Results tagged ‘ Starlin Castro ’
Watching the Cubs get shutout by Madison Bumgarner and the Giants for 8 innings tonight, I was reminded how anemic their offense is.
The Cubs are below league average in runs, home runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and extra-base hits.
The only things the Cubs do better than the rest of the league……….ground into double-plays. They lead with 50.
Then they gave me hope. A single by Starlin Castro, a single by Joe Mather, then a 3-run homer off the bat of Alfonso Soriano. In just a matter of a couple pitches it was the Giants 4 and the Cubs 3. Unfortunately, despite teasing me with 2 more base runners, the Cubs were unable to score the tying run and Chicago’s modest 3-game win streak came to an end.
Soriano’s home run was the 40th that the Cubs have hit this season. It’s not the fewest in baseball (25th of 30), but it’s pretty sad. The 40 homers through 51 games puts the Cubs on pace for 127 HR’s, that would be the fewest dingers the Cubs have hit since 1997. In ’97 Sammy Sosa lead the team with 36 homers, Mark Grace was second with 13.
Speaking of Sosa, it was 14 years ago today that Sammy started the greatest home run month in the history of baseball. On June 1st, 1998 the Cubs were playing the Florida Marlins. Sosa hit the first two of his record 20 home runs. He hit the first one in the first inning off the Marlins pitcher that was making his first career major league start, that pitcher was Ryan Dempster.
It took 50 games, but the Cubs were finally able to put together a three game winning streak for the first time this year.
It’s not something that I want to jump up and down about though. The Cubs won three in a row against the only team in the league with a worse record (17-35), and the only other team in baseball that hasn’t won 3 straight, San Diego.
So the Cubs finish May with an 18-32 record overall and 10-17 for the month, last in the NL Central.
Now word comes out, through a USA Today article by Bob Nightengale, that the Cubs are ready to listen to offers for almost any player. Surprisingly, the one untouchable player isn’t Starlin Castro, its starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.
Surprising for two reasons;
(1) Coming into spring training Samardzija was a man without a defined job. Since making his first appearance for the Cubs in 2008, Jeff has bounced back and forth as a starter and reliever, as well as between the big leagues and AAA. His biggest issue has been control. Over the past two seasons combined he has walked 5.9 batters per 9. But this spring Jeff was throwing the ball over the plate and earned a job in the starting rotation over 2011 starter Randy Wells and trade pickup Travis Wood. And so far he has continued to throw strikes, only walking 2.7/9. I hope he continues throwing strikes, but I’m not sure that I would shut the door on any trade offers just because of two months of great work.
(2) I’m guessing if asked, “Who is the one player the Cubs shouldn’t trade?”; Cubs fans would overwhelmingly pick Starlin Castro. Yet I have no problem with a trade of Castro. My biggest beef, his defense. Last year he led the league in errors, this year he is second so far, and that just counts “official” errors. I can’t count the number of times he has dropped the ball (or flat out missed the ball) on stolen base attempts for which no error was charged.
One of my favorite stats is Wins above Replacement (WAR). Everyone loved Castro’s season last year, his WAR was 3.2. That was 10th among shortstops, behind Brendan Ryan, Erick Aybar and Yunel Escobar. Castro is good, and he is young, but if someone wants to drop two top flight prospects on the Cubs for Castro, I’d take them.
So as we head into June I think we are gonna see some big changes to the Cubs roster; veterans are going to leave and rookies are gonna get their chances. It will be an interesting two months before the trade deadline.
Last week when the Cubs were in Cincinnati to play the Reds I had the day off and so I took the opportunity to drive down there, a little over 5 hours, to see the Cubs play. It was my first time at Great American Ballpark.
The drive wasn’t bad; the game was scheduled to start at 11:30, so I left my house at 4am. With one bathroom/coffee stop, I was in the parking lot near the stadium at 9:20.
The gates to the park were to open at 10am, so I went to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame first.
(You can click on this picture and all the other to see in full size)
The entrance to the Reds Hall is just outside “Nuxy’s Entrance” to the park, named after Reds pitcher and broadcaster Joe Nuxhall, who was the youngest pitcher to appear in a major League game when he pitched on June 10th, 1944 at the age of 15……………take that Bryce Harper. Also just outside that gate is a statue of Johnny Bench.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll happily say it again, Bench was my favorite player when I was a kid.
Inside the museum, the first exhibit is about the 1975-76 Champion Reds. It’s also the third, fifth, sixth, and ninth. I will just say this, everywhere you go in the museum and in the ballpark itself, you will find one reference or another to the Big Red Machine. Not that I blame them, they were a great team. I’m sure if the Cubs ever win a World Series that team will be celebrated for decades to come too.
There are plenty of jerseys and bios of all the players. I took a couple of pictures.
Here is a picture of game worn spikes from Johnny Bench.
Look at those things. I was playing Little League when Bench was wearing those spikes and I had a better pair. Those things look they should have been worn by Gabby Hartnett in 1930, not All-Star Johnny Bench in the 70’s.
Surprisingly, or not, I’m not sure, there is not as much Pete Rose stuff as I thought there might be. There is a jersey and some pictures, but not overdone. There is a wall that is covered with 4,256 baseball’s. Here is the plaque that goes next to it.
The wall itself is right along a three story staircase that takes you to an upper level of the museum. It’s nice as you walk up the stairs they highlight certain numbered balls that you can read about, but it makes it impossible to get a nice picture. However, from the third floor you can look out over the “Rose” garden.
UPDATE: I just found a video description of the Pete Rose Baseball Wall and Garden, and now with the ability to add MLB Video’s here it is:
Once you are on the third floor they have another Big Red Machine exhibit, just in case you forgot who won the 1975 WS.
To finish up the tour, you see the 1990 World Series Trophy…
….and the plaques of all the Reds Hall of Fame members. There are 72 players and 6 executives honored, and no, Pete Rose is not one of them. Here are two pictures.
It was now 10am, time for the gates to open.
As you can see, there were probably less than 100 people at the gate. As we waited there was some friendly banter going on back and forth between Cubs and Reds fans.
When the gates opened I went straight into the seating area and took this shot.
It was really kind of weird being one of the first people inside a huge empty stadium. I then went back into the concourse to look around. One of the first things I saw was an LED sign hanging overhead with the starting lineups for both teams. For people like me that like to keep score at the game, this is a great feature.
If fact, during the game I was shown on TV writing something into my score book.
BTW, this game featured two starting pitchers (Ryan Dempster and Homer Baily) that were celebrating birthdays that day. That was the first time in Major League history that that had happened.
As I started my walk along the concourse, guess what I saw first. Yes, it was a mural of the 1975 Reds.
With no batting practice that day, I had plenty of time to walk around the entire stadium, and I did. Here are just a few of the pictures I took.
I just walked around, taking pictures and talking with ushers. I was wearing a Cubs hat and jersey and almost every usher asked me if I drove down for the series, when I told them that I just drove in that morning for the game most thought it was crazy, but then they all wanted to tell me about “their” park. I’ve found that no matter where you go, baseball fans are proud of their park and when given the chance to talk about it with other baseball fans, they will gladly do so.
It was about 25 minutes before game time and I headed to my seat. I had a GREAT seat. Row 1 right behind the Cubs dugout. Here are two pictures of Soriano and Castro warming up right in front of me.
I took a few shots during the game, but I brought my cheap camera with me instead of the nice one and it doesn’t do very well with action shots.
Here is DeJesus leading off the game for the Cubs.
Here is Castro rounding third after hitting a first inning solo HR
I took this shot of Garza and Samardzija between innings
Somehow I get the feeling they weren’t looking into the crowd to see if they could spot dorks like me with a scorebook and camera in hand, they were probably doing a different kind of people watching.
Here is a shot of LaHair after a solo HR
In the middle of the game I went for a snack. First I had a hotdog. The women behind the counter asked if I wanted to get a red shirt also. At first I didn’t realize what she meant. I thought maybe it was a snack to go with the hotdog. Then I realized that she was talking about getting a Reds shirt instead of wearing my Cubs shirt, I laughed and said I was just fine the way I was. I ate the hotdog quickly and went looking for nachos to take back to my seat. I had to walk all the way out to the outfield concourse before I found them. I wished I hadn’t. I don’t know what kind of cheese that they use there, but it just didn’t taste that good to me.
The middle innings went fast and both pitchers were doing a good job.
The Cubs were leading the game 3-0 going into the eighth after hitting three solo shots early in the game. Then the Reds brought in Aroldis Chapman. I’ll just say this, he throws hard
The Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth leading 3-0. They lost the game 4-3 in ten innings. I could go through the gory details, but I’ll just let the pictures tell the tale.
After that is was back into the car for the 5 and a 1/2 hour drive home. Ugh.
Update: Thanks to Mark and MLBlogs Network for featuring my post on the front page. For all the new readers that have been directed to this page you can click HERE to read my most recent posts or subscribe to my page to receive email updates. Thanks for reading.
I’m a fan of Starlin Castro.
As I’ve said in the past, I think he has the rawest pure talent of any player on the team. Unfortunately, I’ve also suggested that he still needs to learn how to be a professional baseball player.
He actually reminds me a lot of Andruw Jones. They may not have the exact same skill set, but they are/were both very talented players that “appear” to lack complete dedication to the game.
Now I know that that is not a fair statement. I don’t really know what’s going on in Starlin’s head. And the fact is that it does take very hard work to just make the majors, let alone hit .300 or smack 400+ homers.
And I don’t think it’s fair to just take one moment in time and use that to define a player’s entire career, just ask Scottie Pippen.
But if something happens on the field, a camera will see it, even if the manager does not.
And so yesterday Mike Quade benched Castro so that he could have “a mental day off”.
Let’s see how “rested” he is tonight.
You gotta love Cubs fans.
It’s the eternal optimism that fills Wrigley Field day in and day out. The kind of optimism that lets us say “wait til next year” each year.
As I’m watching the game right now with a couple of buddies, the Cubs are beating the Reds 10-3 in the sixth inning. If the Cubs go on to win the game it would be their 7th straight win. It would be their first 7 game win streak since 2008.
Now remember, this is a team 15 games out of first place behind 4 other teams, and a total of 17 games under .500. They have the worst era in the National League. They have the fewest quality starts in the NL. They have the worst fielding percentage and have committed the most errors in the NL.
Despite all that, the conversation has been;
“Where are they in the standings?” “What if they went on a crazy 20 of 25 run?” “You know, they are starting to get healthy for the first time all year.” “Quade had them on a good run last August.”
You gotta love Cubs fans!!!! :)
I’ve been busy the last week and a half and I’ve only made
one post and really haven’t had a chance to get around to everyone else’s post,
but that will change tonight starting with this post.
Instead of touching on one topic I’m going to go Larry King
style and just put down a bunch of random thoughts to catch up on some of the
things I’ve missed this past week.
Spring training games started, it’s good to see baseball on TV.
Coco Crisp was arrested on
suspicion of DUI. Why do people continue to do this?
Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez got into a dugout scuffle
after the first inning, somewhere Carlos Zambrano is smiling.
The Cardinals have already lost Adam
Wainwright for the season. The Cubs NL Champion odds in Vegas remain
unchanged. That tells you more about the Cubs than it does the Cardinals.
Justin Morneau of the
Twins has still not been cleared to play after sustaining a concussion last July;
the brain is a complicated machine. Remember this when drafting Josh Beckett
for your fantasy team.
Every time a new Dancing with the Stars cast is revealed I
proclaim it to be worse than the season before, and this season is no different………
yet I’ll probably still watch.
passed away last week. The HOF member played against the Cubs 287 times hitting
The Cubs are looking to hire a new public address announcer at
Wrigley Field. “Batting second …. Starlin Castro….. Number 13…… Castro” Sounds
good on paper, wish I had a voice to match.
If you get a chance, pick up Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter.
It’s a little dry, but it will help explain why shouts of “death panels” have
trumped actual facts in the health care debate.
not the start I wanted to see.
Did I mention I’m happy spring games have started?
Hathaway was fine, James Franco….ugh!
Bring back a professional next time please.
I pre-ordered Inside
Job last month, now I really can’t wait to see it.
Albert Pujols, age 30, has a ‘Wins
Above Replacement’ total of 83.8. Joe DiMaggio had a career total of 83.6. Mr.
Ricketts, ……… find $30M and sign this guy.
