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Trading Starlin Castro

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs wa...

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs waits to bat in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rumors that Theo Epstein and the Cubs were shopping Starlin Castro in a trade swirled amid a USA Today report that the club is shopping everyone on the roster with the exception of Jeff Samardzija.

My initial reaction to this article was shock, because I don’t think Theo Epstein would be that foolish to trade a shortstop that is the only legitimate bat in the lineup and represent the very player that Epstein should be building around.

At 22 years old and under team control until 2017, trading Castro should not even be a consideration for a team that needs more players of his ilk to contend in the National League Central division.  Trading him for a bundle of prospects would further alienate a fan base that’s grown tired of waiting til next year.

Having made his ML debut just over two years ago Castro has already eclipsed 400 career hits while hitting over .300.  Far from a finished product he has started to drive in more runs, he is tied with Boston’s Mike Aviles for the lead among shortstops in runs batted in with 32, and is on pace to steal over thirty bases which would eclipse his career high of 22 set last season.

His defense is a work in progress as he has been prone to errant throws and mental lapses, but that’s just par for the course in the developing of a 22- year old in pro sports.

The closest thing the Cubs have to an untouchable, if there is such a thing in pro sports today, is the All-Star shortstop that should be patrolling the left side of the Cubs infield for the next decade and will be a fixture in the line-up when the Cubs are back on top.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports fan and an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here.

Cubs Dodge another Win

The tone of today’s Cubs game was set in the bottom of the first inning vs. the DodgersThe Cubs had the bases loaded against Dodgers starter Chris Capuano with only one out.

Hopes of staking Cubs starter Chris Volstad to an early lead and give the pitcher some confidence before heading out for the second inning quickly dissipated when Alfonso Soriano and Ian Stewart went down on strikes ending the inning.

The inability of the Cubs to capitalize and string together hits and drive men in from scoring position is continuing to hamstring the team that sorely needs some more offensive punch.  Additional firepower would also afford the Cubs pitching staff the luxury of not needing to be perfect.

The Dodgers did what the Cubs couldn’t do in the first when Chris Capuano came to the plate in the second and delivered a Volstad into the gap between Joe Mather and David DeJesus in right center for a two run double.

Capuano was a one man Cub wrecking crew this Saturday afternoon as the lefty threw seven shutout innings while delivering the two run double, his first RBI’s since the 2007 season as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs avoided the shutout in the ninth inning after an Ian Stewart base hit plated Starlin Castro, who had three hits on the afternoon bringing his average on the season to .352.

However, on a day when Capuano had everything working in his favor and Chris Volstad not able to avoid the big inning yet again the Cubs fell to the Los Angeles squad 5-1.  

Volstad dropped his record to 0-4 and sports a lofty 6.55 ERA.  The loss marks the 17th consecutive start in which the 6’ 8’’ righty acquired for Carlos Zambrano in the offseason has failed to record a win.

Looking for a bright side Cubs fans?

Embattled reliever Carlos Marmol threw a scoreless eighth inning dropping his ERA to 5.59

Okay, that’s not exactly a bright side but at least no one blew a save today in Chicago.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America.  Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks since birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call”, a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here

Raphael Dolis Saves the Day for Cubs

The news coming out of Wrigley Field on Friday morning was about the ninth inning and the recent struggles surrounding Carlos Marmol, prompting Cubs Dale Sveum to make a move at the back end of the bullpen and insert rookie reliever Raphael Dolis as the man in charge of recording the final three outs of the ball game.

As fate would have it Raphael Dolis would get a save opportunity in front of the Wrigley Field faithful on a sun soaked Friday afternoon vs. the Dodgers.

Entering the ninth inning with the slimmest of margins one could just picture the collective tightening of chests among Cubs fans.  Witnessing the high wire act of Marmol this season, the ninth inning has been anything but a walk in the park.

Dolis recorded the first two outs without breaking a sweat but after hitting the Dodgers A.J. Ellis on a controversial call that led to the ejection of Sveum, Cubs fans had to be saying to themselves, here we go again.

This is the mindset of the Cubs fan this year.  They know it is not going to be a year with title aspirations but they want to win the games they hold a lead in the ninth inning.  Nothing is more demoralizing to a young rebuilding team than back breaking losses after busting their hump for eight innings.

After falling behind Bobby Abreu, Cubs fans quickly grew restless and when Abreu drilled a pitch to right field.  At this moment I wonder how many Cubs fans closed their eyes as if waiting for the impending bad news as the fly ball rolled to the warning track and tied up the game.

Today would not bring any impending doom and gloom for the Cubs fans across the country as Cubs right fielder, David DeJesus, who was on base four times today, camped under the fly ball and closed his mitt around the ball, recording the 27th out and preserving the win for cubs starter Paul Maholm as Dolis earned his second career save.

Maholm was crisp for his third straight win after failing to win any of his previous nine starts dating back to last season as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

The former Mississippi State bulldog was efficient in pitching six innings of three hit ball, only giving up a solo homerun to former Cubs utility man Jerry Hairston, Jr in the third.

The Cubs offense was led by DeJesus, Alfonso Soriano, and Starlin Castro.  The trio reached base safely in nine of 14 plate appearances, recording three runs and, four RBI.

The Cubs added a pinch hit homerun from Joe Mather, which proved to be the difference in the Cubs eking out a 5-4 victory over Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, and the Dodgers.

You can follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

I am a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America.  Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks from birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  I am the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10am.  View the show’s website here

Cubs take Sunday matinee vs. Phillies

With Matt Garza toeing the rubber for the Cubs Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, Cubs fans got to witness a stellar pitching performance by their unquestioned ace.

Garza gave up a leadoff single to shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the first, then retired the next 18 batters he faced, including a season high 10 strikeouts, matching his highest total as a member of the Cubs.

Normally it’s Phillies fans that are beneficiaries of dominant pitching efforts behind their trio of Halladay, Lee, and Hamels, but Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick didn’t get the run support and couldn’t avoid some mistakes his defense made.

The Cubs took advantage of a misplayed a ball hit to right fielder Hunter Pence, when he misjudged a Jeff Baker liner that cost the club a run.  In the third inning Cubs speedster and resident pest on the base paths, Tony Campana forced Kendrick to rush a pickoff attempt that first baseman Laynce Nix couldn’t corral.

Campana scooted to third and would score on a sac fly from Starlin Castro, who had two RBI despite not collecting a hit, giving Garza all the support he would need on a day where he had everything working for him from the get go as the Cubs beat the Phillies 5-1.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago, the greatest city in the world. The home of deep dish pizza, the greatest skyline in the world, and the best sports fans in America.  Patrick has been a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks since birth and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call”, a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here.

 

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