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Jason Hammel had several dominant innings today, including the first, in which he struck out the side. But he was, overall, uneven, and got blown up in the second inning to the tune of four runs (two of which came on a two-out, two-strike single by the opposing pitcher). That wound up being enough for the Cardinals to win, despite a solid showing by the Cubs’ bullpen, and a few nice opportunities for the Cubs’ bats late.

Starlin Castro and Luis Valbuena had great games at the plate, which was swell. Jose Veras made a scoreless appearance, too!

Setting aside the loss for a moment, I did see something (twice) that I loved …

may 15 box

Full box score.

  • SirCub
  • aa.

    But but but what if those two PA were homers then the game would be ti– OK, I’ve never been able to be a troll.

  • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

    I don’t know what we’re seeing from Castro, but boy oh boy am I enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, Rizzo is having a PHENOMENAL year at the plate so far, but in some weird way I expect that of him ? But Castro, I mean his outs are well struck balls and he has 6! HRs already which is crazy. I hope he can keep it up because he is very exciting to watch right now.

  • SirCub

    I’ll play the devil’s advocate and say I didn’t like him doing it the first time, with nobody on, and two outs. HOWEVA ( ;) ), what followed in the fourth inning pretty much justified it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      So if he’s up there hacking with two outs and nobody on, and rips a single to right, you say … that sucks?

    • Brocktoon

      Wait, why would you not want it with two out and nobody on? It’s not like has the pitcher hitting after him.

    • Rebuilding

      Hollandsworth made the same point in the post game – he liked Rizzo bunting to lead off the inning, but not with 2 outs and the bases empty. I think that’s silly – you get on base however you can and whenever you can. It has the added benefit of advance scouts starting to think about changing the shift for him which helps in the long run

      • Sandberg

        This

      • Brocktoon

        It’s especially silly considering that the time Rizzo scored after his bunt was because the very next hitter hit a HR.

        • Jon

          And considering bunting for a base hit is about as grindy as it gets. I’m surprised him and Kaplan had their pants on after that display

  • mudge

    I look at this lineup before the game and can’t understand why Valbuena isn’t batting second.
    Because the Cubs didn’t want to play extra innings, is why.

  • Bill

    I’d be fine with Rizzo continuing to bunt the ball. If they are giving him a single, if he gets the ball down, then I’d take it. It’s up to the players behind him to produce and get him in.

    The negative is the outfield bats on this team are horrible. Kalish is terrible and why didn’t Theo trade Schierholtz last year. A box of new baseballs would look good in a trade. What a terrible at bat by him in a key situation. How could Theo/Jed put a worse hitting OF together? Is this the worst hitting OF in MLB? Not one of these players would start on any other MLB team.

    • renegade4196

      On an MLB team? This outfield would be one of the worst in AA!

      • DarthHater

        Well, that was a truly stupid comment.

        • Cyranojoe

          That comment belongs in the minor leagues. This is the majors here at BN.

          • DarthHater

            It would be one of the worst comments in AA. :-P

  • Darth Ivy

    Ill write it again, that bunt-homer was such a pleasure to watch. It was one of my favorite moments this season, so far

    • Cubbie in NC

      +1

  • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

    At the near 1/4 pole: 13-26 is now the worst win%. No. 1 pick in 2015….engage![img]http://blog.gadgethelpline.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/picardwin.jpg[/img]

    • YourResidentJag

      More like the greatest separation from the pedestrian play on the rest of the NL Central pack from what they were last year.

      • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

        Not happy…but it is what it is. No magic bullets or beans….just seek out new life forms (or teams) that boldly go where this Cubs team will never go!

  • Bill

    That picture of Picard made me laugh. Nice job, Jason.

    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

      With most Cubs games, this is their facial expression come the 9th inning:[img]http://ideologyofmadness.spookyouthouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/startrek2khan.jpg[/img]

  • Diego Javier

    At least this was a day game and I didn’t have to watch the cubs lose today. Silver lining.

  • Cubbie in NC

    I do not expect Baker to be Dioner, but triple digits would be nice….

    • Diego Javier

      Is he seriously hitting .063 or is this some kind of sick joke? What is the worst BA for a MLB player over a season?

      • Edwin

        It depends how long an era you’re looking at, and how many PA you want to use as a minimum.

        Just looking at 2000 on and using a minimum PA of 200, Brandon Wood had a .146 BA in 243 PA in 2010. Tyler Colvin batted .150 in 2011 in 222 PA. Adam Dunn batted .159 in 2011 in 496 PA.

      • cubmig

        Re: Baker: The FO knows what it’s doin’…………………………………..[snark]

    • ssckelley

      I never thought I would see the day where I missed Koyie Hill as a backup catcher.

