The Young Guns

Starlin Castro sat out for one game because of poor play from the night before.  was it a disciplinary thing by Mike Quade or was it frustration?  The thing is that Starlin Castro leads the League in hits and that’s a good thing.  The performances by the Cubs younger players like Castro, Darwin Barney, the amazing Tony Campana and Tyler Colvin have been nothing short of outstanding this year. 

It’s the play by the veterans that have been sub par(with the exception of Ramirez and Pena).  So, I don’t know if benching Castro for the game was the right idea.  He needs to play and even if it is lacklustre, he needs to be there, to get experience and to take his lumps like any seasoned veteran.  That’s the facts.  I’ve been watching the Cubs this year because of their young stars.  Campana’s amazing speed(He’s probably the fastest player in the majors) is exciting and Barney’s incredible intuition for the play and he’s without a doubt, one of the best all around players in the game.  Not flashy, but a gamebreaker.  I wouldn’t compare him to Reed Johnson, but maybe, ok, Darwin is a smart player.  Tyler Colvin has gone out and put to work his practice in triple A.  perhaps he’s a clutch player and he’s done the job he’s supposed to do.  Starlin Castro?  Future Hall of Famer.

Good years ahead

—Mark Gauthier

“Everything Happened So Danged Quick”

The World Series champs San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs in both games of a beautiful double header day(does that make sense?)  On a day when Mike Quade was named to the National League All Star coaching staff, the Cubs were humiliated.

“Everything happened so danged quick” said Doug Davis. 

On the bright side, Carlos Pena got his 17th homer of the season. 

Nuff said.

—Mark Gauthier

Four!

What took place yesterday?  Not only did the Cubs destroy the Rockies but Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs each.  That’s right, two home runs each!  Count em!

However, don’t start the celebration yet, Mike Quade says there’s plenty of work still needed to be done.  I a gree.  The Rockies just stopped over for the game that was a make up game.  After playing the Yankees, you would say that the Rockies were tired.  This doesn’t change the fact that the Cubs showed what kind of firepower they have and hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

The Cubs still play sloppy ball but Aramis Ramirez is on a roll hitting six homers in his last 26 games.  This is good news since Marlon Byrd is due back soon.

I’m not talking bad about anyone elses teams but the NL Central isn’t the strongest of divisions.  The Astros and the Cubs are sitting in the basement of the division.  Now, does that mean that the rest of the teams are just that good?  I can’t believe the Pirates.  Well, I have to say that I’m happy for them, it’s about time.

It’s not going to get any easier for the Cubs when they play the World Series champs, the Giants today.  Here’s my prediction:  If the Cubs can get by the Giants, then they’re going to tear up the Central.

—Mark Gauthier

Starlin Castro an All Star?

There’s no question that Starlin Castro should be voted into the All Star game.  in fact, if I had my way I’d choose Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro and yeah, Carlos Pena to represent the Chicago Cubs in the 2011 game.

Starlin Castro is on a nine game hitting streak.   Sure, overall consitency and numbers count when measuring up to consideration for an all star, but the kid is only 21 and he’s been playing like a wily veteran.

The kid needs to work on his defensive skills.  For example, he twists his body when throwing to first base.  As a rule of thumb, the ball goes to wherever your toe is pointing.  I don’t know if Castro is too busy hot dogging it but these mistakes are really fixable.  as for his offence, there’s no question he demands respect everytime he warms up in the batter’s circle.

The Cubs are sitting 12 back of the otherwise close Central standings.  It’s definitely do-able for the Cubs to catch up in the standings.  The way Castro has been playing, they still have a (long) shot at capturing first.

—Mark Gauthier

He makes mistakes but he has 103 hits this season.  The kid can do it all

There’s No Place like A Homer

So the $10 million dollar man Carlos Pena, hit his third home run in the Crosstown series.  So why can’t they win the close ones?  I don’t know.  Get ready for the rematch because not only do they play by NL rules, but I’m expecting some more players to come off the DL list.  So, here’s the quote of the week:

“We’re winning as a team and losing as a team.” Doug Davis said. 

I don’t know what to make of this quote.  It’s not something I’d say however I guess if it’s what motivates the team then it’ll have to do.

