We’re In Boston

So here I am writing from Boston. We just went on one of those Fenway Park Tours. It was beautiful to see all the history and Ted William’s longest in the park home run there. The Red Seat. Do they say that Boston is one of the hardest towns to get around in? We managed to get a parking spot right in front of Fenway.

Welcome To Fenway:

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Here’s Darcy and Mickey:

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So far we love Boston. It’s a great city and amazing people!

—Mark

DeJesus Resurrected in Washington

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The Chicago Cubs put up a monster win yesterday by defeating the Washington Nationals 11-1. The win came on the same day as respected outfielder David DeJesus was traded to the Nationals for an as yet to be determined player.

Did the Cubs miss DeJesus’ presence? Nope. Nate Schierholtz, the most underrated outfielder in the game today smacked a three run homer in the 1st inning to drive in Junior Lake and Dioner Navarro. In fact, Schierholtz was practically a one man machine collecting 6 RBI’s and adding another home run for the game.

Jeff Samardzija had a great game as well. He was as dominate as team management expected him to be last night.

“Really, it comes down to getting the runs that we got,” Samardzija said. “The last thing you want to do is start walking guys. You put up four-to-five home runs and eight-to-nine runs, it allows you to really calm down.”

Now, I think trading David Dejesus was an odd choice. The guy has picked up the leadership role since Alfonso Soriano bolted for the Bronx and was the guy who scolded Starlin Castro for wanting to hide in the clubhouse after embarrassing himself in the last game. DeJesus told Castro to take a seat and cheer on his teammates. Now that’s leadership.

So, who knows? Maybe this is finally Theo Epstein’s team? Maybe this is the team that will lead the long suffering Cubs fans to salvation.

Maybe.

The Cubs try to continue their winning ways today when Chris Rusin gets the call. Game time is 8:05

In other news, My family and I are taking an east coast trip to Boston and then it’s off to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia until Labour Day. I hope to continue posting during the trip and perhaps post some pictures as well.

—Mark

You Can Never Go Home

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So, there is proof that maybe, just maybe the Cubs might want to inject their team with some youthful energy instead of ejecting their fearless manager Dale Sveum. Yesterday, the Cubs were humbled at home by the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1.

Another loss at home and the funny part is that the Cardinals and the Cubs have almost mirror records. The Cardinals with a 71-52 record and the Cubs with a 53-70 record. Junior Lake got three hits including an RBI double, now how’s that for youthful energy?

There was an amazing highlight in yesterday’s game when Anthony Rizzo probably made the catch of the year in the fifth inning going after a Molina pop up. The catch was made on top of the dugout. Way to hustle Rizzo!

“We seem to get guys on base enough during the game, but we’re not getting those runs in. or that three-run homer to break a game open or that two-run double or anything from anybody,” Dale Sveum said.

So now that Sveum has identified the problem, how does he go about fixing it? Well, he gets ejected. Donnie Murphy checked his swing in the seventh inning, but the umpire called him out.

I wasn’t going to get started on instant replay in Major league Ball, but I think it should happen.

I think it’s crazy that it hasn’t all ready happened in the game, but it’s a step in the right direction.

now for the Starlin Castro situation. I think it’s horrible that a guy as talented as Castro makes the errors that he does and yet, he’s still up there playing. I like the kid and so does our son, but putting Castro back in the lineup kind of sends a clear message that there might be a lack of discipline happening. What’s wrong with putting him down in triple A for a few games? This late in the season it’s not going to matter much, but it will help the kid get on track and fix those costly mistakes that he’s been making all season. Maybe even pairing him up with a veteran who can guide him and mentor him? Mario Lemiux did that with Sidney Crosby. It could work.

The Cubs will try to get back on track tonight when Jeff Samardzija gets the start against the Washington Nationals. Game Time is 8:10 eastern
—Mark

Cubs Tired of Starlin Castro

What to do about Starlin Castro? Is it time to trade him? Yesterday, Starlin Castro “Fell asleep at the wheel” in the fifth inning in a 4-0 loss to the much maligned St. Louis Cardinals.

It’s been a lesson in discipline for the young shortstop since coming up to the big leagues in 2010. His, “blunderings” continue and now it could be perhaps, time for him to go. His 60 million dollar contract with the Cubs might be an albatross of sorts, but I’m sure there’s a few teams who could use a talented shortstop.

Let me set this up: Bases loaded and Cardinals have the lead 1-0. An in field pop up to Castro. One out, but Castro didn’t see Jon Jay running for home. Castro realized his goof but it was too late. Jay scores the run.

“I knew the outs and everything, but I put my head down and made a mental mistake,” Starlin Castro said. “I don’t want to make any excuses for that. It’s my mistake, and that’s why I paid for that — that’s why I came out of the game. I feel really, really bad that it happened, especially with Woody pitching good.

The only problem with that Starlin, is you’re in the big leagues now. If that were say, Junior Lake? We’d forgive him but you’ve been up in the majors for a few years now so there’s no excuse for those types of plays. Sorry Dude, that doesn’t cut it.

