Ryno of the Week: After Ryan Dempster's shit puddle of a game on Thursday, Cubs starters have an atrocious 6.12 ERA, easily the worst in the NL. But finally, FINALLY, someone has stepped forward and proved to be reliable every fifth day. Though Matt Garza lost to the Rockies on Monday, it was Castro's error palooza that did him in rather than his own pitching. In two starts this week, Garza threw 14 innings, allowed four earned runs, walked three and struck out 17. Garza's 51 strikeouts lead the majors.
Cubs Week 4 awards: That sinking feeling
Why do we have that sinking feeling in our stomachs? Is it because the Cubs had such a damn good chance to tie it up in the ninth yesterday, but couldn't quite get it done? Or maybe it's because James Russell is going to get another freakin' chance to make an opposing team look like they should be wearing All-Star uniforms. Or perhaps it's because the Cubs are sinking toward the bottom in so many statistical categories: dead last in the NL in ERA, 12th in runs scored, and the fifth-most errors.
A year ago, as the calendar turned to May, the Cubs were 11-13, 4.5 games behind the Cardinals. After one month and one day in 2011, they are 12-15, 3.5 games behind the Cardinals. So at least they're consistent, then. Hopefully the Cubs won't mirror their early May performance: after climbing back to .500 at 13-13 last year, they lost nine of eleven games and never did become reacquainted with the .500 mark.
April's schedule led you to believe the Cubs would need to make some hay in the early going. They've played Pittsburgh, Houston, Milwaukee, San Diego, and Arizona twice, and yet they've lost more games than they've won. Perhaps, like the Bulls, they will rise to their tougher competition as the season moves forward. Otherwise, with teams like the Reds, Cardinals and Giants on the schedule in May, this ship could soon be sunk for good.
Continue reading to see this week's Ryno and Goat of the Week ...
Honorable mention: Alfonso Soriano only had six hits this week, but four of them left the park. His 1.300 OPS over the last six games trailed only Koyie Hill, so while this goes against my long-held belief that you are not honorable nor should you receive mention of any kind if you trail Koyie Hill in anything, it's nice to see someone providing a much-needed power boost. Soriano's 461-foot blast on Saturday was the fifth-longest in the majors this season.
Goat of the Week: That one-third of an inning debacle left Ryan Dempster with the highest ERA in the majors among qualified pitchers. Dempster's been bad enough that you have to wonder if he's hurt. His velocity is still there, but he simply cannot find the strike zone consistently. When he does find the zone, the ball is too often finding the seats. He could get a couple pointers from the Ryno of the Week--Garza has yet to allow a home run this year.
Dishonorable mention: It sort of pains me to say so, but Castro really struggled this week, going 5-for-26 at the plate along with the aforementioned three errors on Monday. He's still batting .339.