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It looked like a good day from the outset, and I’m not even going to say I-told-you-so about the lineup. It is, after all, just one game, and a very small sample size.

But it was a great day for the Cubs’ bats, and the pitching was once again fantastic (except for some Jose Veras shenanigans in the 9th, but we’ll just pretend that didn’t happen since it was a healthy lead – which is to say, we’ll discuss it tomorrow). Carlos Villanueva did pretty much everything you’d want to see out of a guy who had to pitch in relief twice this week and then start a game.

Ryan Kalish, in particular, had a fantastic game, with a double, a triple, and two walks. Just about everybody contributed in some way.

april 6 box

Full box score.

  • Crockett

    Any idea if that pitch that Veras threw often in the 84-86 range is a change or a split?

    Incredible movement…in the right hander’s batters box…

  • http://www.facebook.com/cubman87 cubman87

    Renteria said in his post game interview he was looking forward to a day off tomorrow :)

  • another JP

    You can’t help but be happy for Kalish after all he’s been through. And the approaches of Castro and Rizzo are beginning to pay off.

    • ssckelley

      I agree and I hope RR keeps him in the lineup. That speed at the top is nice.

  • willis

    Yessir, great game. Good bounce back from getting shut out yesterday. I dig Castro in the 6th hole. Kalish was a badass and Villanueva sacked up and gave the cubs 5 innings of good pitching (which is all you could really expect).

    • TDH3754

      ^ “Villanueva sacked up”…love it. Solid recovery for him.

      Rizzo & Castro looked much more comfortable. Tell me again why Olt isn’t at third and Valbuena at second? Speed is cool at the top. It’s been too long.

      • Edwin

        Olt getting every start at 3B just isn’t that big a deal. He’ll get plenty of starts to “develope” and show what he’s got. It’s a long season.

  • Karl Groucho

    Cubs woo!

  • dumbledoresacubsfan

    I honestly don’t think you can let that Veras outing slide.

    How many BBs does a guy have to give up before he loses his “role” as the “closer”?

    • HislersHero

      Marmol got a couple of years before losing it. So, it will at least be all of this year.

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        I hope RR has a quicker pull

        If Veras blows up in his next outing, I think some things are addressed.

        • Eternal Pessimist

          …and i would ‘t consider coming in the 9th with a 7 run lead using him in the closer’s role. Looks like he already suffered at least a temporary demotion.

          • dumbledoresacubsfan

            I saw that move as a confidence booster for when he goes in for a save opportunity.

            After his first rough outing, RR wanted to get him in a no-stress inning so he could pitch well and feel good for the future.

            If a closer can’t go into the 9th with a 7 run lead and cruise through, he’s not going to cruise through a 1 run lead.

            • Eternal Pessimist

              I would agreeā€¦Veras is a good pitcher so I’m going to keep my torch and lighter fluid in separate drawers for now.

      • Jon

        I hope not. Too many early season games were pissed away last year trying to be patient with Marmol

      • CubsFaninMS

        I’m no fan of Sveum’s decision making. BUT, Marmol was very solid the latter half of 2012. They had plenty of reason to give him a shot. I personally would’ve removed him from the closer’s role before he did in 2013 but, with the contractual obligations they had with him, they were presumably under more pressure to want him to pan out. If Veras botches one of the next two outings as a closer, I certainly hope Renteria considers other options.

        • ssckelley

          True, I cannot blame Sveum for playing Marmol but I do wish the FO would have traded him that off season before he fell apart.

  • Patrick G

    Castro 2 errors in a week, woof

  • Funn Dave

    Who’s taking bets on when Strop takes over as closer?

    • baldtaxguy

      I’d like to see Rondon or Schlitter get the opportunity and grab it. Veras is not even close.

  • Picklenose

    That was a fun game for the Cubs fans. I hope we get to see them play this well many more times this year.

  • IndyCubsFan

    Rondon set-up and then Strop to close would be a good deal! Rondon is really proving his worth!

  • Forgetting Sean Marshall

    I don’t trust Strop or Veras, let Grimm close

    • ChrisFChi

      ^this

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    The walks were also a good sign. Scored a bunch of runs with less hits. Better situational hitting. Kalish is a great story.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It was better slugging more than anything else. Even “clutch” singles are no compensation for a lack of extra-base hits.

  • MoneyBoy

    Bunch of positives today…

    The Stache bailed out Castro after the error.
    Kalish with speed as advertised.
    Schlitter, Rondon and Strop were nails.
    7 BB and 5 Ks!!!!
    4-7 RISP… squeal…

    Burnett… I don’t know… did he have that velocity last year?? Yeesh…

  • Jason P

    The only thing the bullpen is missing is a power lefty. Rosscup’s sort of that (92-93). We should see him get a chance sometimes after the trade deadline.

    • Paddy26

      Also a closer…

      • Jason P

        We have a closer named Pedro Strop. We just aren’t using him as such.

    • willis

      I really like Rosscup’s stuff and I think it will play very well at this level as soon as he gets a full time shot. I’m hoping that is soon.