“There are only so many meetings, so many things you can say,” Dale Sveum said. “When you’ve played this much baseball, you have to do it yourself.”

So, do the Cubs try to deal him in the off-season? or should they stick with him one more year. I’ve got a funny feeling that Theo Epstein won’t hesitate to look at someone else in the shortstop role.

The Cubs will try to rebound today when Edwin Jackson takes to the mound. Game Time is 2:20pm.

—Mark

Cubs Shutout The Cardinals

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What do you mean the Chicago Cubs shut out the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0? What do you mean? This has got to be the best time of year if you’re a Cubs fan. I know they should be playing spoiler and if they keep this up against the Cardinals, anything can happen. However, the Cubs are in the position of “Nothing To Lose” That’s right folks, the Cubs have nothing to lose and yet, in some strange way, they’ve got everything to prove.

This is the time of year when baseball becomes irrelevant if you’re at the bottom of the standings or not even close to a wild card spot. “As God is My Witness, I thought The Cubs had a chance”

So then we have yesterday’s game against the Cardinals. A walloping by the Cubs and a great game by Jake Arrietta, who was grabbed in the Scott Feldman trade to the Orioles.

“For me, there’s no question that this change of scenery and this trade was huge for me and my career, and not only for me, but for the Cubs as well,” Jake Arrieta said. “I couldn’t be more excited to be here.”

These are exciting times for the Cubs indeed. Yesterday’s game perhaps, was a glimpse into a crystal ball as to the future of this storied franchise.

One player who can’t wait for the end of the season is Starlin Castro. He was shut out yesterday with four at bats and has struggled this year. I feel bad for the kid, but now’s the time to take the lumps. He should be able to come back next year better than ever.

Now, there hasn’t been much of a rivalry against these two clubs in some time, but who knows? maybe yesterday’s game was a turnaround in the right direction?

“We’ve played some of our best baseball against them,” Dale Sveum said. “Even in some of the ballgames we’ve lost, we’ve played good ball and come up on the short end. We’ve played these guys really well.”

In other exciting news, it’s great to see Ryne Sandberg back in the Major Leagues, albeit in a Phillies uniform.

The Cubs will try to extend the shutout when Travis Wood gets the ball today at 4:05 eastern.

—Mark

Cubs Left With A Goose Egg

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There’s few things in life that are more beautiful and amazing then a sunny afternoon game at Wrigley Field. Unless of course, you’re on the receiving end of a 5-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Two teams having polar opposites and the seasons this year clashed and the mighty won out.

It’s not to say the Cubs had a truly horrible game because that’s not true. They played decent enough however, the word, “Frustration” would be a great word for the happenings yesterday on the field.

“Getting shut out and getting nothing going at all today, it’s frustrating,” Dale Sveum said. “It’s frustrating for the guys in the clubhouse, too. They’re plugging away as best they can and not getting anything to show for it.”

The Cubs only managed two hits, but when you look at how many fly outs and ground outs that happened all game, well, it’s no wonder then that the Cubs came up short. It kind of made me wish Alfonso Soriano was back in the lineup yesterday.

“A lot of guys are getting opportunities to step up and take advantage of it,” Anthony Rizzo said. “It’s not only myself who wants to, but guys on this team, especially guys who haven’t been here all year”.

But when the opportunities are getting taken away like they did yesterday, there’s nothing Rizzo could have done to change anything. it just boils down to bad luck.

The other thing to keep in mind is Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney both had the day off so who knows? Maybe the outcome would have been different. Then again, both Castro and Barney have struggled quite a bit this season.

“The bottom line with that is laying off the breaking ball. The bottom line is hitting the fastball. That’s where it all starts, and it’s been around for 100 years. If you can’t hit the fastball, you can’t play in the big leagues.’’ said Sveum.

So, the Cubs take a day off to lick their wounds before the much despised St. Louis Cardinals visit Wrigley Field. Ok, I can say this; Will the Cubs play spoiler for a sweep? Or will the mighty red birds separate themselves from the pack?

—Mark

You Can Take That To The Banks

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The Cubs lost in extra innings last night 6-4 to the Cincinnati Reds but the real star of the night was Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. In November, Banks will receive his Medal of Freedom.

“I didn’t play in a World Series, I didn’t play in the playoffs, but this takes the place for me,” Banks said.

The “Let’s play two’ Hall of Famer is the stuff that any Cubs player has to follow. He is the perfect embodiment of the way players should play the game today. He played in an era before steroids and he’s played on some truly awful Cubs teams but he’s endured. His optimism and his talent for the game is breathtaking and I only wish I could have been alive when he played. A truly remarkable man. We have a photo of Ernie in our basement among other Cubs paraphernalia. Every time our three year old son Darcy is down in the basement playing he asks me who that guy is on the wall, I tell him it’s Mr. Cub. Years from now, if he’s reading up on the rich glorious history of the Chicago Cubs, I hope he turns to me and says, “I want to be like him.”

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There was also a ball game too. It also could have been a home run derby for the Cubs. Dioner Navarro, Nate Schierholtz and Donnie Murphy each sent some fans home with a souvenir but the Cubs fell in extra innings 6-4.