Back to Carlos Pena.  He’s the first Cubs player to homer in three consecutive games since, you guessed it; Derrick Lee.  The man he replaced.  Isn’t that crazy?

Next up is the Royals tomorrow and I’m predicting a sweep for the Cubs.

North & South–BP Crosstown Cup Game 1

Chicago Cubs 6

Chicago White Sox 3

To say that the Cubs needed that win is an understatement and perhaps a little too cliche, but what is sports without the cliches?  Carlos Zambrano led the charge with a controlled victory with 5 strikeouts.

The future of the franchise and the money guy, Starlin Castro and Carlos Pena hit the leather from the park. 

The win probably staved off Mike Quade’s call into  the owner’s suite for a tete a tete.  Actually, this win has the Cubs turning a corner and even though that infamous third win in a row has elluded them this season, they’re starting to play more consistent.  The big bats are swinging and I’m predicting that the Cubs will win three in a row this series.

Another key to this win is the Cubs got most of their runs later in the game which has been a criticism of the team this year that they score early and fall apart late.

Emotions did flare up in this series as Ozzie Guillen got ejected from the game on a punt off Soto’s mask.  Stay tuned folks, things are getting interesting.

—Mark Gauthier

 

Holy Cow!

The Chicago Cubs finally pulled it off and they did it in an explosive way.  Carlos Pena got a home run and then Aramis Ramirez didn’t want to be overlooked, so he blasted one way out into the bleachers. 

I was out in the yard doing some gardening and trying to listen to the game but the television was too far.  However, when I came in to get a drink, I saw both home runs and wow, were they a beauty.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t any time to think they’re going to turn the season around, but it’s a start.  They still should make some major changes but it should help the Cubs gather some momentum.

Oh, and for Len and Bob; say Kapuskasing three times fast.

The Cubs  go and face Philadelphia today.

—Mark Gauthier

Battered and Bruised

Chicago Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano tries but can't make the catch on a double by Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

You would think that Mike Quade would have gotten writer’s cramp with all the injuries that have happened to the Cubs this season.  Adding Alfonso Soriano to the list with a strained Quadricep.  Ok, let’s put a positive spin on this and say that it’s injuries that are plaguing the club.  Once everyone comes back from their prospective injury everything will be all right and the Cubs can get down to business.

A nice two-run homer by Carlos Pena.  Great job!  Tony Campana, where the hell did he come from.  He stole two bases.  Anymore and they’ll have to call Chicago’s finest on him.

Big Z gets the start tonight. 

—Mark Gauthier

The Cubs in LA LA land

The Cubs lost the series opener to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2.  However, Alfonso Soriano sent another ball into the atmoshere, his 11th homer of the season.  Now, he sits atop the National League.  I’ll tell you folks, we’re on the verge but I’m staying cautious because the Cubs need to pick up the wins by the All-Star break or they don’t have a chance, then again anything is possible.

No, I think the key is Marlon Byrd and when he’s hitting the ball the Cubs are going to be up there.  Also, Carlos Pena.  He’s starting to get his groove going so it won’t be long.

Then again, I’m superstitious.  Once we see the Green Ivy, the Cubs will win.

Well done Soriano!!!!

—Mark Gauthier

 

A Close One

The Brewers beat the Cubs 6-5.  This has become the unsung leading story this year with the Cubs.  They lose the close ones.  Which isn’t a bad thing this early on.  It’s a problem they can fix.  Whether they steal more bases(the Cubs are last in the league with 0) or get on base more, the ultimate answer is they have to score more runs.

The Cubs are pretty much in the middle of the pack in all offensive categories.  It’ll all come together.

Another thing too that will improve throughout the season is stranding runners on base.  I have a big problem with that only because it’s something that needs to get fixed.  Bringing the runners home should be the top priority.  I’m a big fan of the long ball but chipping away at the scoreboard is far more effective I think.

Ok, I believe they’ll get better and Castro, Marlon Byrd, Ramirez, Pena and Soriano are all just getting started. 

Mike Quade said it best,”There were a lot of miscues.”

—Mark Gauthier