To die and die some more in LA. Dodgers 3 Cubs 1

When your team has one of the worst statistical pitchers in the game starting for you, and the other team has the reigning Cy Young, you don’t expect a 2-1 ballgame going into the late innings. But that’s exactly what happened. Clayton Kershaw went through the Cubs lineup like shit through a goose. (Always loved that phrase. So glad I got to use it.) But Chris Volstad was pretty much equal to the task. In the end though, the offense, featuring the ridiculous “right handed heavy” line up, couldn’t muster a hint of an attack and the Cubs took a 3-1 defeat. There’s some good, some bad, and certainly some ugly. So let’s rifle through it before another storm hits.

“PRIVATE PYLE YOU ARE DEFINETLY BORN AGAIN HARD. SHOOT, I MIGHT EVEN LET YOU BE A RIFLEMAN IN MY BELOVED CORE…”

Chris Volstad returned, and according to Dale Svuem, this time it’s for good. And if he pitches like he did tonight, that won’t be such a terrible thing. Volstad managed to stay out of “the big inning” which had happened to him in 8 of his previous 9 starts. He threw 100 pitches, 67 for strikes. The Kapper and Holly were prattling on about throwing more sinkers and sinking fastballs. Maybe they have something. But when you’re 6’5” like Volstad is you should have bigger downward trajectory on all your pitches. Tonight he did. (Save the Matt kemp dinger. But Kemp does that to a lot of people.). Is Chris Volstad back? Well, he was never anywhere good to get back to in the first place. But a good start is a good start. And 5 or 6 more might get him off the pay no mind list.

GO, GLOVE! POINT, AND HAVING POINTED, POUNCE!

I’m sure whenever I get around to listening to Hit & Run tomorrow, that Starlin Castro’s defense will be brought up. Castro was a bit…. Shall we say…cavalier in the field. There was a play where he and Barney had to delay a force throw and nearly missed getting the guy out. There was a questionable jump throw on a double play. There was a throw that Rizzo absolutely saved a run on. And there was the questionable fielding on the insurance run in the 8th. Now Castro’s defense has taken huge strides forward this year. And some of these plays are the result of being overly confident from having improved. But Castro’s past gets brought up quickly, and there seemed to be a little more flash last night than we’ve been used to lately. A simple reminder of what Castro has been doing and should be doing might be in order from our beloved tattooed manager.

THE DOWNSIDE OF HUGGING IT OUT.

Cubs are now 0-4 since everyone hugged Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto goodbye on Monday night. And the 4 games have been listless, uninteresting affairs. I understand Ryan Dempster was liked in the Clubhouse. But it’s not like the players didn’t know this was coming. What’s so strange is that the team was really playing well before then. Rizzo and Castro were mashing and Cub life had a nice little vibe. Now there’s this Zombie like feel to the last few games. Here’s hoping t stops.

So the Cubs try and avoid the sweep against LA tomorrow and Joe Blanton. The Cubs have hit Blanton before. Justin Germano takes the bump for the Cubs. He was the last Cubs starter to get a win. So there’s that. This was the kind of loss that would have happened even if the cubs were like…a good team. But coming off the heels of the previous 3, it strikes a sour note. Speaking of which, the Chili peppers are closing Lollapalooza tonight. And all my friends there are reporting that they’re just terrible. For the Rock n Rollers and the Cub fans, I quote the great Ray Davies when I say, “ I hope tomorrow, you find better things.”

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  • We are getting back into that hunt fo rth e#1 draft pick. With a rotation that includes Volstad, Coleman, & Germano, we have a great shot at that illustrious goal. No need to take chances with Garza's injury, DL him until hes better. And Shark is in his first full year as a starter. Shut him down like Strassberg. WIth a starting 5 of Volstad, Coleman, Germano, Rodrigo Lopez & Randy Wells, I think our only worry is how many draft choices that we wont be able to sign next year because of Appel's bonus. Seriouly, I wish Castro & Rizzo would keep hitting, if Shark isnt piuitching they are the only thing worth watching on this expansion quality team.

  • Side note. Just read a Tribune article that says the Dodgers are upset wth the Cubs as they were not told that Ryan Dempster was on the line during negotiations. (actually that is kind of low class on the Cubs part to not tell them IMO). It said the Dodgers are upset and likely wont be dealing with the Cubs in the future. Anyway, Screw them, they dont giv efair value in their offers and tryied ot hold the Cubs hostage under the circumstances. F' them. It said they were only offering the Cubs 4 very low level prospect.