Despite the loss, it was good to see the team break a scoreless drought in 33 innings at Wrigley Field. it might have brought back some confidence to the team.

“We have the fourth best road record in the National League, but we have one of the worst home records in a place where we should take advantage of it,” Dale Sveum said. “It hasn’t worked out too well.”

Which goes back to the peculiarity of the season. Statistics matched with their record doesn’t make sense with the team and as the season winds down, the Cubs will be looking to rectify things and try some new things for next year.

It’s an afternoon game today as Chris Rusin and the Cubs try to take one from the Reds. Game time is 2:20pm

–Mark

Cubs Lose Close One

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Let me get this out of the way; Aroldis Chapmen is awesome. Respect. Last night, the Cubs lost to the Reds 2-0. The Cubs struggles at home continues. Travis Wood played a great game earning his twentieth quality start of the year, but the Cubs couldn’t pull it together against the Big Red Machine part 2

“It’s funny, because we’re scoring in bigger parks and stuff on the road and we can’t seem to muster anything at home,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

There’s nothing funny about that. The Cubs have had trouble scoring all year long so it’s not surprising that when they’re facing a potential Wild Card team, they end up in some kind of trouble.

A highlight from last night’s game was the great play of rising superstar, Junior Lake. Even though he got thrown out at third, it’s that aggressive play that the Cubs need from him.

“You can’t make a throw any better than that,” Sveum said. “I got no problem with that aggressiveness.

So, it really wasn’t what the Cubs did wrong but what the Cincinnati Reds did right. Does that sound like a cliché or what? The hits were close with the Cubs getting six and the Reds four, but in the end it came down to some good ol’ fashioned bad ass pitching from Travis Wood and Matt Latos.

“He out-pitched me tonight,” Wood said of Latos. “I made a mistake to Phillips and he hit it out of the park, and that was all they needed.”

Tonight, the Cubs will try to take their revenge when Jeff Samardzija gets the start against Homer Baily. Game time is 8:05pm

—Mark

Cubs Pay Their Pennants

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It was a tough loss for the Chicago Cubs yesterday in St. Louis. The series sweep was just out of reach as the Cubs lost to the Cardinals, 8-4.

of course, St. Louis has a lot more to lose than the Cubs, but a win over the rivals would have been a sweet victory anyways.

“Obviously, they’re doing what they need to be doing, being in the pennant race,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.

That’s exactly it. St. Louis is in a pennant race and the Cubs are not. So do the Cubs spend the rest of the season playing spoiler to the Reds and the other playoff bound teams or do they forge ahead and try to determine those players who will be with the club next year and stay the course.

I believe the Cubs should call up some more prospects and get them acquainted with the big leagues. I know a lot of teams that are out of playoff contention do this, but in the Cubs situation, it’s more important because they’ve been building for a few years. I don’t think the “spoiler” route is the right situation. Of course, if it happens then that is all the better.

“It’s really important,” catcher Welington Castillo said of the goals in the next seven weeks. “Not just for yourself, but for the team. I know we’re out of the race, but we’ve got to keep playing like we are close and we’re fighting. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing. Personally, you have to keep your head up and play like nothing has happened.”

Well Castillo, a lot has happened this year and it’s been a good year at that. Some players have gone like Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. There’ll be some money freed up for next year and the Cubs can finally sign a couple quality but not too expensive free agents to compliment rising stars like Junior Lake and Kris Bryant.

The Cubs head home to face the Reds tonight at 8:05 eastern. Travis Wood gets the start.

—Mark

Cubs Attack Cardinals In St. Louis- Call Animal Control!

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When everything goes well, they really go well for the Chicago Cubs. last night, the Cubs made it two in a row by soundly defeating their rivals the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5.

The Cubs scored with RISP’s, they scored with a comeback in the eighth and they of course, made it two in a row.

“There’s something about playing the Cardinals,” Darwin Barney said. “It’s not good to say, but you get up more for games like this. It’s just one of those things where they’re in the hunt and need to win some ballgames, and we’re playing spoilers once again. That’s a good club with an offense that’s on the verge of breaking out again. Let’s take them while we can.”

The Cubs improved to 52-64. Maybe .500 ball isn’t that far out of sight yet? This was the kind of game that Dale Sveum has wanted the Cubs to play all year. It hasn’t come easy, but it sure is a confidence booster. Dioner Navarro had marked his return by pinch hitting and getting an RBI double. So, when guys like Navarro can come in like that late in the game and produce, that’s what makes good teams great.

“It worked perfect,” Dale Sveum said. “We were testing Navarro today to find out if he could even play, and to get off the couch and get the game-winning hit. He’s the perfect backup catcher. You don’t worry about him because he’s so good off the bench.”

Wellington Castillo had a great game, knocking in a Home Run in the second inning. Castillo has been a quiet presence on this ball club. He doesn’t share the limelight with Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo or Junior Lake, but he gets things done when it counts.

Even though the Cubs won the series, it will feel even better today if Edwin Jackson can get the sweep. Game time is 2:15 eastern.