      • notcubbiewubbie

        please not the guy they really liked!!!!!!!!

  • Dustin S

    0-5 RISP and 8 LOB is the ugh that stands out. Nothing new, but I’ll be glad when that consistently changes.

    One blowout win and 2 close losses vs. the Cards isn’t awful in the big view I guess. I am sadly nearing the same familiar point of last year though of if they aren’t going to win then tankorama. Especially looking at the draft this year and the gap between the 3rd and 4th pick, if only for a few more losses. It pains me to say it, but Castro and Rizzo having amazing comeback seasons and the Cubs losing about 110 and getting the #1 overall in the 2015 draft wouldn’t be the end of the world. I just hope upon hope this is the last season we have to talk about next year’s draft position in May.

    • ssckelley

      If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that Castro and Rizzo would have bounce back years like they are having I would have thought this team would have been .500 at least.

      • Jason P

        If you would have told me we’d start 13-26 but Rizzo, Castro, and Samardzija all were having great years, I would have taken it. I think, but am not entirely sure, I’d also take what’s happened so far over being 20-19 but those 3 having bad years.

      • Jon

        Castro and Rizzo are essentially picking up where they left off from 2012. (and a year where they deliberately messed with and screwed Castro) So essentially, in three years, outside of dumping nearly every asset for prospects, no meaningful progress has been made in the organization. Treading water.

        • Blackhawks1963

          Yeah, because Castro isn’t culpable at all for his putrid 2013 campaign. After all, he’s simply a programmable robot and its easier to blame the manager, hitting coach, whatever.

          • Jon

            If a coaching staff messes with a players approach, one with elstsblised success, and the results are not positive, then no that isn’t the players fault

          • Patrick W.

            This doesn’t seem to be that difficult a concept.

            Coaches: Hey Starlin, do it this way for a change
            Starlin: Well, OK
            Starlin: I like the old way better, this isn’t working
            Coaches: No, no, keep trying, trust us it will work
            Starlin: Still not working
            Coaches: Keep trying
            Starlin: Still not working
            Coaches: We just got fired.

            • Jon

              Reminds me of when Dusty tried to turn Patterson into a slap hitter. Once it’s the majors, just stay out of there way

        • ari gold

          Yes Jon because the organization begins and ends with the Major League team.

          • Brocktoon

            Well, it ends there.

  • therealPattyP

    Clutch answer to JD’s trivia question by me. Matheny using Rosenthal for 5 outs seemed a bit drastic to me. Cards may be running low on magic dust this season.

    • Beast Mode

      Quick side note. I met Todd wellemeyer this year. He threw out the first pitch at my kids little league game. He still can’t throw a strike though:(

  • Blackhawks1963

    There is not a single outfielder on this club who would be deemed a decent 4th outfielder option for a playoff contending team. Criminy.

    • ssckelley

      Bonifacio would make a decent 4th outfielder on a contending team.

  • Edwin

    The Cubs OF is playing at a historically bad level right now.

    • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

      AAA is doing worse it seems:
      Szczur – .228/.297/.297
      Vitters – .214/.281/.419
      Jackson – .161/.224/.306

      Can’t wait for the next wave of Outfielders to hit Iowa:
      Soler – .364/.440/.682 (6 G)
      Bryant – .324/.425/.620 (38 G)
      Andreoli – .274/.409/.339
      Silva – .276/.324/.418

      • David

        Man…. Jackson had a lot of promise. He’s done, too bad.

        • Medicos

          Hey David: You’re right Jackson had promise. Felix Pie had promise. Corey Patterson had promise. The last decent outfielder to come out the Cubs minor league system might be Billy Williams and that was decades ago. Years ago Shawon Dunston and Mark Grace were the only two players, other than pitchers, for an entire decade to show up at the Friendly Confines. Hopefully one of the positive aspects of the Hoystein regime will be to rebuild the lousy farm system and produce some MLB talent!!!

          • http://BleacherNation blewett

            Rafael Palmiero.

            • Medicos

              I forgot about Palmiero. But since he was using performance enhancing drugs, I wouldn’t consider him a success story out of the Cubs minor league system.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Raffy would have been a big success without PEDs. He was successful for the reason that so many Cubs prospects failed: Raffy came to MLB with a great batting eye, whereas we were told to sit back and wait for those other guys to grow two (or even just one!).

                Again, one of the big reasons for the repeated failure of Cubs prospects was the traditionalist belief that guys gained pitch recognition with “maturity” or “experience.” That turned out to be untrue. However, people were still assuming that when they were predicting great things for many of these guys. Modern talent-evaluators would be much more dubious about these guys if they were in miLB today.

          • jp3

            Kerry wood was through our system but if you mean position players that have been awesome we had Derrick May or Brant Brown😄.

            • Medicos

              If you seriously think Derrick may and Brant Brown were awesome, we might have a disagreement!!!

      • Blackhawks1963

        So incredibly sick of Vitters and Jackson. Just dump both these failures and open opportunity for somebody else.

        • renegade4196

          ^ They just take up space. Both of them are true Hendry busts.

          Not that Theo and Jed are any better, but Hendry was much worse at drafting. (Vitters, Jackson, Simpson, Harvey, Baez)

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Despite the constant repetition of this mantra, it simply isn’t true. The Cubs are 8th in the NL in OPS from both LF and CF. Yup, 8th: 7 teams are doing better, and 7 teams are doing worse. The Phillies, DBacks, Nats and Reds all are doing worse at *both* positions than are the Cubs.

      Now, it would be great if the Cubs were doing better than league-median at these two positions: but that also means that the “OF” is being dragged down *heavily* by RF alone; so, stop talking about the OF as if it’s a cohesive unit already!

  • cubmig

    Why is Baker on the team? And how is it that his numbers don’t scream back at the powers-that-be: ” Why is Baker on the team?!!!”

    • mjhurdle

      I would imagine the Cubs signed him as a defensive catcher with good rotation handling skills because they wanted a defensive catcher with good rotation handling skills. Im not so sure the lack of offense is a huge concern for them.

      • Jon

        After they realized in March what a disaster Kotteras was defensively

  • Jon

    Oh boy, looks like the China doll at Tennessee is hurt again

    • nkniacc13

      Im hearing cramp in right calf

    • Seabee

      I guess there goes his consecutive games with a doubles record.

  • FortyFour

    I have patiently understood the need for the total rebuild, embracing the strategy of trading 40% of the rotation in each of the first three years (assuming the FO does it again this season) since Theo, Jed, and Jason have taken over. My concern is that next year we may not see the team consistently playing above .500 baseball and that is going to be aggravating.

    Next year, they will need a veteran bat to compliment their other veteran bats in Rizzo and Castro. Next year, this team needs an outfield that has only Bono, Lake and Kalish returning and features Bryant and a new veteran bat. I like what the Marlins are accomplishing as well as the Brewers and if the Cubs can’t be as successful at least be above .500 with a ton of youth in the dugout and prospects on the way.

    Next year cannot be a repeat of being a dozen games below .500 and a dozen games behind the division leader 1/4 of the way through the season. After this year, I no longer want to hear about tanking, being trade deadline sellers, or anything else that resembles losing for a long, long time. It has to be better and I want to see progress this year, even if it means having just one more win than we did last year.

    • BlameHendry

      Kalish? No. He’s a filler til we get better outfielders, at best. Boner? He’ll more than likely revert to his usual self before this season is over. In fact he’s already regressed quite a bit and would only be moderately valuable in the infield. Lake? He still has a lot to prove. Bryant should stay at third if his glove can handle it, because a high-power bat is obviously worth more at 3B than the same bat in the OF. I don’t care what happens to Olt, I’d rather put him in the OF or trade him.

      Next year we need to bring in decent outfielders via free agency on short deals (1-3 years) kinda like the DeJesus deal. Those guys would keep the spots warm for when Soler and Almora get here, and maybe Lake can cut that K rate down and prove himself worthy of a long-term position on this team.

  • jp3

    Hannemann struggling this year… I don’t get all the hoopla, his OBP is under .300, he Ks a lot, and he’s way too old to be struggling in low A. He’s 6 months older than Alcantara which isn’t necessarily a knock but damn he’s not been good.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I’m keeping my eye on the Galindo kid playing down in the VSL. He has a homer tonight and had a triple yesterday. He’s a big strong kid with power. I imagine he’ll be playing stateside next year.

  • BrianH

    Oh well, Cubs lost (expected but not desired) but thankful for the nice day by Castro and Rizzo. With the off day for most of baseball, gave me a nice haul of points on my fantasy team while most of my other players were off.

  • BlameHendry

    Soler injured again. Welp, fuck.

    • David

      how??

      • BlameHendry

        Not entirely sure. Apparently hurt while catching a fly ball, something with his leg (hamstring again maybe?). Taken out after that.

  • renegade4196

    Fuck me sideways. Soler again? Fuckfuckfuck.

    Big 4:
    Bust
    Potential Success
    Always hurt
    Doesn’t walk at all

    Guess who’s who.

  • David

    We’ll all be sad in July when there is no more Sharks. See interesting article:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-jeff-samardzija-cubs-spt-0516-20140516,0,7622637.story

  • Chris

    FIRST!!! YES!!

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