better sense for you.

        1. gocatsgo2003


          1. Jp3

            Umm what???

    3. TWC

      I think Sacko is a great name. For you.

      1. waittilthisyear

        i am friends with a guy named pete sakowitz. we call him sackoshitz. that is all

    4. Cubbie Blues

      My brain hurts after reading this. So much wrong in so little space. That must have taken quite a bit of effort to do.

      1. Sacko

        there is medication for you and what you can’t handle

        1. TWC

          You’re clearly off yours.

          1. Sacko

            lets see how far off I am in July and after waivers

            1. King Jeff

              Is this a warning? If so, I can’t wait!!

              1. Sacko

                Good for you. Do you know anything about the Marmol Haren trade that didn’t happen? I never heard the details on why we backed out.

                1. TWC

                  Have you used the search function on the top right of this page?

                2. King Jeff

                  I think the Cubs were concerned with Haren’s hip injury. Either way, Haren has been awful this year.

                  1. Sacko

                    Thanks, I would think in addition to the shape of our bullpen we had to keep him.

                3. DarthHater

                  From what I recall reading, the FO got spooked by Haren’s medical reports and either asked for more compensation for Marmol or just backed out of the deal altogether.

                  1. Sacko

                    Thank you too

    5. mjhurdle


      1. Sacko

        It is something to think about and will make things interesting.
        Would you happen to know the details on the Marmal Haren trade that did not happen during the off season?

  2. Jp3

    Maybe we could get Pinella after him?

  3. ssckelley

    Chicago sports is what I have always rooted for since I was a little kid, and I am from Iowa. The Cubs were my first love and then Bears then the Bulls. If I did get into hockey I would be a Hawks fan but I cannot call myself a fan since I only watch the Stanley Cup (if the Hawks are in it) and Olympic hockey (team USA). I still cannot believe I stay up past midnight watching a hockey game the other night.

  4. Lyle Ernst

    I’m quite certain many people will disagree with me, but I no longer consider Castro to be the “end all.” I think he will continue to be a mediocre hitter & infielder. The excuse that he is still young no longer cuts it when you look at other major leaguers the same age as him who play the game the way it should be played.

    1. SenorGato

      If a ~3 WAR a year SS from age 20-22 is the new Cubs bar for mediocre then Ill take it. Shit, dare I call that progress…

    2. cms0101

      It amazes me how quickly people have turned on Castro. He’s going through struggles, but he’s had 200 hits twice, before age 24. He needs to make adjustments, and he will. It just seems silly. If Castro were the link holding this team back from really contending, and was the only weak spot in the lineup, it might make sense for the Cubs to send him down to Iowa to work out his struggles. But he’s not. He’s a young player that had another young player in Rizzo protecting him in the lineup. Both have had their struggles this year, but losing faith in guys this talented and young is short sighted. Youth is part of it, surely, but major leaguers in general have slumps.

  5. 70'scub

    @cms0101 I agree with you however the jury is out in terms of Castro being a top core player. That said, I think he would fit in to the Cub mix when they get competitive. Young players in general need coaching, especially when they have talent like Castro. Maybe management sees 15-20 HR-185 hits-40 walks-90-100 runs scored in his future instead of just chipping hits. Rizzo-Castro are really the only future hitters in this current Cub lineup, the rest of the organizations future talent is getting on the same page at the minor league level.

    1. gocatsgo2003

      I highly recommend the “reply” button. Makes things a LOT easier.

  6. Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone think Cody Ransum has any trade value? avg.275/obp.351/OPS 1.003 w/ 7homers. This year Reed Johnson? We could package Ransom with a pitcher for a solid prospect. Sort of like the Maholm/Johnson trade for Vizcaino?

  7. Die hard

    Package him with Jackson to Giants for PTBNL and do this with all others team wants to dump with return dependent on how well plays rest of year

    1. gocatsgo2003

      So essentially you want Theo to day “here… have these few players. I don’t know what I want back right now, but I’ll let you know based on how well these few players play the rest of the year”? Yeah. That’ll work.

      1. Die hard

        Fairest way to make a deal given they know we want to dump— if the turds float we should get more

    2. gocatsgo2003

      *Say. Dang it.

    3. Voice of Reason

      If you mean Edwin Jackson you better be ready to kick in some cash if you want another team to take him right now.

      The salary sure isn’t matching the production, to say the least.

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