      • KHRSS

        I agree. I have no idea why they went with Wright over Rosscup.

  • GoCubs

    It would be nice if Castro tried to go to right field a few bats a game rather than trying to pull everything. Same thing with most of the Cubs. Just trying to pull everything…

    • ssckelley

      As long as Castro keeps hitting I would not change a thing. I think Castro just needs left alone at this point and hope he figures things out for himself.

      • cubmig

        …seems to me Castro hit all over the field when he was first up. In other words— he was swinging at a lot of weird, non-strike pitches which were “right” for going to opposite fields. He may not go back to that approach as his discipline at the plate has curbed the tendency. I hope, now and then though, he goes back to trusting his hitter instinct and attacks some of those “non-strike” pitches. It will keep pitchers from “reading” him as “predictable—not to mention placing the ball where they ain’t.

  • Paddy26

    That first inning was a joy to behold. Everyone had a good approach, and jumped all over the strikes that Burnett threw. Finally some encouraging signs. If the hitters can hit, with our pitching staff we should have a chance at hanging around .500 for a while.

  • David
  • http://BN Sacko

    Could be Kalish takes Sweeneys spot And Boni at 2nd. Kalish hits a few lefties he stays in there all the time.
    Whats up with Veras good day for him to puick with that lead. Low tolerance there with Happy.
    Hope it stays that way.

  • Jon

    Vitters is also raking in Iowa so if he keeps it up I think you have to find a spot for him too

    • GoCubs

      Really would like to see Vitters put it all together.

    • http://BN Sacko

      OK with me, Ruggs is looking like a 6th OF. Oh wait there is no 6th OF.

    • college_of_coaches

      Agreed.

    • VittersStartingLF

      Vitters will be the starting LF by the All Star break.

      • http://BN Sacko

        that was fast, I doubt it.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a shot at it by the All-Star break. Once he shows he is healthy and not totally awful with the glove in left, it’ll be time to call him up and see what he can do.

      • Jon

        The only problem is that he can only pretty much play LF at this point so his bat will have to be good enough not only to justify his lesser glove but the decrease in versatility with the roster

        • mjhurdle

          i think the fact that they have a lot of versatility already actually helps Vitters.
          If the major league team only had 4 OFs, then it would be harder to justify giving one of those spots to someone that could only play one spot.
          But now they have Scheirholtz, Lake, Kalish, Ruggiano, Bonifacio, and Sweeney all capable of playing OF, with 3 of them capable of palying CF.
          If they choose to send one of them down, they would still have plenty of flexibility in the OF to afford to give the spot to someone like Vitters.

          • Bill

            Agree. Plus it’s not like any of those guys are gold glove outfielders, or Barry Bonds at the plate. If Vitters can hit for a decent avg, he fits right in with the current group.

    • ssckelley

      Vitters is off to a good start at Iowa but I doubt we see Vitters until the Cubs do something with Ruggiano. About the only other possibility is if Lake has options left and goes into a long slump. Unless he can still play third to platoon with Vabuena and Olt gets sent down.

  • CubChymyst

    The Cubs first week seem to be following a similar pattern from last year. Loss a few close games then win a blow out. However, the first week though has seen the Cubs get a lot of base runner and run up the pitch count on the starters. If they can continue to get batters on and work counts, this season will end better than last.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Even after yesterday’s game, the Cubs team OBP is still pretty dreadful (0.294). In close games, it always seems like a team strands a ton of runners: but usually it’s a case of lack of runners.

      • ssckelley

        League average is only .306 and there are 5 teams in the NL that have a lower OBP than the Cubs. After yesterdays game a number of statistics evened out, too bad it all had to come in 1 game.

      • CubChymyst

        I was basing the comment off of the fact they have had quite a few at bats with RISP but have only managed to really drive them home in a 2 games (1 of which was the blow out). Looking at their OBP it is low compared the league, but it early in the season and could easily come close to league average. The team has been good thus far with drawing walks,they just need more hits.

  • Jon

    Levine just said on the radio a Shark/Blue Jays deal could get done this month

    • DarthHater

      A 99 percent chance, right?

      • Diehardthefirst

        Wouldn’t trade Shark if team starts hitting- with more injuries on other teams Cubs can win this thing

    • ssckelley

      Jeez, if Shark gets traded I might get on the whiney bandwagon. The Cubs need to start acquiring pieces LIKE Shark not trading them.

    • Sandberg

      If the Cubs string together some wins in the next couple of weeks, I’d be pretty surprised if they dealt him. Theo and Jed seem to believe there is a small chance of catching lightning in a bottle, and dealing Shark would make that basically impossible.

      If the Cubs suck for the rest of the month, then I could see it.

      • FFP

        This. Plus Shark can make long term sense, too. I am on the no-trade-Shark bandwagon.

  • Diehardthefirst

    The love hate relationship with Castro stems from high expectations due to first several years- if we lower expectations then he’s an acceptable decent player but not HOF caliber

  • frank

    Bonifacio is down to .500!!! What!!?? Time to bench him . . .

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