Until the Pirates come and take me away. Bucs 6 Cubs 2.

Until the Pirates come and take me away. Bucs 6 Cubs 2.

The Cubs continued their art of losing the first game of a series. At least this one wasn't a bullpen explosion like the prior three. At least this one was at home. At least we saw some effort and some heart.....like from this usher, who diligently broke up an interview with Clint Hurdle's dad. At least.... Scott Hairston's two run blast in the second inning was all the offense the Cubs could muster against Francisco Liriano. And Jeff Samardzija gave that lead back in the top off the third with three runs, the third run being an excellent double steal that allowed Andrew McCutchen to steal home. The Pirates would add two more runs and the Ushers would really get to work as they escorted all 38,000 fans out of the building. Let's raise the jolly roger....what? that's the Pirates slogan?....well I already typed it.....

THIS SHARK, SWALLOW YOU WHOLE.

Not Jeff's best outing. Once again, he struggled to find his groove early. I'll put this out there right now. I think this start has nothing to do with Shark's comments that were totally overblown and misinterpreted following the Feldman trade. Pirates were patient with Garza, made him throw strikes and jumped on the bad strikes. 9 hits through 6 innings is rather high for Shark, as are the 5 walks. And 3 strikeouts suggest it just wasn't his day. Henry Rodriguez came in and was OK. Hector Rondon came in and was less than OK. And Pedro Strop mopped up and was better than OK. So the bullpen....was OK.

FEED YOUR LAWN!!!!!! SEED IT!

Scott Hairston was the hitting star today. Granted it was one hit. But it was a two run homer. I forgot he was on the team.  Which apparently means that the Cubs haven't faced a lefty in awhile, and/or Dale hasn't found many pinch hit opportunities for him when he isn't playing. Of course, you should earn your time. Maybe this home run earns him a little more.

NO....NOTHING ABOUT THIS LOOKS RIGHT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!

So Dave Sappelt led off....... And Rizzo.......batted 6th..........because?.....He wanted to shake things up? Try something new? Because Castro and Soriano were in their normal 2 and 4 spots and they struck out 5 times. So this was a message to Rizzo? Doubt that. Just throwing a lineup against the wall? Whatever, it didn't work.

So that happened. It will hopefully happen again. Hope it doesn't. Multiple Ed jackson takes the mound for the Cubs. Which one shows up, the good one, the bad one, the strike-out one, or the slow pitch one? I don't know. Charlie Morton counters for the Bucko's. Cubs have shown the resiliency to bounce back fro bad gae 1's before. But they haven't against these Pirates since the opening series of the season. We shall see. Onwards.

 

Boxscore

 

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  • Not to mention Castro's outstanding base running skills.

  • It appears that Alcantara is locked in tonight (ground rule double, HR). I don't think he wants to wait around until Baez gets promoted.

  • Yeah...I mentioned Castro's base running in the last Oakland game. I didn't want to get accused of piling on or being a hater. Because I'm neither. But that didn't help matters either....

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    As a physician I wonder if Castro has been tested for ADD. Didn't know Maddux needed glasses until someone tested him.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    People are going to see this as some form of bashing but I think there's a slight chance you might be on to something. May not be ADD but I do feel like there's a lot going on in this young man's head. We're around the same age(i'm 22) and I don't have half the pressure on me that Starlin Castro has on him but I can safely say this is the hardest time of my life right now. Trying to find my place in life, decide the kind of person I want to be, the thoughts start creeping in "what if I fail now, is the rest of my life over".

    I hear so often that your early twenties are the years that shape you. They are the middle-ground between the "child" and "adult" phase and you spend most of those years transitioning. It could be harder or easier for different people depending on background, parents, personality etc.

    I'm saying all this to say I think Castro would benefit from sitting down and talking to someone. Someone who doesn't judge him, want anything from him, or pays him for a service. I feel like that's all he is surrounded by. This game is mental just as much as physical. The players who excel at both attributes are usually Hall of Famers. Castro doesn't need to be Mike Trout mentally but he does need to relax and let the game come to him like it did before all the money and success. Back when he just wanted to play ball.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Marcel, I'm only two years older then you, so I know exactly what you mean. It's tough be this young and unsure of yourself, and how you fit into the world. I can't imagine what a 23 yr old SS getting paid millions of dollars in one of the biggest, and toughest markets in the US must be going through. I bet he feels like he's walking on egg shells with every mistake he makes bc we've seen such a focus on his mistakes from everybody. The guy needs a little slack, or some support like you said.

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    I find it hilarious how mostly Rizzo and few others have made so many outs on the basepaths this it's not even funny yet if you didn't see them yourself you wouldn't even know it happened yet when Castro makes a few the twitterverse, reporters, and journalists have to link videos of it, ask Castro questions about it(essentially forcing him to apologize), and then make sure Dale says something about it. Then his "mental problems" come to light and the Castro bashing begins.

    It's getting ridiculous. Not to single out Rizzo again but he's been atrocious on the bases yet there's not been a single peep about it and nobody has brought it up to him or Dale.

    At least be fair and criticize everyone...

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    You know it's getting stupid when a national guy like Buster Onley is even giving it attention.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Its funny how castro is singled out but our so called ace gets pounded. They ask dale about it all the time because they know he is going to throw him under the bus. They want rizzo to be the face of the cubs.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I sometimes wonder if the Chicago media would be so hard on Castro if Bobby Valentine hadn't spent the better part of two innings complaining about the shortstop's lack of focus in a national broadcast three seasons ago. I mean, the guys that write for the Tribune seem incapable of producing an original thought, but are excellent about jumping on the negativity bandwagon.

    Still, there definitely is a double standard when it comes to judging the play of Castro and Rizzo. Both are producing underwhelming numbers and have their bonehead moments on the field, yet one (at least to this point) is above criticism. There are a couple of things that come to mind in this situation. Has Castro done something to tick off the Chicago media, is there some racism at play, or does Rizzo off limits simply because the new player scent still hasn't worn off? Willhe become the whipping boy once golden boy Baez (or Soler, or Bryant, or Almora) reach the bigs?

  • I'm with you Marcel.

    Everyone barks at how this is Castro's third season but he's still just 22. Do you know how many players at AAA Iowa and AA Tennessee are younger than Castro?.......

    8.

    He's still really really young. And what kills me is that Epstoyer go out of their way to talk about background checks and having support systems in place and really making sure that these kids mature on and off the field. Yet there's really nothing like that in place for Castro who, along with Rizzo, is their biggest investment.

    Maybe this is some tough love that they want him to fight through. But while management has been supportive, you've yet to here that "hey, back off." quote that he sort of deserves.

    Oh and by the way Marcel, whatever you want to do with your life, you strike me as the kind of kid that's gonna succeed.

  • What kind of return do you think Theo and Jed can get from the Padres for Garza that would be a great deal for the Cubs? Would the padres be willing to part ways with LHP Fried and what about Casey Kelly even though out all of 2013 with TJ could be a cheap ad in

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    In reply to Chicago Cubs Fan 24:

    SD is 5.5 GB of first place in the NLWD and 9.5 GB in the NLWC, but they're 1 - 9 over their last 10 games, and they've lost 7 games in a row. They're still not out of it, but if they keep playing like they are now, they soon will be. I'm just not sure they're going to be looking to buy.

  • My guess is Fried is probably off limits although it wouldn't surprise me if Epstoyer asked. Casey Kelly has been talked about ad nauseum as he's a Theo/Jed guy dating back when he was in the Red Sox org. However, they're still waiting for Vizcaino to come back from his TJ surgery, which he's yet to do so I don't think they want him in anything other than a 3rd, most likely 4th player in the deal.

    I know there was one rumor around Robbie Erlin and Fuentes the outfielder, and that package was incredibly underwhelming. Unfortunately, the person who can really answer your question is on his fifth beer and yelling "DAN VOGLEBACH I LOVVVVEEEEE YOUUUUUU!" at the top of his lungs. Hopefully he can give a more concrete answer tomorrow.

  • I'm not the biggest Castro fan, but I don't hate him by any stretch. I am 33 now, and could only wish I had the baseball knowledge I have now when I was 16, 18, 22, 25, or even 28.

    As for worrying about life Marcel, you are too young. Show up on time, do what you say you are going to do, and try get yourself into some type of business or venture that you love that makes you jump up out of bed everyday.

    Take the experience first and the money will come later. Don't worry about living on the street, or having to cut things, or not live high off the hog early. Just get to work on something.

    Don't chase money, just provide good value, and the money always follows.

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    In reply to givejonadollar:

    Really good advice. Thank you.

  • Javier Baez promoted to AA Tennessee......

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    In reply to felzz:

    Awesome!

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    In reply to felzz:

    Great news

  • In reply to felzz:

    Just saw that tweeted out. Congratulations to him, and I honestly thought that he wouldn't get promoted for awhile longer. I guess the move to 2B for Alcantara was a sign that Javy was going to get the bump after all. Should be interesting to see how he responds for the rest of the year. Hopefully he doesn't have growing pains for too long, and continues to do what he's done down in Daytona for the last month and a half or so.

