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Homers, Castro & Soriano

By bullpenbrian - September 26, 2011 - 3:01 pm Leave a comment.

A few Cubs notes heading into the season’s final series this week in San Diego.

-Chicago has three players with 25 or more HR this year including Carlos Pena (28), Aramis Ramirez (25) & Alfonso Soriano (25).

Milwaukee is the only other club in the NL to match the same feat with Prince Fielder (35), Ryan Braun (33) & Corey Hart (25).

The last time the Cubs reached this same mark was 2004 when four players hit 25 or more HR: Moises Alou (39), Aramis (36), Sammy Sosa (35) & Derrek Lee (32).

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Wrigley’s Rain, Starlin’s Shine

By bullpenbrian - August 9, 2011 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

The many rain delays at Wrigley Field seem so fitting for the Cubs. It’s like the entire season has been played under dark clouds hanging over Wrigleyville.

Monday night’s rainout marks the 11th time a home game has been delayed, and the fourth time its been suspended due to unplayable weather.

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Starlin Castro’s 150 hits leads the NL and is third best in the majors.

He’s collected 17 hits over the last seven games, six of which were multi-hit outings, and four of the three-hit variety.

Castro has registered three hits or more 19 times, tops in the NL and second in the majors. Only Bill Buckner has more three-hit outings for the Cubs—24 of them in 1980.

The 21-year-old is riding an eight-game hitting streak batting .486 with a .513 on-base percentage and .730 slugging mark.

Castro is on pace for 211 hits this year.

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More Castro Please

Not surprisingly, Starlin has scored a run in nine straight games, which equals Derrek Lee’s streak from September of 2009.

Mark DeRosa, who was recently removed from the Giants’ 60-day DL, is the last Cub to score a run in 10 straight games happening in May of 2008.

Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist is the only big leaguer to score a a run in 10 straight games this season.

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All Star Game & Starlin Castro

By bullpenbrian - July 13, 2011 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Starlin Castro pinch runs in the fifth for Tulo.
He steals second, then advances to third on a pitch in the dirt.
Is thrown out at home on a nice play by Angels closer Jordan Walden.
Final line: 0-1, strikeout, two stolen bases.

-Castro brought his mother, father and two brothers with him to the game. Courtesy, Bruce Levine

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Terrible television: former Cub great Mark Grace interviewing Justin Timberlake during the fourth inning.

Interesting television: David Ortiz’s son doing his batting impersonations of Jose Bautista, Kevin Youkilis…and of course, Big Papi!

-Big fan of baseball returning to players wearing their current uniforms during the All Star game. The digs of recent All Star games should remain in the past.

-Prince Fielder is the first Brewer to homer in an All Star game–a three-run shot against the Rangers C.J. Wilson in the fourth inning.

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Only two franchise have yet to host the Mid Summer Classic: Tampa Bay & Florida

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As a National League guy, I was pained by years of losing the All Star game. Finally, two in a row…but a long ways away from the American League’s recent domination.

National League Wins
1994 – Pittsburgh, NL 8-7
1995 – Texas, NL 3-2
1996 – Philadelphia, NL 6-0

American League Wins
1997 – Cleveland, AL 3-1
1998 – Colorado, AL 13-8
1999 – Boston, AL 4-1
2000 – Atlanta, AL 6-3
2001 – Seattle, AL 4-1
2002 – Milwaukee, Tie 7-7 (11 inn.)
2003 – Chicago (AL), AL 7-6 *This one counts
2004 – Houston, AL 9-4
2005 – Detroit, AL 7-5
2006 – Pittsburgh, AL 3-2
2007 – San Fran, AL 5-4
2008 – New York (AL), AL 4-3 (15 inn.)
2009 – St. Louis, AL 4-3

National League Wins
2010 – Anaheim, NL 3-1
2011 – Arizona, NL 5-1

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Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan
“One of these years, the players in Major League Baseball are going to look at the dumbest rule in the sport – the All-Star game determining home-field advantage in the World Series – and ask themselves how they tolerated something so backward, so inane and so downright wrong for as long as they did.”

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Cubs’ Recent All Stars

By bullpenbrian - July 5, 2011 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

2011: Starlin Castro

2010: Marlon Byrd

2009: Ted Lilly

2008: Dempster, Fukudome,  Marmol, Aramis, Soriano, Soto, Wood, Zambrano

2007: D-Lee, Soriano

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Castro’s First Career Walkoff!

By bullpenbrian - June 15, 2011 - 2:01 am 1 comment.

