In this season where it’s probably best to not pay too much attention to the results, if any at all, all you ask is that the Cubs give you reasons to watch. Maybe it’s the development of certain players. Maybe it’s just entertainment factor. On occasion, maybe it’s just a demonstration of fun-bad. Thankfully, Starlin Castro has given us all of that in the season’s first two weeks.
I can’t say if Starlin is actually progressing, but then you can’t make those decisions over just two weeks of play. There’s still the King Kong on the Empire State Building swatting at planes method of plate discipline. There’s the goofs and lapses in the field still. He’s erratic, to make an understatement.
And then there are days like yesterday. Two thunderous, game-changing hits off an ace and a closer of a World Series winner. There was the diving stop in the 7th against the Brewers on Tuesday night that snuffed out a soul-killing rally from the Brewers. He’s on both sides of the spectrum.
In the end, maybe it doesn’t matter whether Castro is developing at the moment. I mean it does, but maybe we shouldn’t let it define how we feel about him. In a season where we’re going to watch Scott Hairston be underwhelming at the plate and field, or nondescript at-bats from Luis Valbuena, or watch Steve Clevenger have his rib cage fly off while striking out, or Nate Schierholtz just do everything ok, I’m frankly screaming out for excitement or spark or flare.
And whatever way he’s doing that, Castro is exciting. Things happen around him. Maybe they’re bad, maybe they cause you to throw things. Sometimes they make you pump your fist. But at least he makes you feel something. He makes you care. And for now, that’s enough for me.
-As for these first three games against the Giants, they’ve been just about everything haven’t they? Villanueva was terrific, Fujikawa wasn’t and now he’s hurt. I didn’t really get into the Marmol debate, because I don’t think it really matters. But it seems the Cubs swapped out one erratic closer for another with less explosive stuff. Fuji doesn’t throw as hard, his splitter doesn’t break as much as Marmol’s slider, and he’s terrified to throw it anywhere near the zone. At least so far. And he doesn’t seem to have anything else. You can be a closer with two pitches, but one of them had better be plus. Or you’d better have laser location, like Sergio Romo. Still waiting for it from Fuji. And I guess I’ll wait two more weeks.
-Good god Brent Lillibridge sucks. It’s just startling.
-I obviously wasn’t high on him to start the season, but Nate Schierholz — like the guy next to him in center — just has done everything in a professional manner so far. That doesn’t mean great, it just means he does his job. That’s more than I thought the Cubs would get.
-Jeff Samardzija got in trouble walking the pitcher in Atlanta. He apparently didn’t learn his lesson today. I’m starting to notice Shark falling in love with his K capabilities. High K rates are great, and a sign of true dominance. But they should be a result of good pitches, not sequences where it’s obvious you’re only chasing a K. It’ll bring his pitch count down, and maybe the wheels will stop falling off later in his starts. Maybe Beef could help with this by calling more fastballs, it’s still Shark’s best pitch.