Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

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.

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