Brewers fans can’t be happy.

Despite dominating starting pitching through the first two games of this series, Milwaukee has nothing to show for it except two heart-breaking losses against the lowly Cubs.

And this comes on the heels of sweeping St. Louis to take over the NL Central lead. Painful if you’re a Brewers backer.

Meanwhile, the Cubs have made it two in-a-row, albeit ugly wins, but two straight nonetheless.

Chicago remains the lone team in MLB without three straight wins. Maybe they get off the schnide tomorrow night!

I talked about it yesterday…Chicago is still playing hard under Mike Quade. Not to be denied from a stellar outing by Yovani Gallardo, the Cubs battled back for a walk-off win…the first of Castro’s young career!

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When Starlin Became A Cub

By bullpenbrian - May 8, 2011 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

There’s little chance you remember May 7th, 2010 from yesterday. But then let me remind you of Starlin Castro’s Major League debut, and well, the memory of it comes flooding back!

On a warm 81-degree Friday night in Cincinnati, Ohio the young Castro jumped on the scene like few others have before him…and my goodness, how could we ever forget!

A second inning three-run homer in his first big league at-bat…then a bases clearing triple in the fifth. His 6 RBI setting an MLB debut record!

Behind Castro’s thrilling 2-for-5 night the Cubs stormed Dusty Baker’s Reds 14-7. Chicago, it seemed, was looking at a star in the making.

One calendar year later, and Castro’s future appears as bright as his opening act.

Through his first 156 games…he’s batted .302 overall…driven in 53 RBI…hit four home runs…has 37 doubles and seven triples. We’re talking All Star-type numbers, even despite Starlin’s occasional poor fielding spells.

Yet, while Castro’s big league debut remains the highlight of his short career, his quick development into one of the game’s best players could lead to a long list of crowning achievements to remember him by.

One in particular stands out, though. I’m thinking a ring would be nice, don’t you?

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Name That Cub!

By bullpenbrian - April 18, 2011 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Wrapped up the road trip 18-for-42 (.428).
Has reached base safely in 13 of 15 games.
Has nine multi-hit games.
Since the 2010 All Star break, leads NL in hits (114).
Currently leads all of Baseball with 28 hits.
Name that Cub!

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Castro vs. Jeter, Looper & Young

By bullpenbrian - March 16, 2011 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

1.) Starlin Castro is a young Derek Jeter.
2.) Braden Looper is the best story in Cubs camp.
3.) Michael Young is a Cubs difference maker.

1.) However unfortunate, it’s likely Starlin Castro will never play in 147 postseason games or win five world championships like Derek Jeter. But that doesn’t mean Castro can’t reach the level of the Yankees’ captain.

If healthy, Castro has all the tools necessary to match, if not surpass, the sparkling career statistics of Jeter, a career which I belive is HOF worthy.

Some say Jeter is over-rated, that he’s a product of the Steinbrenner money-machine playing in the game’s largest market. But I’m not one of those people.

To me, Jeter is the ultimate pro, a true leader, and above all else—a winner. He has the stats, the rings and the respect of his peers to back it up. What Derek Jeter means to the Yankees as a player, teammate, and captain is exactly what Starlin Castro should be striving to achieve with the Cubs.

What’s more, while it took Jeter multiply championships to become a true Yankee, Castro needs only one ring with Chicago to become forever a legend.

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Starlin Castro Rookie Of The Year

By bullpenbrian - August 5, 2010 - 12:15 am 3 comments.

Starlin Castro recorded a career-high four hits against Milwaukee on Wednesday raising his average to .318–highest among all rookies.

Since making his debut May 7, Castro has reached base 110 times, third-most of all rookies, and collected 88 hits, trailing only Marlins’ rookie Gaby Sanchez’s 89 hits.

Castro’s .432 average since July 10 ranks second in the majors, including 13 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples, one homer, 10 RBI and 13 multi-hit games.

Although Castro is in the midst of a terrific run at the plate, his overall numbers lag behind the leaders for the NL’s Rookie of the Year Award.

The hardware aside, however, Starlin is showing the early hype surrounding his talent is legit. At long last, the Cubs seem to have found its franchise shortstop!

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Theriot Better Than Castro?

By bullpenbrian - May 11, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Ryan Theriot will never have the fielding talents of Starlin Castro.

The 20-year-old has a superior arm; he’s quicker and can cover more ground.

This was evident during spring training…Castro’s a fielding web-gem…Theriot, not so much.

But Theriot, however, remains the better fielder…why is that?

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