Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’
Same thing every night it seems as once again the Cubs blew a ninth inning lead, this time it was Carlos Marmol giving up a game tying single to Joey Votto. Marmol then loaded the bases and narrowly escaped the jam, lucky he did as the Cubs responded right away in the tenth. An unlikely power source did the trick, Darwin Barney took Manny Parra deep to start the tenth, how unlikely you ask? I’ll tell you my inquisitive friend, that was Barney’s first home run away from Wrigley Field, in his career. The Cubs were able to tack on another insurance run for good measure and Kevin Gregg nailed down the save, with the tying run on base of course. Lost in this was the performance by Carlos Villanueva, he was sensational, but had to settle for a no decision and Carlos Marmol got the win…. yeah, the win stat in baseball doesn’t always tell the truth, sometimes it’s just a dirty liar, okay, Cubs win!
At The Plate – I know it’s easy to pin the blame on the bullpen with all of these close losses, but one of the other fingers has to be pointed at the offense as well, tonight was a perfect example. The Cubs jumped on the board early in this one, plating two runs in the second, that was it until the tenth, more times than not, that won’t be good enough. Hello Cody Ransom! Ransom made his Cubs debut tonight as was terrific, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano has located the fountain of youth, it’s in Cincinnati, weird place for it, but anyway. Soriano was 3-for-4 but his aggressiveness on the base paths was refreshing, he stole second and third on consecutive pitches which set up the first run, the Cubs need more of that. The Cubs stole four bases tonight, the two from Soriano, one from Sappelt, and one from Julio Borbon. Dave Sappelt had a solid night out of the lead-off spot as well going 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and an RBI. Darwin Barney had the game winning hit, a solo home run in the tenth which was his only hit in four at bats.
On The Mound - What else can be said about Carlos Villanueva, he has been outstanding in the early going and only has one win to show for it. Villanueva went 8.1 innings giving up two runs on just three hits while walking two and striking out six. Carlos Marmol blew the save, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one hit which allowed the tying run to score while walking two and striking out one. Kevin Gregg did a solid job in nailing this one down, I don’t expect any Cubs pitcher to go 1-2-3 in a save situation, he gave up two hits while striking out two to earn the save.
Up Next - Great match up in the series finale tomorrow morning at 11:30 AM CST on CSN Chicago. Jeff Samardzija battles Mat Latos, a series win would be fantastic, but again, the Cubs are trying to win a series tomorrow when they could be going for a sweep.
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This is starting to get out of hand, maybe it already is out of hand, but the way the Cubs are losing games is almost hard to believe, even for the Cubs. The latest chapter in this horrific story of a season took place tonight in Cincinnati where the Cubs seemingly did everything to win. They received a tremendous performance from starter Travis Wood, jumped out to an early lead, had a strong performance from the bullpen for the most part, and yet still lost. Such is life as a Cubs fan and Cubs team at this point, every game this year has been decided by four runs or less, think about that, all of them. You know what decides close games in the majors? Bullpen and clutch hitting, usually with runners in scoring position, two things the Cubs have been terrible at. Luis Valbuena hit a monster two-run shot in the top of the thirteenth to give the Cubs a two run lead, nothing could go wrong, until it did. Before anyone could even savor that two-run homer, Michael Bowden, who didn’t get much help from Sappelt in right field, gave up three runs and the game was over, ho-hum, another mind numbing loss.
At The Plate – David DeJesus got things going right away in this one as he led the game off with a home run, he finished the day 2-for-5 with a home run, two walks, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Nate Schierholtz was solid as well going 3-for-6, but also had three strikeouts. Luis Valbuena had the big hit for the Cubs, that two-run homer that I mentioned, and finished the day 2-for-6 with two RBI’s, and a run scored. Darwin Barney was 2-for-6 with a run scored, the Cubs left 12 men on base in this one, that didn’t help either.
On The Mound - Travis Wood was great again, against a tough lineup, and once again had nothing to show for it. He went 6.1 innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out five. Shawn Camp worked a third of an inning, but balked in the tying run, yes, again. James Russell, Carlos Marmol, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances out of the pen. Marmol was particularly strong going two scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two. Michael Bowden was good, then really bad, he took the loss going 1.2 innings giving up three runs on four hits.
