Castro Gets the Call
As virtually all of Cub Nation has probably already heard, the Cubs have summoned 20-year-old Starlin Castro to the bigs. He's in tonight's lineup in Cincinnati, hitting eighth. Ryan Theriot is moving over to second. Chad Tracy, meanwhile, has been banished to Iowa, Andrew Cashner has been promoted to Iowa from Tennessee, and Josh Vitters has been moved up to Tennessee from Daytona.
Back to the game tonight. Here's the batting order that will go up against the Reds' Homer Bailey:
Theriot 4, Fukudome 9, Lee 3, Byrd 8, Ramirez 5, Soriano 6, Soto 2, Castro 6, Silva 1.
Sullivan points out in the Tribune that Castro is the youngest Cubs rookie since 19-year-old Oscar Gamble made his debut 41 years ago. Ironically, Gamble also broke in against the Reds, in Cincinnati.
Also found this item in Sullivan's story amusing: Jim Hendry said these moves were not motivated by the Cubs getting swept in Pittsburgh. "I knew two days ago I was going to do this before Cincinnati," the Cubs GM said.
Some thoughts on the move by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (subscription required):
The Dominican shortstop just turned 20 in March, but after a monster spring and this much offense so far in the Southern League, I think we can have some confidence that he's going to hit immediately. Certainly not .376, but he should hold his own.., as in yesterday's Scouting Notebook, a scout believed he could be a future 70 hitter, which is nearly batting title territory. Beyond the ability to hammer line drives all over the field, Castro has a good, not great approach, but he's not overly aggressive like Corey Patterson was, and it shouldn't be a problem in the big leagues.
Goldstein also cautions that Castro is not "some sort of massive tools monster." He rates Castro's speed as only average and says not to expect much in the way of longball power until Castro's frame fills out.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.