The Cubs managed just two solo homers in this one – Brian Bogusevic and Donnie Murphy (seriously, Donnie Murphy, what has gotten into you?) – and went 0-8 with runners in scoring position. That said, this one could have been an even bigger blowout for the Nationals, who notched 10 hits and two walks against Chris Rusin in his 5.2 innings of work. Rusin escaped the worst of the damage, allowing just two runs over that stretch, but it wasn’t one of his better outings.

august 20 box

Full box.

  • Stevie B

    Hate saying this….Castros looks completely uninterested.

    • Die hard

      Yea where were all you experts 2 yrs ago when I pointed this out after seeing him play on the road from box seat vantage watching him from SS position turn around to watch the scoreboard while pitcher winding up!!!!! Enough already!!!! I have pleaded with Theo for 2 yrs to save this kids career by tough love back to the minors— anybody home????!!!!!!🏡🏡🏠🏠🏢🏢

  • Chris

    Castro just needs this year to be over…. He needs a long break away.

  • Chris

    Just curious, who is the hitting coach this year? Seems like their key guys have gone the wrong way, whether it be slumps or not. It seems like Castros mechanics are also getting worse and worse each game. I get that it always comes down to the player, but it also seems like the hitting coach isn’t doing any job.

    • Chris S

      James Rowson and Rob Deer.. Even with TWO hitting coaches that get stuff figured out.

      • Chris S

        Intesteding bio on Rowson.. he didn’t even make the major leagues as a player. Makes me wonder what “qualifies” a hitting coach..

        Playing Career
        The former Mount St. Michael High School outfielder was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the ninth round of the 1994 draft … appeared in 178 games in the Mariners and Yankees farm systems, as well as a stint in the indepent leagues…Swiped nine bases in 30 games for the Ariona Rookie League Mariners in 1995, his first pro season…Played 50 games for the Cook County Cheetahs of the Independent Heartland League in 1998, his final season as a player.

        • Chad

          I don’t think that a ML playing career is required. Jack McKeon would agree with that. Not saying it doesn’t help, but just cause they could not put it all together doesn’t mean they can’t teach someone to do it. How’s the saying go: Those who can do, those who can’t teach. I’m not saying it’s ideal or that it is even good, but I wouldn’t want Barry Bonds being my hitting coach necessarily.

          • Cubbie Blues

            Nah, Barry would make a much better strength and conditioning coach.

  • KidCubbie

    I’m more worried about Rizzo. This has been a long slump. I hate having runners on and Rizzo come up to the plate and just expecting him to fail.

    • wilbur

      Rizzo would be ok if Castro’s problems weren’t causing all the scrutiny of Rizzo. No one can say anything about Castro without someone blaming someone else, the hitting coach, the manager, the first baseman, the guy sittng in the third row, and on and on. Castroitis, it’s contagious, catch it and you too can be thrown under the bus instead of the mope at shortstop..

      Rizzo is in his first full season in the show, he’s doing fine. Castro is in his fourth year, he has a problem. He needs to play like a 60 million dollar player and not a petulant child. His agent tells him exactly what to repeat over and over to the media, maybe his agent could tell him to try playing the game with a better attitude. But maybe he has stopped listening to his agent too.

      • caryatid62

        The number of ridiculous assumptions about Starlin Castro’s personality, attitude and mindset in this post is astounding.

        Unless you know him personally, you have no idea what he thinks about the game, or what his attitude is. NONE. You see him for, at most 30 minutes per week.

      • baldtaxguy

        “Rizzo would be ok if Castro’s problems weren’t causing all the scrutiny of Rizzo.”

        You believe that Rizzo’s season would not a topic of scrutiny if Castro was approaching 200 hits? If I understand you correctly, I’m not sure that is valid. I would suspect that attention comes to Rizzo’s 2013 production relative to expectations he built for himself in the half season last year, and the FO’s (relative) financial committment for him as a building block. The fact that he and Castro are slumping in unison shouldn’t make the Rizzo’s performance any more or less critical – but maybe your point is that it does since it makes good media copy which panders to a lower threshold.

      • Ian Afterbirth

        How, exactly, is Castro playing petulantly?

        I’ve never heard or seen anyone be able to do that.

    • Bazfan1234

      Rizzo now has the 3rd worst batting average with RISP in the National League with a staggering average of .173.

    • Satch Dobrey

      I have little hope in Epstein and Co. but would offer one observation on Anthony Rizzo. He has the worst batting stance I have ever seen. The guy has lots of natural ability and is a great 1st baseman but someone needs to seriously get him to hold the bat higher and a little back so he isn’t trying to shift his hands while also detecting the pitch.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    Just to remind everyone . . . . Castro and Rizzo ARE the future!

    • RY

      We are in even bigger trouble than we thought then!

    • C. Steadman

      they are also the “now”..and right now the “now” is batting .240 and .228…but its still too early to drop the hammer on a couple of developing twenty year olds just because theyre playing poorly on a poor cubs team

      • Feeney

        Rizzo’s BABIP is .254 so I wouldn’t worry too much about the average. His OBP is almost 100 points higher than his average and he is providing value with his power and his glove. I wouldn’t worry too much about Rizzo.

        • C. Steadman

          thats why i said its too early to drop the hammer…im well aware his BABIP is under league avg of around .300 and he is gold glove caliber with a good slugging and obp relative to his avg…but his avg with RISP is not what anyone would like to see out of a 3-5 in the order guy

      • Cubbie Blues

        Rizzo has played well over the whole of the season. AVG isn’t a good stat to say if a player is hitting or not. For example, it counts a HR as being equal to a squiggling groundball that makes it through the infield.

      • Chad

        I was on the trade Castro before the season started train. I never liked his approach at the plate or his mental lapses on defense. I thought they could get a lot in return for him. But they signed him and now I think they need to stick with him for a few more years at least. If Baez, Alcantra, and Bryant all come up and can stick at their respective positions then there is no need to keep Castro around, but until they do that (it will be a few years until all 3 are up at the same time) you need to keep Castro around. You can move him around if you need to but he has value and he is relatively cheap. If he bounces back great. He either becomes an important piece or a big trade chip to make room for other guys, but trading him right now would be foolish.

  • baldtaxguy

    Castro’s just simply having an overall bad and disappointing year in many areas. Been relatively consistent defensively, but various mental gaffes overshadow that. It doesn’t deserve the drama, but maybe batting 8th will be good for him, where he can be aggressive with pitches and relax. Who knows what he is thinking, but the responsibility is on him, no other dot to connect.

    • JM

      I agree. Castro’s woes are more about him and ultimately up to him to resolve. I only hope this season doesn’t flow into next season.

      If they do, just watch the vultures come out.

      • MichiganGoat

        Hurumph… It’s not Castro’s fault its Sveum’s fault! Why hasn’t anyone taught him how to have better body language? Who is responsible for his blank empty look on his face? Who is his attitude coach? Who else can I blame?

  • MichiganGoat

    Well MLB Network’s Quick Pitch makes Castro the center of thier highlights this morning. They show him flying out twice, his two “plays”, and a quite from him about not liking batting 8th. So be prepared for this to become a national story especially if ESPN continues the drama.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Fortunately, ESPN doesn’t report on the Cubs, so…

      • JR

        In ESPN’s mind there is only 5 MLB teams.

  • Rich

    If the season was not a complete bust, Castro would be better. I think it is hard for a player to play on a crappy team and be excited.

    But I do believe the “tinkering” of the Cubs have affected him..

    I am not worried about him at all. Rizzo is the head scratcher. Why the felt the need to lock him up so soon is interesting.

    • Hookers or Cake

      People who think Rizzo is having a terrible year need to dig into the numbers. His Bapip is about 60 points lower than last year. Yet his ISO is up. Xtra base hits up . Walk rate up 3.8%.

      His K rate is up a tad 1.8% And its hard to know if his low Babip is the result of defensive shifts, not good contact, or just luck. Probably a combination. I’m sure the Cubs know and can address it. We’ve seen Rizzo work, make changes, and improve before.

      Also Rizzo has faced lefties more than 34% of the time and his numbers against lefties are pretty ugly. This is up a bit from the 29% he faced lefties last year.
      Schierholtz for instance has only faced lefties 7% of the time. And his numbers vs them is horrible.
      Tack on half of his missing Bapip due to luck and Rizzos numbers look pretty good again. 260/350/450

      Does Rizzo have stuff to work on in the off season? Hell yeah. But he’s not the head scratcher Castro is. Castro has some real problems.

  • Doug

    Outstanding point Rich. I had been thinking the same thing about Rizzo. I agree with mot of the decisions management has made during this rebuild but I too question why they felt it necessary to extend a kid who hadn’t even played a full season with the big club and was already unver team control for a few more years.

  • Adarecub

    Rizzo gives plus defence and is on target for 20+ homers in his first full year. He’s not a complete disaster. Maybe they should seriously look at abreu though. Rizzo’s contract is very trade able