Lets go back to Monday night with Carlos Marmol on the mound and the Cubs up by two in the eighth, Marmol put the first two hitters of the inning on and up stepped Freddie Freeman with runners on first and second. Freeman lined
a ball up the middle that was caught easily by Castro behind the second base bag. The Cubs proceeded to get out of the inning and win the game. Besides the obvious answer, why was this play so important? In years past that is a base hit and the Braves continue to threaten, probably tie the game, and possibly take the lead. Castro being where he was to make the catch shows me the Cubs are actually beginning to look at player tendencies and spray charts a little more than they had in years past. I know at times putting a shift on might come back to hurt you, but players’ tendencies usually don’t lie. As in the case Monday the defensive positioning of Castro went a long way in the Cubs winning the game. Lets fast forward a day and bring Freddie Freeman back up to the plate. Freeman once again hit the ball on the screws only for the ball to be caught routinely by Castro in back of second base. Freeman would come up again later and line a ball that Dempster would catch, just a guess, but if that ball got by him I would think that Castro would have been there to make that play too.
It seems like a little thing, but organizationally it is a component that was not there previously. Did they shift in past years, yes, but that was on the players that get the shift put on them league wide. This year the Cubs defense is moving with each hitter because they know what his tendencies are and they can position themselves properly, which should give them an advantage. The new Cubs regime has obviously placed a greater emphasis on this part of the game and it has already and will continue to play a big role in this team getting better.
Blake DeWitt was once again designated for assignment. The Cubs will now have ten days to release, waive, or trade DeWitt. As you recall the Cubs did the same thing with DeWitt a couple months ago, he cleared waivers then and accepted a minor league assignment, but it is unknown if he will do the same should he clear waivers this time through. Taking his place today is going to be Travis Wood who will get his first major league start with the Cubs. However, what will happen after today is anyones guess as I don’t think the Cubs will carry 13 pitchers. My thinking is it will be Adrian Cardenas who is off to a good start in Iowa, but maybe the organization has something else planned. We will let you know as soon as we find out.
It’s official, Marlon Byrd has been traded to the Boston Red Sox. In return the Chicago Cubs will receive 25 year old right-handed pitcher Michael Bowden and the ever famous, player to be named later. The Cubs will pay most of Byrd’s remaining salary, which is $6.5MM. Bowden, who played High School baseball at Waubonsie Valley in Aurora was drafted 47th overall in 2005. We don’t yet know what this means for the Cubs going forward. Is it Brett Jackson time right now, or will we have to wait for him to patrol CF in Wrigley a little bit longer. As more becomes known we will let you know.
Pardon me as I interrupt for a second, I just wanted to give a huge thank you to all of you who have taken time out of your day to read and comment on the blog. We just reached 2,000 views in a little over 3 months. I’ve been blown away by the support, and I promise that I’m in it for the long haul, hopefully improving your experience here as we move forward, kind of like the Cubs… Back to your regularly scheduled programming.
It has been reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times that the Cubs have shown interest in acquiring LHP John Lannan from the Washington Nationals this week. The Cubs have apparently already discussed the left-handed throwing Lannan and former Cub Tom Gorzelanny. Lannan, 27 requested a trade earlier this week after he was optioned to the minor leagues. He is set to earn $5MM this year and is under team control through 2013. It is speculated that Marlon Byrd would be going back to Washington in the deal, but only time will tell if this rumor has any truth to it or not.
Cubs face the Rangers today…… again. Matt Garza takes the ball today, hoping to get a good 5-6 innings of work in. The game can be listened to or watched live on Cubs.com. This is an exclusive broadcast, and I believe it is free, if it isn’t you can blame me for lying to you. Here’s how the Cubs lineup today. Go Cubs!
Davey Johsnon has announced that Stephen Strasburg will be the Washington Nationals opening day starter against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, April 5th. He has never been to Chicago, let alone Wrigley Field, but obviously said it is a “tremendous honor.” Hopefully we can make his first appearance in Wrigley one he would like to forget. The Cubs have yet to announce their opening day starter, it appears it will either be Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster.