Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro Are Getting Too Much Blame and Other Bullets

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Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro Are Getting Too Much Blame and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

dale sveum mediaAaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback on one of my two fantasy teams (I know, boo, hiss). He’s on a bye this week, so I had to grab a replacement off of the waiver wire. Who gets the nod? Jay Cutler. Thoughts?

  • Dale Sveum says the winning isn’t too far off for the Cubs, pointing to the Pirates and Nationals as success stories in recent years. And, although the Cubs have struggle this year, Sveum thinks the weight of failure is being placed inappropriately on the shoulders of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. “The thing that gets blown out of proportion is that these are the two guys getting talked about all the time,” Sveum said, per “Are they having really bad, bad years? No. Rizzo has [39] doubles, he’s got [77 RBIs], he’s got home runs in the 20s, and Castro has been swinging the bat a lot better. These guys just have to keep playing and build on the adversity they’ve gone through this year.” I’m glad to hear Sveum finally say it out loud, and I don’t think he’s just defending his own efforts. Castro’s down year is pretty clearly traceable to an organization-level decision to rework his approach at the plate (laudable attempt, but it just didn’t take), and Rizzo’s “down year” is largely the product of a fair bit of bad luck on balls in play.
  • That is not to say that Castro’s and Rizzo’s performances are not a part of the reason the Cubs have performed so poorly. It is only to say that (1) their failures have been overblown, and (2) their failures are, in part, understandable/explainable.
  • For what feels like the hundredth year in a row, the Chicago Cubs have a worse home record than road record (30-50 versus 35-43). In reality, of course, it’s just the second time since 2005 that it’s happened, but our memory fails us. Why? The Cubs’ home success relative to the rest of the league has been crummy for a long time.
  • In any event, the point here is that last night’s loss was the Cubs’ 50th at home this year, and that hasn’t happened in a long time – as in, ever. I won’t make it all about the day games. The 2013 Cubs are going to lose a whole lot of games, and a big chunk were bound to come at home. If you lose 90+ games three seasons in a row, as the Cubs have, there’s a statistical chance that 50 of them in one season will come at home (especially if your team is predisposed to being disproportionately less good at home than other teams are good at home).
  • When asked about Chris Rusin, who was knocked out of last night’s game in the third inning, Dale Sveum told the Tribune that Rusin had showed what he can do when he was fresh. The implication there is that Rusin – who is approaching 190 innings on the year between AAA and the Majors – was wearing down over the last couple weeks.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.