Box Score / Highlights

Star of the Game – Brandon Phillips – .293 (WPA)

Javier Baez went 4 for 4 with FOUR (4) homeruns for Daytona tonight. This would be exciting in any case, but it’s even more exciting in that it’s part of a recent upward trend in Baez’s performance. He’s now up to .291/.339/.570 with 13 HR and 44 RBI this season playing in what’s known as a pitcher’s league.

Oh…wait. I’m supposed to be recapping the CHICAGO Cubs game tonight. I guess I thought I’d start off with something positive.

Brandon Phillips almost single-handedly defeated the Cubs tonight. He drove in 6 runs and hit a grand slam in the third inning. Scott Feldman actually pitched decently except for that third inning.

Homer Bailey was dominant tonight, allowing just 4 hits and striking out 8 in 8 innings of work. He missed his spots in a few times, but his stuff was so good it didn’t matter.

Honestly, the fog was the most interesting part of this game. There just isn’t much else to say – the Cubs were dominated by the opposing starting pitcher. They did do the “fake rally” in the ninth again. [I feel like I type “fake rally” every time I do a game recap – but that’s truly because the Cubs always give us a teaser in the ninth.]

Starlin Castro

I don’t want to do a bit on Starlin Castro with every recap, but his development is so important to the future of the club, and so much speculation has been swirling about him lately, I just feel the need to write a bit more. Castro actually had a double (which was just fair – but hey, he’s due for good luck) in the ninth to pair with a hard lineout earlier in the game (he was robbed by Brandon Phillips, of course).  The look on Castro’s face after he hit the double was priceless – he looked to the heavens and let out a big sigh as to say, “about time, bro.”

Relatedly, I was listening to the Fringe Average podcast with Mike Ferrin of MLB Radio Network and Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus today (I highly recommend it if you haven’t checked it out). Parks was discussing organizations’ hitting philosophies and how he disagrees with instilling a “blanket” hitting philosophy on all the hitters in an organization. He said that some hitters are naturally aggressive, instinctive, “see-ball-hit-ball” hitters, and that he believed that it was misguided to try to turn those guys into high OBP players who take tons of walks – this takes away what makes the player great in the first place. Does this sound like anyone we know? After I listened to the podcast, I took to Twitter to ask Jason Parks about how that idea applied to Castro – here’s our Twitter conversation:

@powell_sean @ProfessorParks on latest FA ep. you mentioned not applying blanket philosophy to all hitters. How do you think that applies to Castro/Cubs?

@ProfessorParks @powell_sean I think its very applicable to Castro; he’s an aggressive hitter that makes a lot of contact and doesn’t walk. That’s who he is

@powell_sean @ProfessorParks I was thinking Castro during that segment. Just hope Cubs haven’t tinkered past the point of no return

For the record, I don’t think we’re close to past the point of no return with Castro, since he’s only 23. Even though I would love to see him increase his walk rate a little, we know he’s never going to take tons of walks, so I’d rather have the old Castro who is making contact (and getting hits in the process), even if he’ll never be the high OBP player we thought he might be. Time will tell in this process, but it’s always interesting to see a “national” prospect expert weigh-in on Cub-related matters. OK dear readers, I’m off to sleep – hopefully, I will dream of Baez bombs landing on Waveland Avenue.

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Sean Powell is a music education professor currently based in Texas. He started following the Cubs in the 1985 season, growing up on WGN after-school broadcasts. He has two dogs named Clark and Sheffield. Connect with Sean on Twitter @powell_sean or E-mail.