It’s series finale time here at Comiskey, and the Cubs are looking for a sweep, their first since they beat the Padres three straight back in late May. Randy Wells goes against the Sox’ Gavin Floyd. Bryan LaHair is back at first base with Steve Clevenger catching and Reed Johnson in right field. We'll have a couple of updates below, right after our Starlin Castro item.
Starlin Castro has heated up again. He takes a four-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. Since the second game of the Boston series, Castro is 8-for-17 (471) with 3 runs a homer and 4 RBI. Manager Dale Sveum had an interesting take on the hot streak, saying Castro was bummed that his batting average fell to under .300. He’s now at .302/.316/.445 with 6 homers, 38 RBI, 6 walks and 51 strikeouts. Pressed on that whole .300 thing, Sveum wasn’t budging.
“Oh, yeah, he can,” Sveum said of Castro turning it on when he fell below the magic .300 mark, adding that the really good hitters can do that. “And not that they mean to. Sometimes, that's just their motivating thing, the goal of hitting .300 or the goal of hitting 20 home runs. Whatever the goals are, these kinds of hitters have that as one of their major goals, to hit .300. I think they can lock it in a lot better when their average dips below .300."
UPDATES: Third baseman Ian Stewart returned to the Cubs today and said he hopes to be hitting off a tee tee this weekend. He was at the Cleveland Clinic getting a second opinion and another cortisone shot in his troublesome left wrist. he said doctors told him there may be an impingement in the area, affecting the ligament. If the shots don't work, surgery down the road may be the best option, he said.
The Cubs weren't biting on comments made last night by Sox pitcher Jake Peavy: "I don't mean any disrespect, but a team playing the way the Cubs have been playing, we have to beat those teams."
Cubs outfielder David DeJesus said: "We dont' really worry about him. We only see him one more game, and if we see him in the playoffs, that's awesome. If that's how he feels, that's how he feels, but all we can worry about is how we prepare for every game."
Yes, it would be awesome if the Cubs and White Sox met in the "playoffs," as those would be the World Series.
MORE UPDATES: The Cubs announced they've signed right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson, their second pick (No. 43 overall; sandwich round), out of Missouri State. They've signed 21 players out of this year's draft.
It was quite the rout last night in Geneva, as the East beat the West 18-2 in the Midwest League All-Star Game. As we blogged yesterday, a Cubs farmhand made some history. Pitcher Kyler Burke, of the Cubs’ Peoria affiliate, got into the game to pitch. He is believed to be the first player in league history to appear in the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player. Burke, a former outfielder, started the 2009 game. He is reinventing his career as a pitcher. Hat tip to Kevin Capie of the Peoria Journal Star for first writing about Burke's history-making exploit.
In the Southern League All-Star Game, local boy Jim Adduci out of Evergreen Park (via Canada) was 2-for-2 with a double. Justin Bour was 1-for-3 and finished second in the home run derby.
Class AAA Iowa lost 6-3 at Round Rock. Keep an eye on third baseman Josh Vitters. He hit his 10th homer of the year. He's at .280/.330/.468 for an OPS of .798. In June, he has 3 homers and 11 RBI.
Class A Daytona fell 4-2 to Tampa 4-2. Matt Loosen took the loss, tossing 6 innings and giving up 7 hits and 4 runs, 3 earned while walking one and striking out five. He is 5-2 with a 2.83 ERA. Arismendy Alcantara was 3-for-4 with a walk.
Boise (A) lost 4-1 to Salem-Keizer. Willengton Cruz got no decision, working 5 innings and giving up 3 hits and 1 run, which was not earned. He walked 2 and struck out six. One of my favorite names, Rock Shoulders, walked twice. He has walked five times in the Hawks’ first five games.