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The Cubs jumped on Adam Wainwright early, and then kept adding on (even if they didn’t quite score every opportunity they should have).

Travis Wood was solid on a tough day to pitch, though he didn’t get help from Starlin Castro on one of the ugliest errors you’ll see, which allowed an unearned run to score, and forced Wood to throw some extra pitches. Generally, Castro’s looked good defensively this year, but throwing away a routine grounder, flat-footed, was … not good.

The Cardinals got Anthony Rizzo out! Of course, they didn’t do it before he’d singled, walked, and homered, meaning that he reached base eight consecutive times.

In the end, there was a one-run save opportunity, and a nearly full bullpen of choices …

may 2 box

Full box score.

  • Featherstone

    Gee Brett, No love for Castillo and his 3-4 performance with 3 doubles!

    • BlameHendry

      hey, we have a Catcher batting .300. That’s kinda cool. Didn’t even realize he was anywhere near .300.

      • FFP

        Is Castillo quietly improving his pitch framing?

        • itzscott

          Maybe, maybe not but I think some here are making a bigger deal out of it than it deserves to be.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        I wonder how long he stays in the 7 hole.

        • DarthHater

          It’s working. Leave him alone.

  • willis

    You know how much we all hate Molina? I have the feeling Cardinal fans are going to hate Castillo soon (if they already don’t). Dude has been great at the plate lately.

  • PejaO42

    Man stats are worthless sometimes. Grimm gets credit for a hold despite giving up 2 runs and 1 walk in 1/3. Whatever; a win is a win and it was against the Cards. Good start to the weekend

    • Featherstone

      Holds are a worthless stat much like pitcher wins.

    • blublud

      Well, what he did was a hold by definition. You decide how much value to place in that.

      • mjhurdle

        I think the point is that the “hold” is worthless by definition, so just saying he had a hold according to the definition doesn’t help

    • Q-Ball

      The HOLD has to be the most useless stat in baseball. Pedro Strop earned one on Wrigley’s 100th birthday….you know, the soul crushing game where he gave up 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning, walking 2 batters on 8 pitches? Yeah, Hold #2 for Pedro.

      • baldtaxguy

        Goofiness. The “Hold” def should be specific to giving up no earned runs – you “held” the team scoreless while you had a lead, rather than “holding” a lead, no matter the size of it.

  • TimBeam

    A streak! A win streak!
    We’re on a roll now, baby!

  • WernerT

    Doesn’t SuperEmilio also play OF? Could they put him out there and call up a backup infielder? Alcantra? Or is he not on 40 man?

    • Featherstone

      Alcantara is indeed on the 40-man. They had to add him this off-season to protect him from the rule 5 draft.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Using Malcolm Gladwell’s theory- moving Castro to cleanup will prove to be tipping point to good season for him and Rizzo- MOY for Mgr Rick too? Theo stay on safari longer as I admit not liking idea but now see sense in it- mea culpa

    • J. L.

      Excuse me?

      • DarthHater

        Oh, come on: (a) That was no more stream-of-consciousness than most of Diehard’s posts; and (b) he admitted a mistake, so don’t discourage him. ;-)

      • Hee Seop Chode

        I love Diehard.

        • DarthHater

          We all do.

  • DarthHater

    So, the worst team in the history of baseball is now out of the division cellar, eh?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, the Cubs are actually much worse than their record indicates, as demonstrated by how many games they lost that they should have won, or something like that.

      • DarthHater

        Good. For a minute there I was worried that we might be facing a hyperbole gap.

        • Karl Groucho

          Two ambiguous zing points!

      • Medicos

        doc—you sure know how to stick a pin into our victory balloon. How can u predict how many games the Cubs should have won???

        • DarthHater

          Sarcasm >> Medicos ;-)

        • ssckelley

          don’t piss off the doc…he is capable of railroading you with a wall of text that might make you get the dictionary out.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Indeed, I just use Thesaurus rex, a program that pulls impressive synonyms for basic words, in posts that otherwise read: “Your mom wears army boots: and backwards!”

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, every team has a contingent of fans who think that their team *should* have gone 162-0 every year. Indeed, if the Cubs really had TWTW, then they would be 417-0: they’d be winning the games that they don’t even play!

          • Medicos

            DOCPW—I get what you’re inferring. I’ve only seen 18 winning seasons since 1952. A lousy 29% Hopefully the Cubs can finally build a farm system that will produce some decent MLB talent because if the HOYSTEIN regime isn’t successful this RICKETTE franchise will be set back into a downward spiral that could take decades to show much improvement toward getting a competitive roster at the Friendly Confines.

            • TWC

              Dude. Seriously.

              You may not realize this, but you’ve mentioned that you’ve been a Cubs fan since 1952 already. Like, A LOT. Daily. And we know you’ve only seen 18 winning seasons. You’ve mentioned that, too. Usually in the same breath.