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The Cubs look much different heading into this Rangers series than they did during the off day yesterday, as they announced a flurry of moves. I mentioned on Sunday that the Cubs signed Kevin Gregg and claimed Kameron Loe from the Mariners, well both pitchers have been added to the major league roster. Also being added to the major league roster is Darwin Barney who is coming off the DL tonight. That wasn’t the only addition, the Cubs also claimed infielder Cody Ransom, with all the players being added to the active roster, a few had to go, and that’s what happened. The Cubs DFA’d Brent Lillibridge, and Hisanori Takahashi, and optioned Rafael Dolis back to Iowa. The Cubs will have ten days to trade, waive or release Lillibridge and Takahashi. My guess is that Lillibridge will end up in Iowa as long as he isn’t claimed by another team, and Takahashi will no longer be a member of the Cubs. Busy day for the Cubs and the game hasn’t even started yet, such is life with an under-performing club. Barney, Gregg, and Loe are on the roster for tonight’s game, Ransom will most likely be ready to go tomorrow.
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At The Plate – The Cubs built an early lead but once again had trouble holding it as they dropped to 3-9 on the season. Darwin Barney had a huge game in his last rehab appearance, he was 4-for-5 with a double, and two runs scored. Ryan Sweeney continues to mash the ball, he went 2-for-4 with a home run (3), three RBI’s and a run scored. Brett Jackson was 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
On The Mound – The Cubs were beat up from start to finish in this one. Drew Carpenter got the start, he went 4.1 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out one. Emailin Caridad went 1.2 innings out of the pen giving up one run on three hits while striking out three. Both Jensen Lewis and Jaye Chapman continued their horrendous 2013 as Lewis gave up two runs, and Chapman gave up three.
At The Plate - Jae-Hoon Ha continued his red-hot start going 2-for-3 with two walks, a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Rubi Silva has been the hottest hitter in the Smokies lineup, he was 3-for-4 with a home run (2), four RBI’s, a double, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .394 on the season. Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 in the loss.
On The Mound – Dallas Beeler put together a quality start and was in line for the win before the bullpen lost it. Beeler went six innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four. Tony Zych went 1.1 innings out of the pen giving up two runs on two hits while walking one. Trey McNutt had a rough go of it as he not only blew the save but got the loss, he went 1.1 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs continued to pound the ball in a 8-1 victory over Clearwater to move one game above .500 on the season. Zeke DeVoss was very productive from the lead-off spot going 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, and three RBI’s. John Andreoli was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, he’s now hitting .341 on the season. Ben Carhart went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) and David Bote (2-for-3) each had two hits in the win as Daytona pounded out thirteen total.
On The Mound – Ben Wells was outstanding as he found his command in this one. Wells went six scoreless innings to earn his first win, he gave up five hits while walking one and striking out four. Yeiper Castillo went two scoreless innings out of the pen, he gave up one hit while striking out two. Sheldon McDonald worked the ninth inning, he gave up one run on three hits while striking out one.
NOTES: Kane County was snowed/rained out….again, shocking.
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The Cubs welcome another tough opponent to Wrigley, quite the back-to-back series as the Cubs, who are coming off a series with Giants now entertain the Texas Rangers. As bad as the weather was this past weekend it might be even worse this week. Tomorrow’s game looks okay, but Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be wet, very wet, 70% chance of rain each day. Obviously with this being an inter-league series they will do everything they can to get these games in. Darwin Barney is scheduled to make his return to the Cubs lineup tomorrow, and he has been missed greatly in the defensive lineup. One could say the Cubs have had some bad luck in the early going this year, but they have made most of that luck, if they just convert their save opportunities this team could be no worse than .500, just have to keep fighting.
The Cubs lost three out of four to the Giants at home.
The Rangers split a four game series with the Mariners in Seattle.