Well it’s February 1st and Chicago, along with
the rest of the Midwest, is being hit today with huge snowstorm. Projections from
TV forecasters range from 12 to 20 inches of snow. That’s a fairly wide window
in order to be correct. Being a weatherman is one of those jobs were nobody
expects you to be perfect in your performance, in fact most people expect you
to be wrong more often than your right…. and yet everyone still wants to hear
what you have to say. And the best part about it is they get a chance to come
back tomorrow and try it again.
Baseball “experts” make their projections also. Each spring
fantasy players, which I’m one, read all the projections that are published. To
some extent, great or small, we rely on these projections to help us put
together what we hope will be a championship winning fantasy team.
Unlike weatherman that get results to their predictions in
one day, baseball results take 6 months to come in, by that time your fantasy
magazines have long since gone in the recycle bin. You’ll know that the players
you picked may or may not have had a good year, but will you remember the
actual projection that you read before you picked each guy.
Well I saved one of the magazines I bought last year and I
thought today would be a good day to go back and look at some of the
projections that were made for Cubs players last spring.
The magazine is Fantasy
Projected: 16HR, 58 RBI, .258Avg
Actual: 17HR, 53
RBI, .280Avg (Close on power categories, about 8% off on
P: 27HR, 98RBI, .299Avg
A: 19HR, 80RBI,
.260Avg ( Way off the mark, 30% off on
HR and Avg, 20% off on RBI. You can’t be 30% wrong on your power hitting first
baseman if you plan on reaching HR targets)
A: 463AB, 3HR, 41RBI, 10SB, .300Avg (Great rookie year but he was an unknown to
anyone only reading this mag)
P: 435AB, 22HR, 78RBI, .300Avg
A: 465AB, 25HR, 83RBI,
.241Avg ( Again close of power numbers, but way off on Avg)
P: 483AB, 25HR, 81RBI, .255Avg
A: 496AB, 24HR, 79RBI,
.258Avg (Many people weren’t happy with Soriano’s year, but maybe their hopes
were set too high as Soriano hit numbers that many “experts” predicted)
P: 16W, 187K, 3.69era
A: 15W, 208K, 3.85era
(Dempster has been very consistent the last three years which makes projections
easier to make)
11W, 117K, 3.33era ( A crazy season for Zambrano, projections never could
factor in a bullpen stint)
So some picks were good, but others were as much as 30% off.
If the weather people are 30% off today, we could get buried under 28 inches of
snow…….. or get just 4.
Here is a picture of me at 4:00 this afternoon next to a
yardstick stuck in the ground. Let’s see how much snow we get.
Update Picture: It was really windy last night and there was a lot of The above picture was from Tuesday afternoon, this next
drifting of the snow, but when it was all said and done, we got about 12 inches
picture is from this morning (Wed) around 8am.
It was really windy last night and there was a lot of
The above picture was from Tuesday afternoon, this next
Geo Soto: 17HR, .280avg
Aramis Ramirez: 25HR
Alfonso Soriano: 24HR
Marlon Bryd: .293avg
Starlin Castro: 300avg w/500 plate appearances
Tyler Colvin: 20HR
Ryan Dempster: 15W, 3.85era w 215inn
Carlos Marmol: 38sv, 138K
I’m fairly certain that if you would have given me those
numbers before the season started, I would have taken them and I would have
said that the Cubs would win the NL Central. Instead, those numbers are just
the small dots of light on the dark night canvas that was the 2010 season.
Despite high hopes for the season, the Cubs lost on Opening
Day and were never really in the chase for the division. In fact, they were
never even over .500 at any point during the year. The only time they reached
level water was on April 26th after beating the Washington Nationals
4-3 in 10 innings. They were 10-10, but they lost the next day and never saw
They finished the year at 75-87. You can look at the splits
a lot of different ways, but the two most telling in my mind are; they were
34-45 against their own division and 35-46 at home. If you can’t win at home
and can’t beat division rivals, you can’t expect to win titles.
The year was also filled with turmoil. From Carlos Zambrano’s
anger management problems, trades of fan favorites like Derrek Lee and Ted
Lilly, and the stepping down of manager Lou Piniella; the Cubs and their fans
never got in synch. By July 1st Chicago was 10 games out of first
and it was just the start of a longggggg summer.
To be continued………………… with “what to do next”