              I’m not sure if, for you, that make you feel like your words have some extra gravitas. But it doesn’t.

              • DarthHater

                [img]https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5110/13905387518_2e0bc0765d_n.jpg[/img]

                • TWC

                  larf

                • Hee Seop Chode

                  best post of the week

            • DocPeterWimsey

              I’ve only been a Cubs fan since the late 1960′s. If my time machine experiments work, then I’ll go back to 1951 just to spite you! :-)

              (Next stop: 1984, where I tell Leon Durham to expect low bounces….)

              • TWC

                Just take awake to that SD infield, k?

                • TWC

                  er, “a rake”, I meant. Silly apple and their “helpful” autocorrect.

          • Voice of Reason

            “then they would be 417-0: they’d be winning the games that they don’t even play!”

            Hell, why not have them win the games they haven’t played? We already have them winning games they lost! They should actually be two games under .500 or is it just a game under after today’s win?

  • JulioZuleta

    Sweeny injured, Tommy Birch reporting Szczur not starting for AAA tonight. I think Law and Goldstein’s heads might explode if we get a Lake/Szczur duo in the outfield one day.

    • DarthHater

      Hail, Szczur !

    • cms0101

      I was hoping they’d take a flyer on Toronto OF Moises Sierra, who was just designated for assignment. He’s 25 and has had success in AAA in the past. Fujikawa to the 60-day DL and sign this kid. Szczur could be called up in a pinch I suppose, but they’re going to need to send out another pitcher sooner rather than later anyway, so why not take a flyer on a youngish OF with some talent too. Just a thought. Either one works for me, but it’s not like Szczur is having a ton of success in Iowa right now.

  • ssckelley

    1000′s of fantasy baseball players everywhere are putting claims in on Rondon.

    Damn it feels good to beat the friggin Cardinals!

    • Jed Jam Band

      I’ve had him in ottoneu for about 3 weeks. Really stuck it to everyone there.

  • BlameHendry

    Hector Rondon <3 This is awesome. We may actually have a real closer again.

    Kinda sad to see Grimm stumble though. He started off really well, hope he gets it back together quickly. Strop and Grimm could both be dominating setup men. If they live up to their potential, seeing the Cubs to Grimm-Strop-Rondon in the 7-8-9 innings would be crazy.

    • MoneyBoy

      Too soon to worry about Grimm, IMO. It seems like all relievers go through that stuff. The worrisome part was the walk to lead off a late inning – AGAIN!

      Good to see Schlitter get the last two outs after the absolute rocket by Holliday.

      What’s worrisome is that Peralta seems to be hitting after being around the Mendoza line. Cubs pitchers need to be careful with that dude.

      • MightyBear

        +1

      • Rich H

        Keep in mind that ball was VERY wind blown and barely hit the basket. Worrying about Grimm after this outing is just one of those things. The lead off walk is a killer though.

        • Voice of Reason

          Very wind blown balls that barely hit the basket only count as half an earned run?

          • mjhurdle

            No, they count as a run(s) still. No one is arguing that. His argument was that it didn’t reflect on the pitcher the same way a 450 bomb would.

            ~ friendly BN clarification guide

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Also, that’s part of why we have xFIP.

          • DarthHater

            No. A very wind blown ball that barely reaches the basket clearly is one of the most meaningful indicators of a pitcher’s overall quality and expected future performance. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a nitwit.

    • Canadian Cubs Fan

      I’d slot Neil Ramirez in there somewhere. I know it’s only a couple appearances at this point, but he has lock down stuff.

  • Politijim

    World Series here we come!!! oh….well at least we beat the redbirds..

  • sunshine and rainbows

    I don’t see any convincing argument as to why Rondon doesn’t remain the closer.

    I have always wondered, though: for a bad team that doesn’t get many save opportunities, is it wise to have your best bullpen pitcher as a closer? Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to give him as many innings as possible to maximize his impact, even if not in save opportunities?

    • Karl Groucho

      There’s a lot of criticism among the more statistically-inclined circles that leaving your best reliever for “closing” is foolish — that high-leverage situations can come at any time, not only in the 9th inning. (Even Bristol is picking up on it; iirc I read some criticism over at espn.com recently of a team keeping their best RP for the “save” — which was shaping up to be the back end of the order — and putting out a less-good RP against the meat of the opposing lineup.)

      • Karl Groucho

        Re: “as many innings as possible,” though: common wisdom doesn’t seem to support leaving RPs in there terribly long. It’s an interesting thought — if he’s your best RP, he can get through the lineup once without much degradation in quality, no? — but capitalizing on L/R matchups seems more popular.

        • Karl Groucho

          Eh, intuition w/r/t common wisdom makes sense though. Get a guy out there in more games for his best matchups, rather than in less games for a larger swath of opponents, who will almost certainly not all be a good fit for his splits.

