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It doesn’t matter how the season is going. It always sucks to lose to the Cardinals.

Scott Feldman was not at his best tonight, though his line would have looked a whole lot better if Hector Rondon hadn’t let a couple inherited runners score. Then again, Feldman was hit hard all night, and several of those liners turned into lasers right at Darwin Barney and Luis Valbuena, and a leaping catch at the wall in center by Ryan Sweeney.

Not that it would have mattered, what with the Cubs’ bats continuing the flaccidity routine.

june 20 box

Full box.

  • Kyle

    The scary question is what happens if/when he takes the day off and it doesn’t fix anything?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I don’t think anyone should reasonably expect one day off to magically fix everything instantly. It’s just a step in the process.

      • Kyle

        Why is it a step in the process?

        I don’t care if they do it, but I don’t get why it’s become such an object of fixation with Cubs fans.

        • toot

          Not only that. What process are we talking about? Nobody has cleared that up. Rebuilding process, maturity process, swing change, stance change, better eye(can’t teach that).

          • willis

            Whatever ever is going on and being taught, it isn’t taking and Castro is an auto out right now at the plate. I never thought I’d be saying that with his talent. But he’s way out of whack.

        • cubmig

          As much as I hate to keep on seeing Castro screw-up every at bat (particularly those with risp), I’ve come to believe that it’s best to leave him in the line-up. He’s young and he has to be allowed to fail—-if that’s to be the bottom line. Sitting him won’t cure anything. He has to play and figure it out for himself…..whatever the hell is screwing with his head. Failing with either make him or break him. May as well find out this season.

          • cubmig

            ^Failing will…

      • bryan

        Brett I completely agree. I say let the kid play how he always had. Whats the point of taking pitches really? we are the 3rd best at it and the 3rd worst in the league. I don’t really understand the significance of it. Stop trying to change his approach and let him become patient as he ages.

        If anyone feels up to it can they let me no what the last 3-5 WS champs ranking in the pitches seen. I wanna see if it is beneficial.

        • Jay

          Bryan—THANK YOU! I’ve been preaching this endlessly for the last year. There’s nothing wrong with Castro that cleaning his head out of this “see X number of pitches at bat” crap wouldn’t fix.

      • Die hard

        Better late than never Brett to challenge Cubs handling of Castro.. Maybe Cubs will listen to you… Just wish you would have done it 30 games ago as the longer problem ignored the longer to fix… While at it how about working on Barney to SS?

    • Andrew

      I’d be interested to see if there was any correlation to taking a day off and improving performance for the next week/month/year. I’m sure someone much more interested in the issue than i am could figure out some stuff by comparing stats one week before and one week after a day off. In the end I’m guessing theyd find that a day off doesn’t on average make much of a difference. That’s not to say Castro should not get a day off, I think Sveum and the rest of the coaches know how players will respond to extra rest better than i doo

  • rsquared

    I think we need to take a page out of Bull Durham and sacrifice a chicken.

    • ari gold

      You mean Major League :)

      • spearman

        Maybe, we should just get Jobu another refill!

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70′scub

    Kyle, I think Castro-Rizzo and the rest of the Cub hitters need better MLB coaching, 5 hits tonight. This hitting approach is not working Cub hitters are in (0-1, 0-2, 1-2) counts. A good coach with experience can get Castro-Rizzo back on track not to mention future call ups, Vitters, Jackson and some others. Not going to work with the young Cubs looking confused. Most walks come with respect, pitchers are getting an easy strike 1 facing this mandated Cub approach. Scary has nothing to do with days off!

    • Rich H

      It is baby steps in a process. The Cubs are seeing the 3rd most pitches as anyone in baseball.

      Let that set in for a second.

      The Cubs have a horrible OBP and batting average as a team but they are learning. We knew this year was part of that. They are getting the idea just not seeing the results yet. They will.

  • BRANT BROWN

    All this talk about gregg netting a mid level prospect changed tonight. Andrew Bailey is now out as closer for boston and the tigers are still looking as well. We might actually pull something good here. I just wanted to lighten the mood given the current cubs situation. I say you keep castro in for this weekends series. Its going be 90s with the wind blowing out against the astros at wrigley. Just the cure for a slump.

  • BD

    Would it be OK to lose the Cardinals, if both teams were good? (if I remember correctly I think that’s close to what Brett or Luke said this morning)

    I would much prefer the Cubs to dominate the Cardinals for the next 100 years, or at least until we’ve caught up in the World Series department.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      No. Losing to the Cardinals is never good.

      I’m just saying that I don’t care if the Cardinals have a 99 win season so long as the Cubs have a 100 win season and the Cards miss the playoffs.

      And the Mets lose 162. By a dozen runs a game. And get bought by Loria.

  • jt

    Where was the k zone tonight?
    not an excuse for Feldman or the The Cubs but I can’t recall an ump as inconsistent.
    It seems to me that both Rizzo and Castro are trying to get more body into their swing and are having trouble covering the outside corner. IMO, that is where the real power comes from. I think they will figure it out. I think that is why Theo is not too worried.
    Soriano, on the other hand, is who he is and is not going to change. He is not going to be a long term solution to LF either.
    Borbon had a couple nice games. He contributed a bit. But now he is basically taking up space.
    If they will ever have interest to see what Bogusevic can bring to the table then now seems as good a time as any. I mean, what is there to lose? Soriano trade value. C’mon!
    Seems a good time to start moving some prospects up and some has-beens out.

  • The Dude Abides

    Tracking for 96 loses and the 3rd pick all before we start dumping players. 2013 is shaping up as planned. Good job Theo, your the man!!!

  • ari gold

    I’ve been waiting for Castro to turn it around but jesus Christ. He’s one of the worst performing players in baseball right now. Give him a f’ing day off already.

  • Hawkeye

    Honest Question, Do we still accept that the Cubs spending little free agent money for the 2014 team with the excuse “we’re still too far away”? If so what year does this wear thin?

    • Kyle

      They spent a ton of money this year.

  • toot

    Unbelievable. Castro is hitting .150 since last sunday. I think .190 for June. No way this guy ever comes close to being a great shortstop hitting close to ..300. Sad days.

  • willis

    This is getting painful to watch. whether you are fixated on all kinds of numbers, or just worried about the bottom line, this shit is out of control. The “best” player on the team has turned into a crap version of Izturis while the franchise offensive anchor at 1B is a slappy .240ish hitter.

    The cardinals are a great team with a great rotation. But this is going on against everyone. It’s not a slump at this point, it’s the norm. Which is the frustrating/scary part.

    Just not much of anything to hold onto right now. Whatever is going on isn’t working. I don’t care about the season being another one in the long line of rebuild seasons, but it’s the fact that the two “best” players have regressed to the wrong side of mediocre. That is troublesome.

    • Peep

      I think starlin and Rizzdog are just baseball depressed. They want to win deep inside, but have developed learned helplessness over the mounting losses. It’s all psychological.

      • cubmig

        I’m no psychologist, but I like your assessment. As I observe Castro when he comes up to bat with risp, he shows how he is breathing in to calm whatever “I gotta’ hit” emotions running through his brain veins. Rizzo, on the other hand, always looks “cool, calm and collected”. and doesn’t show any inner tension he may be experiencing. He’s relaxed. Yet, both both seem to suffer from CRS about hitting. (CRS= can’t remember shit). Somehow both have to exhaust their failing efforts and get past them to “find” their natural (and hopefully successful) approach.

        • gocatsgo2003

          I have no clue what most of that meant, but I am putting the phrase “brain veins” on my list of must-use phrases.

  • Sven-Erik312

    There is no protection for Rizzo or Castro, the rest of the league knows how to pitch around those guys. The rest of the lineup gets lucky now and then, but they do not generally do much damage to the rest of the league.Then, there is no bullpen to speak of and the good teams know that it’s lights out for the Cubs as soon as the bullpen comes in the game. As Casey Stengel once said: “What is the point of having a man excecute if he can’t excecute?” There is no reason to bring up guys who are not ready to play in the majors yet and no point in breaking the bank on has been free agents. We’ve been there, done that. Read Chris’ book. Go out to Kane County and watch the Cougars instead. This ain’t happening over night.

  • Alb_daKID

    Bottom line is CUBS suck. We can be as optimistic as we’d like, but the club sucks and was built to lose. The belief that the FO built the team sabermetrically to be a sleeper team is B.S. The FO wanted the ability to draft high and build “THEIR” own franchise.
    IMO, Castros problem is his stance. His stance is way to open… He’s taken this stance of a power hitter when in reality hes best as a doubles hitter with 10 to maybe 15hrs. He’s trying to pull everything to his power field and the report on him seems to be the Soriano diet. Sliders and junk low and away! I would like to see him close his stance and maybe even reverse his stance and go oppo all day.
    Listen, I’m by no means a professional batting coach but I’d wager a good sum that if we watch video of him when he was up and rising and still fresh out the box his stance is closed atleast 25%-35% more than where he’s at now. Close the stance and Castros at minimum a .275 hitter!!!
    It’s getting really close where we are going to have to start implementing the “ACCOUNTABILITY” mantra this “ADMIN” has touted in the past. Accountability on the field with players and really close to hold the FO accountable.
    Hold no doubt, the FO is worried. With the performance of the core thus far, no way in hell do they feel great about the future. The way the Central is shaping up for the next 5-7 years you’d be silly not to think theres not doubt in the minds of the brain trust.
    I mean we dont even have one super star player. What? Soler….Almora…Baez….Kris Bryant??? Yea they look promising… But so did PIE…so did Bobby hill…so did a lot of active MLB bench players.
    I am a pro Theo/Jed FO. But if they dont pursue any legit, star impact mlb ready players here in the near future than I might just have to cross the fence and concede that the CUBS have become a small market player in a BIG market arena. What impact players you ask?? Good question, I dont get paid to make those decisions thats the FO’s job. Tick…tock…tick…tock… The sound is getting closer by the hour!

    • toot

      I took the time 2 read. Can’t say I disagree. Nice comment wether people agree or not.

    • Rizastro

      I agree on starlin. I’m not a professional hitting coach neither but the problem not only seems to be the open stance but also all the movement. All this does its get his timing off. He is late on inside pitches and lunging at outside. I also believe the FO is trying to implement an organizational hitting strategy of being patient work the count get the starter out early but Castro not used to it his 1st pitch swing avg for his career has been 28% this year he down to 21% he is uncomfortable and pressing because he is not used to failure. In the end this works out better in the long run deeper counts better pitches to drive

      • toot

        I Ibelieve your right. It is an organizational strategy. But its turning out to be a bust! Look’ Castro hit nearly .300 thru the majors. Now only hitting .228! Come on, something wrong.

        • Rizastro

          I can’t say that you are wrong toot, but give it some time. I believe it will here a terrible year for alot of MLB cub hitters. It seems they are trying to change alot of them and they don’t have the luxury of facing minor league pitchers who are inconsistent with spotting pitches ala Javier Baez I might be wrong but if I remember correctly he struggled with this concept early but is doing better with it now. Changing an approach at the plate takes time and can be frustrating

          • toot

            Castro signing had many believiing he was the next ss in the majors as I do recall. I think not.

      • Alb_daKID

        I agree. I think Castro albeit, very young in terms of “Baseball Years” is/was too far along in his development to adopt the approach this FO wants. Castro IMO, is more of a feel player not a tweak his skills player.
        In essence, what youve done to castro is turn an instinctual player into a thinking player. Therefore taking his natural ability away to react and adjust to the challenge ahead of him. Which simply enough is squaring up the wide variety of balls A.K.A baseballs thrown his way.
        Castro, is the player that you leave alone and let his experience refine his approach. Right now he’s obviously mental or as Golfers would say has the yips! Let the man (very young man) go back to the sandlots of Santo Domingo where he let it loose as a kid and watch him produce. I think we over emphasize OBP with Castro. If we simply let him play, close the stance his natural ability should raise that OBP and obviously his AVG. But hey, Who am I….. just Alb_daKID!

        • toot

          But what if he really is a bust?

          • Alb_daKID

            Nah, he’s not a bust. Maybe his ceiling wasn’t as high as initially projected. Ultimately, lets say he does plateau, I cant see castro as any worse than a .250 avg hitter. After all, he came up as what? A 19-20 year old kid batting .300ish, with 200 hits and an all-star. He’s still only 23 and already a veteran MLB’er.
            Castro is like a teenage higschooler still searching for who he is. One thing for sure, Castro is not a slugger maybe not even a .300 hitter. Castro is an athletic build, doubles hitter, possible table setter player. Right now with this team he’s being asked to be a player he’s not. Thats why I think we start acquiring some legit impact bats. From where? Read my first post thats where!
            Just close the damn stance CASTRO!!!!!

            • toot

              Wait. You will settle for a .250 hitter at ss and a .250 hitter at 1st?

              • Alb_daKID

                I’m not settling. I never once used the term “I’d settle for Castro to be a .250 hitter. I said, “at worst i think Castro is a .250 hitter”. I think thats his floor.
                Rizzo on the other hand I view differently. Rizzo has natural power he’s a 25-30hr player with the occasional 30+ season. Why is this different? Well, you cant teach power. You can enhance a swing to gain more leverage fundamentally and create more power but it is far easier to learn to drive a ball than learn to produce consistant high leverage swings.
                The italian-free hair flowing-stallion has a much better chance to be a superstar caliber MLB’er than Castro IMO. Rizzo, has shown the ability to take the ball the other way with power. That’s an approach I think is more teachable than say….. trying to teach Castro to hit for power and high OBP!
                What do I know?????
                -Alb_daKID

                • Rizastro

                  But IMO Rizzo is falling into the same routine as Castro swinging at first pitch rolling over to the 2nd baseman hitting weak balls pitchers look at advanced stats and see who swings at first pitches they know who they are and pitchers adjust. if the P makes 3 perfect pitches in the at bat then tip your hat and try next time but more often than not they make a mistake and if that can come in a 2-1,1-1,3-1 count you are looking for a certain zone not so much in a 1-1 you can drive it for Rizzo that could be the difference between 25hrs to 35-40 hrs for castro that would probably mean a couple more hrs but not much more but it would lead to a lot more xbhs. I agree with you castro will not be much of a power hitter maybe 20-25 hrs ceiling

                  • Bill

                    To me it seems like Castro is opening up to quick. Pitchers are throwing him outside pitches and he’ll often get a bat on the ball but he hits a lazy fly ball to right because he swinging all arms and getting no legs or hip into the swing.

                    I’d rather he just tried to hit every ball to right field, but drive the ball to right. He’d keep everything closed so he wasn’t opening his hips so quickly.

                    I never thought I’d say this but Castro should watch video of Molina. He’s put on a clinic on how to hit both inside and outside pitches.

                    • Alb_daKID

                      …………..and the way you create that type of swing is by closing the stance. Players with good hand eye coordination should need to have an open stance. These players have the ability to dig out the inside pitch.
                      Players like Castro should aim for line drives, take the ball to right center and when a mistake is made inside use their abilities to turn on a pitch. This style the Castro has adopted has turned him into a 1 dimensional player. We’re not maximizing his abilities in my opinion.
                      To hit how you say just close the stance!!

                      Says who?

                      -Alb_daKID

                    • Alb_daKID

                      meant to say “should not have to have an open stance”….

                  • Alb_daKID

                    Very true. I guess what I was really trying to illustrate about Rizzo is the fact that YES, he has been rolling over and being susceptible to the hard and low inside slider…but…. He still has what 10hr’s and undeniable power. One would think its easier to adjust to learning how to more consistently drive the ball for doubles power to opposite field rather than try and learn to be powerful!
                    Being powerful has more to do with god given talent rather than learning the skill. So, if my theory holds true than Rizzo should still naturally maintain his power and naturally progress as a better contact hitter to raise his average and OPS with xbh.

                    Master of theory… Alb_daKID

      • Jay

        Way too much movement in Starlin’s approach now, but he’s had the same stance since he’s gotten here.

    • Jason

      The Cubs really suck. This is getting rough to watch. Especially when my wife is a cardinals fan. Hopefully this so called rebuild will only take a few more years, but at this point I doubt it.

  • Rizastro

    I agree with his natural ability, but that does not mean swing at first pitch. As a major league hitter you should be able to work a count. The problem with him swinging at a lot of first pitches were pitches he could not drive, which leads to soft pop-ups, bleeders, etc. However if you take his natural ability and good contact skills and put it into a situation where the pitcher has to throw a strike and you can look at one zone then not only should his avg go up but also ops

  • Alb_daKID

    I agree, If you take his natural ability and utilize it in high leverage situations such as 2-0, 3-1 hitters counts Castros numbers will be beastly!!! However, In my non professional assessment Castro is not that player, its absolutely his ceiling and hope he reaches it. Just seems as if he’s at that point in his career where we can gauge the type of player he is a lot better now than as little as a year ago.
    I keep playing the same trumpet and I will keep playing minuet in “G”…..Castro needs to close his stance and just let him loose. Forget focusing on his OBP and Slugging % let him be. A very good baseball Coach once told me homeruns will come just hit line drives. I believe this is fundamentally the best approach for the current Castro!

    They call me…….. Alb_daKID! hear me!!

    • Rizastro

      yes he does close it up take the movement out and get rid of the Soriano holiday high step ambush some first pitches if they were and only where you were looking if not be a professional, his ld% is still decent this year but with no pop everything is off the end of the bat or hands.

  • curt

    wow isn’t marmol awesome when nothing matters, no hearts to rip out here good job Carlos , well dale how bad does it have to get for Castro before you sit him.

  • Die hard

    Blah blah blah all you so called experts just waking up to fact Castro is in a heap of oh oh oh hurt when it was obvious way way way back to Marlins series when I called on Sveum as I could see kid not same to rest the kid in game #4 ..or when I pointed out earlier than that the kid doesn’t look the same and needs a pro like Sandberg to work with him.. or when I said the kid needs to be sent down to the minors so can regroup… And all of you smirked saying I didn’t know what I was talking about … Give me a break!!!!

    • EricR

      I still don’t get what the fascination with Sandberg is. I was a big fan of his during his playing days too, but I don’t see how he was in a better position to manage the Cubs than Dale was. I’d like to see McKay be allowed to straighten Castro out.

      • Jay

        I’m glad Ryno isn’t here now. He’d be doing no better with the sack of crap the FO handed Dale and a city that worships him would be turning on him. Let Dale take the lumps for the rest of this year and some of the next and if Ryno hasn’t already inherited the Phillies job in 2015, then you can turn the reins over to him.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Or not.

      • Die hard

        Pleeeeeeze!!! Quade saw this kid was a head case from day one… To save him need to send him back down … A long while back I suggested DL him as he seems to be favoring an injured leg… Bring him back after 15 -20 games at AAA and we are at Aug 1 … He will have 2 months to show progress then… If none then Cubs will know what have going into next yr

        • Jp3

          That would be the most expensive player ever in the minors for an extended amount of time…

          • Die hard

            Operative word is DL.. if not his leg then his wrist… Or his shoulder… The kid is a physical as well as emotional wreck but plenty of time to turn him around before irreversible

    • Stinky Pete

      *smirk

  • EricR

    James Rowson and Rob Deer have obviously done something with Castro that will hopefully pay off in the long run.

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    If you look at Castro’s swing compared to last year, it’s completely modified. He’s way more open and little lower. I know he wasn’t a perfect hitter last year, but he did lead the MLB in base hits.

    I’m wondering if he or the coaches have messed with his stance because of mechanics or some other excuse. Regardless, the kid is still young. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was focused too much on going through his mechanics correctly than he is on hitting the baseball.

    I just question why his stance has changed so drastically–if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you try to “enhance” it, make sure it is actually enhancing and not degrading.

    • #1lahairfan

      I’ve noticed that he’s more open as well.

  • #1lahairfan

    Castro’s really motivated to make all-star teams. So when he does not make the All-Star team this year I think he’s gonna ditch his new stance and mash in the second half.

  • DReese

    Question, why didn’t Rizzo get a stolen base. Is it because it was the end of the game and the pitcher wasn’t looking?

    • Kyle

      Yes. If the defense has no incentive to keep you from taking a base and makes no effort to stop you, then it’s ruled “defensive indifference” and no SB is awarded. Usually only seen in the 9th inning of blowouts.

      • DReese

        Yea that makes sense.
        Thanks Kyle

  • Will

    Can anybody say Castro-meter?

    Need to look at his spray charts over at Fox Sports. He has been going to the opposite field way too much. I saw a comparison picture on this site with Castro’s stance from 2011 to his stance in 2012. The differences were his stance was opened to a greater extent and he starts his hands at ear level now compared to about chest level in 2011. If you add up those 3 things, Castro appears to be late on pitches and might be able to correct this issue by simply closing his stance and lowering his hands.

    And if a subtle observer can see this, why can’t the Cubs see this?

  • Terry

    Any chance they shake things up a little and fire the hitting coach,not sure if it is his fault for the lack of hitting but something needs to change.Last year they fired Rudy alot earlier in the season than this.

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