Do you ever feel like you’re so close to something only to realize that you’re either still very far away or, despite how close you are, it doesn’t matter because it means nothing until you reach what you’re aiming at? That’s sort of the way I feel about the Cubs right now. We’re so close to the beginning of competitive baseball that we can begin to smell it. We hear about the prospects that are going to be making and impact and we know they are “close”. Sometimes it’s just hard to have patience, but I assure you, it will be worth it. By the end of next year, I have a strong feeling you’re going to like the status of your baseball team.
Keeping with the close, but not close enough mantra, that seemed to be the theme of this game completely. It looked to be over before we even came to bat as Edwin Jackson gave up four early runs in the 1st. You kind of saw it coming when Starling Marte hit the first pitch he saw with authority down the line and was on base before one minute had a chance to tick away on the clock. The game started at 7:05p CDT and he was on base before 7:06p. The big story will be Starlin Castro, but Jackson’s night really should not and cannot be ignored. What we take from it, I’m not quite sure. There are those on Twitter who are already saying that his signing was “the worst in Cubs history”. Asinine statements like that deserve no comment, but I find it amusing that people will completely ignore the past and look only to the what have you done for me lately matra. I’m not trying to sugarcoat it. The start was bad, with a final line of 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K. However, his first start was not. Jackson has a history of being a back and forth guy when it comes to success, so you have to take starts like this with a grain of salt and move on.
The game didn’t end after the poor start by Jackson. I mentioned early in the game that I had a feeling that four runs wasn’t going to be enough, and it wasn’t, largely thanks to Castro, who has shown a nice resurgence over the last few games and seems to be adjusting OK to hitting a little lower in the order. Personally, I think the 6th spot is a good one for him. It doesn’t force him to have to take a lot of pitches and it lets him do what he does best as a hitter, which is: See Ball, Swing at Ball. In case you missed this one, it would be worth your time to go back and watch his at bats, if nothing else. One of the at bats, I have no idea how he made contact with the ball, let alone dropped it in for a hit. The other two were critical home runs that were fun to admire. A great night for him got us close, but not close enough.
Other News & Notes
- Emilio Bonifacio continues to be an impact player at that leadoff spot. He went 3-for-5, raising his average to .515 and even drove in a run. He continues to do things that Darwin Barney doesn’t seem capable of doing. If that continues to be the case, it’s hard to make a case that Barney should be playing much at all.
- The bullpen, outside of a small hiccup by Pedro Strop, continues to look strong and effective and contributed nicely to keep it close. It’s not fun going to that many guys in the first game of the series, so we’ll need a strong outing tonight for the starting pitching.
- Rick Renteria got ejected, making him the first manager to challenge a call this year and the first manager to get ejected. What does it mean? Nothing.
- Gordon Wittenmyer turned in another edition of his semi-regular “I Hate The Cubs” series. Honestly, he used to be one of my favorite beat writers, but it’s always the same thing now out of his mouth. He’s slowly morphing into a clone of Paul Sullivan.
- For some reason, this is newsworthy.
Continuing a successful comeback from a forearm injury, the lefty now looks for his first win since May 26. He was solid last week in a quality start against the Cubs, holding them to five hits and three runs in six innings. ~ MLB.com
It’s not easy to face the same team in consecutive starts. That appeared to be true with last night’s matchup and most likely it will be true tonight.