  • Which team do you think the Cubs could get the best deal from with Garza and who would be the main piece?

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    In reply to Chicago Cubs Fan 24:

    Boston, and if it is just Garza by himself, I think we get Webster, Owens and Swihart.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Id take that. I prefer Owens over Barnes anyway.

  • Well, again, the best person to answer this just had an extra scotch to celebrate Baez' promotion.

    But of all the team's interested, and of what little I know of team's farm systems, Boston interest's me the most. Matt Barnes and/or Allen Webster are stronger pitchers than what others are offering and since Epstoyer knows the system, they might be more primed to pull a hidden gem or two in the throw in category. But Lucchino is going to be awfully stingy about giving Theo a good deal. And he may override anything Theo and Ben Cherington agree upon....

  • This Cubs team will be in the top 5 spots for the next two or three years in the draft.....with this, the Cubs should be drafting top college pitchers.....and with the trade of Garza, and Samardzija (going to happen) the Cubs should get a few top pitching prospects .....plus the Cubs have a few of their own pitching prospects in their system right now ( Coleman, Rusin, Raley & :Castillo do not count) that will be with this team......

    the Cubs 2016 pitching staff could be this.....

    Vizcano
    P Johnson
    Underwood
    Cabrera
    Rusin
    Hendricks
    Plus 4 other pitchers from Garza & Samardzija trades....
    Plus lets say one pitcher from 2013 or 2014 draft.....

    Now, we have even talked about T. Woods, Russell or the guys who came over from the Feldman trade.......or any free agents that Theo might sign & trade for more prospects.....

    some point, this Cubs pitching staff will be filled with guys who will be paid the min, and be controlled for years to come.....

    as for hitters, Soler. Almora, Bryant & Baez will be here by 2016.....Vogelbach will be here or be trade bait.....Cubs will have six solid hitters (including Castro & Rizzo) in this lineup by then......whoever plays second in 2016 (and it won't be Barney) will add speed to this team.....

    this will not be Theo's last chance on picking up prospects in July....July 2014 could be even bigger White Flag sell off if E. Jackson gets his stuff together and if Samardzija shows up every game.............

    another 2 years of bad baseball to come....but it is a learning process for many of these Cubs players......if Castro is still making mistakes and Rizzo is a sub par hitter in 2016, then Theo might have to make some adjustments.

  • I wish the Cubs would keep Garza and look hard at trading Jeff Samardzija to Cleveland. Starting with a package of Lindor and Bauer. I just don't see Jeff being all that consistent and being a 1 or 2 type starter. He has value now and I believe he is controllable for a couple more years. I know Garza has a medical history but in my humble opinion I'd keep him for the long term.

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    I agree, and believe Jeff is at his peak now. I don't think he will get any better or more consistent. If they can sign Garza at a deal better than what Jeff is asking for, they should do it. Then Trade Jeff for a real nice package.

  • I'm having a little trouble pinning these last 2 losses on Starlin Castro because ...

    1) I live almost 600 miles from Wrigley Field and even I knew Castro would get picked off if he reached 2B in Saturday's game.

    Why?

    If I'm Starlin, them I'm remembering yesterday's (Friday's) game when "coach sent me home on a sharp single to one of the more powerful arms in MLB. So, he's gonna send me again this time". And, "I got thrown out yesterday so I better get a bigger lead and a really good jump this time." Then, sure enough Starlin is concentrating on not getting thrown out and Schzaaaaaaammmm! he gets picked off. Now, if even I knew this was gonna happen, surely our MLB managers, coaches, and "clubhouse leaders" had a clue and should have pulled Starlin aside for a little "heads up" .

    2) I rechecked the box scores from Friday's and Saturday's games. The other "batters" in our lineup went a combined 4 for 50 (.080 BA) and drove in all of 2 runs.

    So, obviously, Starlin Castro has lots of company in the "blame game". But, we all knew that when we looked at the Cubs offensive lineup last spring.

    And, I certainly agree that we need to try something different with Starlin. Maybe a few more days off. Maybe bring in a seasoned vet (Shawon Dunston, Robin Young, Don Money, Paul Molitar, ...) to work 1 on 1 with him. But our MLB management sure needs to figure out how to help a struggling young potential superstar before the upcoming wave of prospects hits!

  • Do you think cubs could get Barnes,Webster, and Owens for Garza from the Red sox? And who do you think the Cubs would add with Garza in a deal to acquire more talent

  • In reply to Chicago Cubs Fan 24:

    I don't think they'll get that much back.

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