      • Canadian Cubs Fan

        I think the problem lies with teams that don’t have a good 8th inning option. Those teams should use their best reliever in the highest leverage situation. That said, there’ something about those last three outs, no matter who your facing. If it’s a 1 or 2 run lead, give me my best guy. As long as there’s someone decent for the 8th, which in our case there is…

  • MightyBear

    I think they should call up Logan Watkins. He’s been hitting 290 and his OBP is around 400 and he plays all over the field. He also has ML experience and bats LH. I think he could help this team tremendously.

    • MightyBear

      What do you think Brett/Luke?

  • itzscott

    At this point Rizzo, Castro and Castillo are becoming what we all hoped they’d become and I can’t help thinking how this team will begin to steadily improve once Baez, Bryant, Almora, Soler and Alcantara are added to the lineup one by one.

    Brighter days ahead!

    • Jon

      2/3 inherited by this FO. Kinda throws a monkey wrench into the “barron roster” narrative that the Epsteinites like to spin.

      • mudge

        I think “barren” is the word you’re looking for there, ye of the non-Epsteinite peoples.

      • Jason P

        It wasn’t barren, but if you ranked every team in 2011 by future assets (prospects, under 25 ML’ers, and payroll flexibility) the Cubs would probably have been like 27th or 28th.

      • DarthHater

        This would be true, if the “barren roster narrative” were a real issue. The narrative that is frequently heard is one that says that the farm system under the previous FO was lacking in sufficient organizational depth, especially with regard to pitching. Any success that Castro and Castillo may have does not detract from the validity of that narrative.

        Kinda throws a monkey wrench into the “barren roster narrative narrative” that the anti-Epsteinites like to spin.

        • Jon

          Funny Shark and Cashner would be a pretty nice 1-2 in any rotation now.

          Not disputing the trade of course which still looks like a win for the Cubs, but there were some nice pitching assets

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Cashner, who had never thrown more than 56 innings in a season and most had extreme doubts whether he could remain healthy enough to stick as a starter (Which he still hasn’t proven).

            Not to mention these are Cashner’s splits in 2013 and 14

            2013 home: 1.95 ERA
            2013 away: 4.00 ERA

            2014 home: .81 ERA
            2014 away: 5.00 ERA

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              And I know you didn’t hate that trade, so that wasn’t directed specifically toward you Jon. I just like showing those numbers whenever I get the opportunity.

              • Jon

                Fair enough , but was he not a valuable asset? Do the Cubs get Rizzo without him?

                • Jason P

                  Every team has valuable assets, just as the Cubs did in 2011. The problem is, they didn’t have nearly as many as almost any other team did.

            • Karl Groucho

              But he is rocking a pretty serious mullet…https://twitter.com/cjzero/status/450437419683557377/photo/1

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Man, that shit is gross in the best possible way haha

              • Hee Seop Chode

                I kinda don’t think his mullet is ironic. I think it’s legit.

              • Matt

                Reminds me of guys like Steve Buechelle and Rick Wilkins.

      • another JP

        It doesn’t throw a monkey wrench into anything. When this regime took over Cashner hadn’t proven he was anywhere close to being worthy of a front line starter and Beef was a slightly better than average AAA prospect. The current organization helped develop Castillo to become a better offensive/defensive player and turned Cashner into what appears to be a long term impact player in Rizzo.

        And while we’re at it, I believe the Theo regime can take credit for giving Shark the platform for becoming a starter and vastly improving his value. Until 2012, Samardzija had only accumulated .2 WAR as a professional relief pitcher in 4 years… since then he’s become a borderline TOR starter. These players certainly deserve credit for what they’ve done but each one has had a better chance to succeed these past three years.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          That’s the interesting line. At what point does it go from the player they inherited to the player they developed.

          Well, I guess it never fully crosses the line.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Twice in one night which is a Diehardthefirst First- mea culpa but me thinks my chosen platooning is cause of the hammies

    • DarthHater

      Why in the world would platooning cause hamstring injuries?

      • Beast Mode

        This should be good :)

      • Diehardthefirst

        Too much pine time contracts the gluteus

  • http://BN Sacko

    Boni is the absolute pick up of the year so far. Now..Rondon stays as closer? Holy..this could be a lot of fun. Castro and Rizzo playing like veterans and add a couple more wow names that we haven’t named yet..We win 80 games this year!

  • Medicos

    HAWKEY TALK

    BLACKHAWKS—-5 WILD—–2

    A 12-foot backhander by Pat Kane in the 3rd period gave the BlackHawks the lead enroute to a a 5-2 win in the series opener. Goals by Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead, but Minnesota tied it up on goals by Ken Brodziak and Clay Stoner Kane and Bickell each scored a 2nd tally late in last period to turn the game into a route.

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