Say one thing for Cubs manager Mike Quade: Whether you write something he likes or doesn't like and whether he makes a decision that works or doesn't, he doesn't shy away from the give-and-take sparring sessions with the media every day. All seemed fine this morning with Starlin Castro, who said he understood that his manager was trying to nip things in the bud, even if the method of delivery raised some eyebrows.
Quade was asked about Wednesday's criticism of Castro and second baseman Darwin Barney this morning.
"Was this just Starlin?" asked Q, referring to that now infamous fallen pop fly the other day. "Didn't it involve our second baseman? It's funny how it's gravitated in that direction. I'll bet these two have it worked out the next time it happens. And that's the important thing. And that's all that really matters. The premium that goes with defense at those two positions is the main thing. They'll work it out, and they'll get better. And they need to."
Castro said Quade was right in talking to him and Barney.
"I didn't see the ball,” he said. “The ball went up, and I called it, but when the ball came back, I lost it.”
"Don't say 'I got it,'” Castro said. “If you don't have it, don't say, 'I got it.' Say, 'I don't see it.'"
Today's lineup vs. the Astros:
We’ve pointed out that Soriano has not homered since June 19. His line for July is an anemic .164/.193/.200 on 9-for-55 batting. Kind of hard to find a trading partner for that, isn’t it? Soriano is 1-for-21 on the homestand. Fukudome is 3-for-21 on the homestand. He’s another guy the Cubs are trying to move.
From the game notes: Big Z is 15-8 with a 2.72 ERA in 33 games (31 starts) against the Astros. The 15 wins against Houston are tops among active pitchers. The Cubs have committed at least 1 error in nine straight games. That’s the first time that’s happened since June 4-13, 1987. Jeff Samardzija has held opponents to a .204 (41-for-201) batting average in 54 innings. That’s the fourth-lowest mark for any reliever with at least 50 innings pitched.
Class AAA Iowa dropped its fourth straight, 8-7 to Nashville. Casey Coleman got a no-decision, working 7 innings and giving up 8 hits and 6 runs. Marwin Gonzalez hit his first homer of the season. He was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and the homer. His average is .359. Tyler Colvin was 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple. Welington Castillo was 2-for-5.
Tennessee (AA) dropped its third straight, 11-6 to Carolina, which got 9 runs in the sixth. Ryan Searle worked 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 2 runs. Josh Vitters hit his ninth homer and walked once. Jae-Hoon Ha went 2-for-5 with a double.
Daytona (A) beat Palm Beach 3-2. Angel Guzman pitched 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. Rafael Valdes was 2-for-3 with a double. Frank Batista converted his 19th save.
Peoria (A) lost its fifth straight, 13-0 at Dayton. Starling Peralta lasted 2 innings as he gave up 9 hits and 9 runs. Richard Jones (.310) extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Boise (A) lost 4-0 to Yakima. Austin Reed took the loss, pitching 5.2 innings and giving up 4 hits and 1 run while walking four and striking out five. Zeke DeVoss extended a hit streak to three games, going 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He played second base again. The Cubs feel he can play second or the outfield. Reggie Golden 1-for-4 with a double.
“We hit the ball pretty good, just right at people," Golden told the Idaho Statesman. "In crucial situations, we didn't get hits. We had a lot of hits in every game, they were just spread out."
"It's a great group of kids, and I love being around them everyday," manager Mark Johnson told the paper. "I don't have to get on any of them about work ethic or doing their job. Every once in a while they'll make some physical mistakes, and that's why we're here. You're going to have that at every level. There's a few mental mistakes, and you expect that. They're kids."