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    IMO The dodgers are right in that aspects. It's like when your talking to someone on the phone and they are in a room w other people and have you on speaker, but fail to tell you. Pretty classless, but they were just doing that so they could get Ryan Dempster the F out of here so the Dodgers cant be too mad.

    Also, how could they say they do not want to trade w us anymore?

    After we gave them Ted Lilly, Greg Maddux, and Ryan Theriot over the last few years and only one coming back that I can even remember is Blake Dewitt and we know big of a bust he was. If they had any honor, they would feel bad for screwing us over. I know that's not how things work, but I really thought for the sake of Karma, they were going to give us Webster for Dempster and Lahair/Reed Johnson.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I'm cool with the Cubs doing that. Open negotiations. If the Dodgers really think that the Cubs aren't keeping a 10/5 guy who obviously wants to assume a large amount of control over his future TOTALLY in on the negotiations, then... well, you're (not you, the Dodgers are) dumb. And we'd be smart not to take any of their crap prospects in the future.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Considering the Dodgers weren't negotiating in good faith, I don't think the Cubs will mind dealing with other teams anyway.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Right on John...It's no secret how badly they wanted him,. they just wanted to give the Cubs nothing of value for him (nothing resembling fair market value) that may have been the only way Demp would believe that that LA was doing this so he would waive his 10/5...Just when I think Ned couldn't sink any lower...Douchebag!!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Yep, Cubs won't be rushing to deal with LA anytime soon. Hopefully they don't need something from the Cubs. If they want Garza, something tells me that if there is an equal offer from the Dodgers and another team, he's going to the other team.

    And LA would have nothing to get ticked off about if they would have just negotiated in good faith. They got caught with their pants down.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'm with you guys. Although I can see both sides points, if LA had been acting in good faith, this wouldn't have been an issue. If Theo's history serves well, the farm system will be loaded in due time and LA will be talking trades again. LA has gotten the better of the Cubs the past few years. Just like all relationships, once one party sees a need from the other, forgiveness comes quicker than expected.

  • To quote the late great Colonel Sanders, " I'm to drunk to taste my chicken."

  • Im sorry but I'm new to Cubs Den..Who is Felzz?

  • In reply to D Rose Kinz:

    John Arguello and Tom Loxas were a late Olympic call up for the fencing team. They take on Angola today. I'm covering.

    Seriously, I'm a Cubs Den poster who John has asked to write game wraps during the busy season. Kind of a September call-up. But in August.

    Hi.

  • Volstad is 6'8 not 6'5

  • In reply to drew:

    Stand corrected. Thank you.

  • "THE DOWNSIDE OF HUGGING IT OUT" was nearly what Episode 3 was named.

    Don't like Castro hitting leadoff tonight with him just starting to develop some pop. I don't think he was cavalier on that forceout to Barney at 2nd though, I just think Barney was shifted way right and it took him awhile to get to the bag.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Carne.

    I agree with Castro hitting leadoff. I'm not a fan of it either. And while Castro clearly was leading Barney to the bag because of the overshift, Castro did make the play standing still with all arm action. He didn't wait a beat and step toward the bag with his throw. Improving Castro's footwork has been item #1 on Svuem's checklist. I don't think it's a "setback" or Castro's regressing at all. Just might be a good idea for a reminder of what's been working lately.

  • Hello all Cubs Denners! I thought the middle-of-the-night postings would end with the trade deadline, but this is my first chance after returning from a harrowing journey where I risked life, limb, and ego to descend into the lair of evil...

    In all honesty, it was only Dodger Stadium, and the traffic was bad. Here is the lowdown on what I could see from field level, and not much of it is good. Hopefully you can glean something from my layman's perspective.

    1. Starlin Castro needs some sort of break or the felzz-suggested talking-to from Dale Sveum, because he looked downright sluggish. He "just missed" diving plays on several ground balls (e.g. Kershaw's second single), but the ones that got through were not hit very hard and it looked like he was not getting a good jump on anything. The hustle just wasn't there. It seems the lessons taught in the wake of the Bobby Valentine criticism may be wearing off. I noticed a few more balls getting through the middle watching the last few weeks' telecasts, but the camera doesn't switch to him fast enough to show his initial reaction.

    2. Speaking of not hustling, Soriano did not move at all on a couple of balls hit to left-center (including the late Victorino hustle double), leaving Joe Mather to do the chasing alone. Hard to tell, but he probably would have had the better play; regardless, he should have been moving in that direction at the bare minimum, better yet backing up the play.

    3. Speaking of Joe Mather, Matt Kemp needed his help to get that home run. Once again, I haven't seen the video, but it looked like a few inches turned a Web Gem into a surrendered game-winner. (For the record, Kemp's first inning flyout to the wall looked like it had a better chance of leaving the park.)

    4. In the spirit of Cubs Den, I do have a dash of optimism to throw in. I talked to Lester Strode briefly near the bullpen after asking him to sign a baseball. He thinks Cabrera will be pretty good. He didn't say much, but that his fastball was his best weapon. Sorry felzz, but scotched-up or not, John was right. That slider may be nasty, but considering that Strode was the only coach to survive both the Piniella and Quade regimes and seemingly has the TheoJed seal of approval, I am inclined to trust what he has to say.

    5. As if I needed any reminding, Wrigley Field beats Dodger Stadium any day, and it's not even close.

    Sorry for writing so much, but I hope you can find something interesting/useful in there somewhere.

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Strode: 2016!

  • In reply to gocubsgo25:

    Thanks for the Post. Lots of good stuff. Hope you enjoyed the game. While it isn't Wrigley, I'm a huge fan of Dodger Stadium. ( Except for the whole traffic thing. But the traffic in all of LA is simply disgusting.)

    Castro did look "out of whack" yesterday. Sluggish is a good word. Hopefully this is a one time thing.

    2. Soriano has also improved his defense tremendously. But breaking on a ball still isn't a strength. He also as had some terrible at-bats recently. Late on fastballs. Trade rumor hangover? just guessing...
    And Mather in CF reminds me of that Chris Rock joke " Shoot you can drive with your feet if you want to, that don't make it a good idea." Yes, he CAN play there, but he's clearly not a CF.

    I've never spoken to him, but Lester Strode does seem like a cool dude. I do like how he's feeding the relievers scouting info as they warm up. And I wasn't doubting Cabrera's talent. Just amusing that Arguello has been "Jerrrryyyyyyy.....you have to see Fastball!!!!!!" and then the kid comes up and throws nothing but ankle breaking sliders. Alanis Morissette would ask if that's ironic. And don't let the detailed minor league wraps, the amazingly thorough scouting reports, the passionate posts, and friendly banter fool you. John Arguello is clearly a scotched- up lush......

  • "GO, GLOVE! POINT, AND HAVING POINTED, POUNCE!"

    Is that referring to The Glove in The Beatles' animated movie Yellow Submarine?

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Ding Ding Ding! Winner.

    That's exactly where it's from.

  • Private Pyle, you are definitely born again hard! Hell, I may even allow you to serve as a rifleman in my beloved corps.

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    Did anyone notice that, not only did Volstad use the two-seamer more often, but he mixed in a four seamer that went up and in to the right handed hitters every once in a while. You could tell the Dodgers hitters weren't looking for it. It was very effective. I remember Bosio talking about the Cubs wanting Volstad to add a four seamer to the mix in Spring Training, but I don't actually recall him using it in a regular season game until tonight.

    I also like that fact that Volstad didn't fall apart at points where he normally would have done so. That pitch he made to Kemp, which Mather almost caught, wasn't a bad pitch. It wasn't a strike. It was down and inside. Kemp just somehow managed to get just enough good wood on it to barely get it out.

    Volstad has alway had the ability. The question with him is did he have the mental makeup. The comparisons between him and Rick Sutcliffe, especially early on in Suttcliffe's career, are valid. Both were first round draft picks. Both were probably rushed to the majors before they were really ready because of it. Both had trouble repeating their deliveries early on, which is not uncommon for pitchers of their height.

    I hope Volstad takes tonight and builds on it. His primary pitch should be that two-seam fastball, and everything else needs to just be for show to keep hitters honest.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Good points on the Sutcliffe comparisons Michael, just needs to get a little nasty like Sutcliffe could as well..It would put some hitters on edge against him

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