Game Times and Broadcast Information:
- Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on CSN Chicago
- Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 7:05 PM CST on WGN TV
- Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 1:20 PM CST on WGN TV. MLBN
Starting Pitchers Scheduled:
Game One - Travis Wood (1-0, 1.46)
- Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)
Game Two - Carlos Villanueva (0-0, 0.64)
- Career vs. Rangers (8 appearances, 2 GS) (1-1, 3.16)
Game Three - Jeff Samardzija (1-2, 2.75)
- Career vs. Rangers (First appearance)
Game One - Derek Holland (0-1, 2.40)
- Career vs. Cubs (1 GS) (0-0, 3.00)
Game Two - Justin Grimm (0-1, 4.50)
- Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)
Game Three - Alexi Ogando (2-0, 1.08)
- Career vs. Cubs (First appearance)
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not:
Let’s start with “not” for the Cubs. The bullpen, and defense, both have been a disaster lately, and for the most part of the year. The pen has been bad at the worst time too, in the seventh inning or later the Cubs have a bullpen ERA of 5.67 which is 29th in the Majors. That number alone says a lot as the Cubs have had a chance to win pretty much every game they have played so far this year, maddening. Carlos Villanueva has been a big part of getting the ball to the seventh inning this year as he has been outstanding, unfortunately he has nothing to show for it except a sparkling 0.64 ERA. Starlin Castro has basically made up for his slow start in the last seven days as he is hitting .379 over that period of time. The only guy hotter is David DeJesus who is hitting .381 over that same period of time. Another big reason for the Cubs early season struggles has been their success or lack thereof with runners in scoring position, they are hitting a paltry .141, 29th in the Majors.
The Rangers look rather different this year, but still come into this series with an 8-5 record. Gone are Josh Hamilton and Michael Young, but the Rangers have persevered early in the season. A big reason is the play of two newcomers, Lance Berkman, and everyones favorite catcher, A.J. Pierzynski. Berkman is hitting .389 in the early going, and Pierzynski is hitting .342 so far. Ian Kinsler has found some power in the early going and has stayed healthy, he’s hitting .292 with four home runs and nine RBI’s. David Murphy is struggling mightily, he is hitting .160 on the season, that’s with fifty at bats too (8-for-50). Yu Darvish is the high-profile name on the Rangers staff, but the guy that is pitching like a number one is Alexi Ogando, and the Cubs will see the latter in this series. Ogando has been outstanding, he is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, and opponents are hitting only .194 against him this season. The Rangers also boast the fourth best bullpen in all of baseball with a 2.06 ERA from their relief pitchers. Moral of the story, get to their starters early.
The Cubs win the two out of three if all games get played. A few breaks have to start going the Cubs way soon….right….Go Cubs!
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At The Plate – Two wins in a row for Iowa, that says a lot considering they only have three total this year. Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a caught stealing and a run scored. Darwin Barney showed great patience in his second rehab start, he was 0-for-1 with three walks, a stolen base, and a run scored. Luis Flores was 2-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, and a run scored. Brad Nelson had the big hit in this one, a two run single that gave the Cubs some breathing room, he was 1-for-4 with two RBI’s on the day.
On The Mound - After some rocky starts to start the season, Chris Rusin bounced back with a stellar performance. Rusin went seven innings giving up one run on four hits while walking none and striking out four to earn the win. Zach Putnam worked two scoreless innings to earn his first save of the year, he walked one and struck out three.
At The Plate - The Smokies busted this one open in the seventh inning scoring four times to take a 7-1 lead on their way to a 7-3 win. Ronald Torreyes had his second straight solid game going 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Jae-Hoon Ha was outstanding going 3-for-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Rubi Silva (2-for-4) and Jonathan Mota (2-for-4) each had two hits in the victory, and Matt Szczur recorded his 5th stolen base of the season.
On The Mound – Couldn’t get much better than Dae-Eun Rhee as he went six scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three to earn his first win of the season. Zach Rosscup and Kevin Rhoderick each had a rough go out of it in the seventh and eighth inning with Rosscup giving up one run and Rhoderick giving up two. Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory.
At The Plate - The D-Cubs were able to get back to .500 with a solid victory of the Tampa Yankees. Javier Baez seems to be coming around at the plate, he was 1-for-4 with a double, he has hits in his last three games. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a run scored, he is now hitting .385 on the season. Dustin Geiger was 2-for-4 with a run scored, after his slow start he is now hitting .286 on the season. Micah Gibbs was 2-for-4 with a double, and an RBI in the victory.
On The Mound – Zach Cates was outstanding in this one going six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking thee and striking out four. Austin Reed was just as good out of the bullpen going two innings giving up no runs on three hits while striking out two. Frank Del Valle continues his awesome start to the season as he worked a scoreless ninth for his second save. He didn’t give up any hits or walks, and struck out the side.
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At The Plate - Logan Watkins showed off his tremendous skill set once again last night. Watkins was 1-for-3 with two walks, a home runs, two RBI’s, and two runs scored. Watkins now had ten walks in ten games so far this season. Darwin Barney made his first rehab start and looked decent at the plate going 1-for-4 with a run scored, and two strikeouts. Brad Nelson was 2-for-4 with an RBI, J.C. Boscan also went 2-for-4 in the loss, he had an RBI and a run scored as well.
On The Mound – Barret Loux got the start and was much better this time out. Loux went five innings giving up one run on six hits while walking two and striking out five to earn his first win of the season. Yoanner Negrin has been outstanding once again as he went three innings only allowing two hits while striking out eight, eight! Blake Parker tossed a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.
At The Plate – The Smokies jumped out to an 8-1 lead and just barely held on for an 8-6 victory. Ronald Torreyes made his return to the lineup, his first appearance of 2013 and was solid going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored from the lead-off spot. Arismendy Alcantara was 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI’s and two runs scored. Rubi Silva also had a breakout game going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .320 on the year. Justin Bour only had one hit, but was productive, he finished the day 1-for-4 with three RBI’s.
On The Mound – The Smokies were good, and not so good late. Kyle Hendricks got the start and the win, he went six innings giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking three and striking out one. A.J. Morris struggled out of the pen going 1.1 innings giving up five runs on three hits while walking two hits while striking out one. Frank Batista settled things down to earn the save, he went 1.2 innings giving up no runs on one hit while striking out one.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs fell behind early and just couldn’t generate enough offense to get back into this one. Javier Baez is starting to show signs of breaking out as he was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two runs scored. John Andreoli was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored, he’s now hitting .364 on the season. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s and a run scored. Dustin Geiger was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI’s in the loss.
On The Mound – A rare bad outing from P.J. Francescon, he got the loss going five innings giving up six runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out five. Eduardo Figueroa didn’t get much help from his defense as he worked three innings giving up three runs, all unearned, on two hits while walking four and striking out none.
At The Plate – The Cougars built a 4-0 lead by the top of the third, by the bottom of the fourth it was gone. The Cougars mounted a late comeback, but they ran out of time in game one. Daniel Vogelbach continued his hot start to the season going 1-for-2 with two walks, his first home run, an RBI and two runs scored. Rock Shoulders is even hotter at the plate right now going 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .455 on the season. Jeimer Candelario finally had a solid game going 1-for-2 with two walks, a double, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Ian Dickson hasn’t had the best start to the 2013 season, that continued in this one. Dickson went five innings giving up seven runs on eights hits while walking none and striking out three. Brian Smith tossed a scoreless inning in relief only giving up one hit.
At The Plate - It took eleven innings but the Cougars were able to split the double-header with the Timer Rattlers. Jeimer Candelario had a solid second game as well going 2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored. Willson Contreras was great coming off the bench and ended up with the game winning home run, he was 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBI’s and a run scored. Wes Darvill was 2-for-4 with a caught stealing, and an error, so a good and bad day for him.
On The Mound – Felix Pena was outstanding in this one going six innings giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while walking one and striking out three. Justin Amlung, who has been roughed up in the early going had an outstanding outing yesterday. Amlung went four scoreless innings out of the pen giving up only two hits while walking one and striking out one. Eduardo Orozco earned his first save of the season tossing a scoreless inning giving up one hit and striking out one.
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The Cubs lost to the Rockies 2-0 yesterday, that’s alright, because the bigger news was that Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked no worse for wear.
At the plate:
Darwin Barney had a solid day going 2-for-3, Brett Jackson, Steve Clevenger, and Starlin Castro were all 1-for-1, and Scott Hariston tallied the only other hit for the Cubs. They only managed six all day, and all of them were singles.
On the mound:
Edwin Jackson was stellar, going five innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two. Kyuji Fujikawa had a rare sub par outing as he struggled with command giving up one run in one inning of work on one hit, while walking two and striking out two. Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol, and Jensen Lewis all tossed scoreless, uneventful innings in the loss.
Spring Record: (7-11)
Cubs face the Dodgers, and Chris Rusin gets the ball, Rusin has been pretty darn good so far this Spring, and is slated to join the Iowa rotation this year.
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Now THAT is an early Spring Training game if I’ve ever seen one, and I didn’t even see this one. It was a long, messy game that ended with the Cubs on the losing end of an 11-7 final, and holding their breath about a potential injury to their franchise shortstop, more on that later. It was a tale of two games for both teams really as seventeen of the eighteen runs scored in the game crossed the plate in the first five innings. Cubs pitching finally had a rough day, and it started with Brooks Raley. Raley was really knocked around, he was able to go one plus inning giving up four runs on five hits while walking one and striking out one. Thanks to an early surge by the Cubs offense Raley wasn’t on the hook for the loss, that honor went to Trey McNutt. McNutt didn’t pitch terribly in his outing, but he was hung with the loss as he couldn’t bail out Raley after he left and allowed an earned run of his own in an inning of work on two hits. Jaye Chapman, and Alberto Cabrera were also beat up pretty bad today as they combined to give up five runs, four earned, on six hits over three innings. Chapman was particularly bad as he only lasted a third of an inning giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while walking two. The foursome of Michael Bowden, Hisanori Takahashi, Shawn Camp, and James Russell stopped the bleeding but it was too little too late.
As I mentioned the Cubs bats were alive and well early this afternoon as they held a 4-1 lead and pushed across seven runs in the first four innings. Both Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits, and they were productive as Schierholtz knocked in one with Barney driving in two. Javier Baez drew some oohs and aahs with a screaming line drive base hit that almost decapitated the Dodgers shortstop, the hit had twitter abuzz, and drew comparisons to Gary Sheffield after the game from Dale Sveum. Back to the Cubs holding their breath, Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 on the day, but had to leave the game after pulling up lame crossing first base after grounding out. Castro said after the game that he was worried when he first felt it, but he is confident it’s more tightness then a pull, he’s feelings were echoed by Sveum as well after the game, fingers crossed.
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Seems like just yesterday we here at Born on Third were getting ready to cover Opening Day, and just like that it’s over. Crazy how time flies, and I didn’t expect it to go so fast given how bad the Cubs were this year. I was expecting just the opposite, for it to drag on and on, and I guess it did towards the end there but the reality of no Cubs baseball for four months is starting to sink in. Let’s take a look back at some of the surprises and disappointments that we all barely lived through, this season.
Let’s start with the disappointments, there were plenty of them, I mean the team lost 101 games, you know how hard it was to write about 101 losses!? Sure the record was disappointing, but one could argue that it was expected, maybe 101 losses wasn’t expected, but the Cubs were going to be one of the worst teams in the league, we knew that. Let’s dig a little deeper into that futility, we should probably put on a Haz-Mat suit before doing so. The one thing we heard all offseason was this new “Cubs Way” – well that was thrown out there to mean a lot of things, one being patience, no not by the fans (we do need that though), but by the Cubs as a whole at the plate. So how did that go, you ask? Not very good, the Cubs drew 447 walks this season, that comes out to less than three a game, and was good for the fourth fewest in all of baseball. You could probably guess that the Cubs OBP was terrible as well, it was, the Cubs as a team had a .302 OBP this year, 2nd worst in baseball. This is something that has to change, and it will on Theo’s watch, I believe that it will. It’s hard to see that vision come to fruition however when the team on the field in “year one” was so terribly bad at it, or just refused to do it.
Let’s take a look at some poor individual performances…
Volstad, acquired in the Carlos Zambrano trade was a disaster, I can’t even say that he showed flashes of brilliance, maybe a flash, but not flashes. Volstad finished the season 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA, I can’t even spin that into anything positive. Volstad had a huge opportunity this year and took a step back, but all is not lost on the gigantic right hander. He will have every opportunity to pitch for this team next year, that is squarely on his shoulders, his huge shoulders, seriously, look at a picture of the guy pitching, it’s cartoonish.
For the first month or so of the season it looked as if Dolis’ name was going to end up on the surprise portion of the year-end recap, then things went bad. Dolis lost the strike zone, in doing so his confidence disappeared and his ERA sky rocketed. Dolis went from being the closer of the Cubs after taking over for Carlos Marmol to pitching and struggling at Triple-A. Dolis was called back up to finish off the season but the numbers were not good. He finished the year 2-4 with a 6.39 ERA and four saves. He does have one thing the Cubs need in the pen, a power arm, so he will have a shot to pitch for this team next year at 25 years old. If he wants to do so he has to clean up the walks, as he issued 23 in just 38 innings at the big league level this year.
I debated singling him out here, only because he was clearly hurt since last year in Colorado so I’m not sure how much we can really take from his season. But a lot more was expected from Ian Stewart, on the plus side he did play above average defense at third base. His season was shortened by much-needed wrist surgery, he finished the year hitting 5 home runs and 17 RBI’s. He did show the ability to work the count and take a walk, but at third base he was and will be expected to be a source of production. It remains to be seen if the Cubs will keep Stewart in their plans moving forward, I would like to see what a healthy Ian Stewart could do.
Other guys that I would say had disappointing years would be Darwin Barney’s bat, a sub .300 OBP from him is not acceptable. Lendy Castillo had a 7+ ERA, but Castillo is so young and could be a huge part of this teams bullpen when they are contending. Steve Clevenger took a nose dive after a very strong start, Starlin Castro’s mental lapses and subsequent errors. I think Castro improved greatly defensively, I think the errors were a result of focus or lack thereof. Should I mention the 12 game losing streak? I just did.
Now onto the positives, sure there were some.
He lived up to the hype, and there was plenty of it heading into the season and that hype only grew as he tore the cover off the ball in Iowa. He finally was called up to the Cubs on 6/26/2012, he had two hits in that game and never really looked back. Rizzo finished the campaign hitting .285 with 15 home runs, and 48 RBI’s in 87 games, so just over half a Major League season. The biggest thing here is that Rizzo showed the ability to adjust to major league pitchers. I’m not just talking about rebounding from last years dud with the Padres, this year he had a few skids but came out of those before they became too overwhelming. He is the Cubs 2013 starting first baseman, and will be for many years to come.
Wow. There really is no other word to describe his 2012 season, I guess shocked would apply to me. I was just that, shocked at what Soriano was able to accomplish not only with the bat, but with the glove. Soriano made one error all season, think about that for a second. This is the same guy that made 11 in 2009, 7 in 2010, and 7 in 2011, he worked his butt off and showed real improvement. Offensively he set a career high in RBI’s with 108, folks the Cubs only scored 613 runs as a team this season. Soriano also found the long ball again hitting 32 home runs, the most in one season since he hit 33 in 2007. There’s no telling he has earned the right to be back here next year, and that is somewhat up to him, but we will see how the Cubs deal with him in the coming months.
I really don’t care what other people think of him, but Starlin Castro had a fantastic year, and a couple of mental lapses got in the way of making it something really special. Castro became the first Cubs shortstop to play in all 162 games, ever. That shows me that he wants to be out there, mental errors can come with that kind of workload, he probably needed a day off here or there to avoid some of that but he just kept going out there. Castro hit .283 with 14 home runs (a career high), and 78 RBI’s (a career high), he also had 29 doubles and 12 triples for good measure. Castro inked a 7 year extension during the season, he will be a Cub for a long time, and that is a good thing.
There are a number of other guys that deserve to be mentioned as bright spots this year. Darwin Barney’s glove, Barney tied a major league record for consecutive error-less games at 141, and got to everything on the infield it seemed. Carlos Marmol’s second half, after a terrible first half Marmol finished the season strong and looked to be back to his un-hittable self late in the year. Travis Wood stepped into the rotation and did an adequate job for this team, if he can replicate those numbers or even improve upon them he can be a serviceable back of the rotation guy for the Cubs. Bryan LaHair’s first half was fun while it lasted, and earned him a trip to the all-star game, no reason to ignore that. Welington Castillo played his way into the 2013 starting lineup behind the plate as
It was a trying year for many, Dale Sveum included, and as I said around the all-star break I think Dale Sveum gets an incomplete for this season. There was not enough talent on this team to win baseball games, not matter how he managed them. What I did like seeing was the compete level of this team on most nights, sure over the course of a 162 game season there are going to be lackluster efforts. For the most part this team really never gave up, I will be interested to see how Sveum does when he starts getting pieces he can use to compete in games on a consistent basis, that’s when he can accurately be judged as a manager. I could have written about so much more but I think that sums up enough of what happened this season without going on forever, I’m really excited about the direction of this team, most of that excitement stems from the minor league system which we will continue to profile all offseason. Patience is still something fans will have to have as the Cubs are not going to have a team ready to be a contender next year. Sure, they should improve, and that’s what we need to look for, and it’s important we see that, one step at a time, thankfully for all of us I think the worst part just ended.
Thanks for reading all season long, we don’t take breaks so we will have great Cubs coverage all offseason for you. Go Cubs!