First Star – Alfonso Soriano (.196 WPA)
Second Star – Carlos Silva (.136 WPA)
Third Star – Geo Soto (.089 WPA)
At the beginning of the game, Comcast showed a breakdown of the stats for the season series so far between the Cubs and Astros and it was clear that we should have been a lot more successful than we have to this point. It made me think about the fact that losing games to them and the Pirates have crippled our season incredibly. That concept baffles me completely.
Batman Returns – Well, maybe that’s taking things a little far, but at least Silva didn’t get shelled like he has been over the last few starts. I think it’s safe to say that he’s turned back into the pumpkin we all knew we had. It was a good run while it lasted. At this point, his spot in the rotation is on the bubble. With the other starting Carlos making his apology yesterday, you’d have to imagine his return to the rotation is very close. A lot of what is going to happen is gonna be dependent on what happens with Ted Lilly before the deadline. Overall, I think we can get decent production out of the rotation even if that includes Silva. He’ll give you 5 to 6 innings of work and, for the most part, keep you in the ball game. He doesn’t walk guys, which is going to keep him in the game.
On a side note, Len mentioned early on that one of the reasons he thinks Carlos has been struggling of late is that he’s nibbling around the plate. I don’t know about Len, but I’ve seen Carlos Silva and how he fills out that uniform. There ain’t anything even remotely resembling nibbling around his plate. He’s taking full on bites.
Starlin Castro for President – What excites me the most about Starlin? I’d have to say the fact that he’s adjusted to the big league adjustments so far. When he came up, he hit the ball well and then struggled for a period. He saw his average dip into the .260’s and there were some that even thought he should go back to AAA to avoid ruining his confidence. He’s responded with a .468 / .479 / .723 line since the All Star break. While the OBP is good, it’s not that much higher than the average, which means he’s not drawing walks. What IS impressive, though, is the .723 slugging. 9 of his 22 hits have been for extra bases, combined with three SB with zero CS. The kid is going to be good and I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about the future of one of our position player prospects.
Quit Playin’ Games with my Heart – All this improved play of late is really throwing a kink in the trade plans. At the same time, I look at the potential trade targets that we’ve seen mentioned and feel like we can essentially be the same team without them. We’ve seen Lilly mentioned as the highest rated guy on our team that people are interested in. While it would hurt to lose him, we have guys that can take that spot (Cashner, Jay Jackson, Carlos Zambrano). We’ve seen rumors of guys like Theriot, Fontenot and Baker. Any one of them seem to be replaceable. Xavier Nady never plays, so his loss wouldn’t hurt us either. I feel like we can still hope for Hendry to be a seller while still cheering for this team to make a run and make things interesting. Agree?
Down Goes Vitters. Down Goes Vitters – Tough news for one of the better prospects in the system. Josh Vitters, the # 2 prospect on my pre-season list went down with a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Vitters had been struggling this year, so this will allow him to clear his head, but will set his development back a little due to the loss of AB’s. His numbers so far are as follows: