Cast, Colv, and Cash Send the Cubs over .500 for the first time since ’09

Andrew Cashner made his first MLB start Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field, after spending last season in the Cubs bullpen.  Kosuke Fukudome walked in the second and Darwin Barney and Koyie Hill scored on the pickoff attempt that at bat.  The Cubs were not done, as Starlin Castro proceeded to knock in Koyie Hill with a double, but Fukudome was out at home trying to extend the lead to 3-0.  Arizona cut the lead to 2-1 with a Ryan Roberts home run in the 3rd.  But Tyler Colvin answered right back with a two run home run to make it a 4-1 Cubs lead.  Cashner was taken out with a two-hitter going after recording one out in the 5th with tightness in his shoulder.  The Diamondbacks loaded the bases and scored three runs in the 7th to tie the game, but Marlon Byrd doubled to score Baker.  Later in the same inning, Tyler Colvin walked to score Castro and give the Cubs a 6-5 lead.  Mike Quade made a questionable move by letting James Russell bat with the bases loaded, but it paid off as Russell pitched a scoreless eight and the Cubs went into the 9th leading 6-4.  The Diamondbacks would score one off Marshall but a great putout by Stalin Castro and a strikeout by Sean Marshall sealed the victory for the Cubs.

Triple-C Stars of the Game:
#3) Starlin Castro
#2) Tyler Colvin
#1) Andrew Cashner
Standings:
Cincinnati 3-0
Pittsburgh 3-1
Chicago 3-2
St. Louis 1-3
Houston 0-3
Milwaukee 0-4

Cast, Colv, and Cash Send the Cubs over .500 for the first time since ’09

Andrew Cashner made his first MLB start Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field, after spending last season in the Cubs bullpen.  Kosuke Fukudome walked in the second and Darwin Barney and Koyie Hill scored on the pickoff attempt that at bat.  The Cubs were not done, as Starlin Castro proceeded to knock in Koyie Hill with a double, but Fukudome was out at home trying to extend the lead to 3-0.  Arizona cut the lead to 2-1 with a Ryan Roberts home run in the 3rd.  But Tyler Colvin answered right back with a two run home run to make it a 4-1 Cubs lead.  Cashner was taken out with a two-hitter going after recording one out in the 5th with tightness in his shoulder.  The Diamondbacks loaded the bases and scored three runs in the 7th to tie the game, but Marlon Byrd doubled to score Baker.  Later in the same inning, Tyler Colvin walked to score Castro and give the Cubs a 6-5 lead.  Mike Quade made a questionable move by letting James Russell bat with the bases loaded, but it paid off as Russell pitched a scoreless eight and the Cubs went into the 9th leading 6-4.  The Diamondbacks would score one off Marshall but a great putout by Stalin Castro and a strikeout by Sean Marshall sealed the victory for the Cubs.

Triple-C Stars of the Game:
#3) Starlin Castro
#2) Tyler Colvin
#1) Andrew Cashner
Standings:
Cincinnati 3-0
Pittsburgh 3-1
Chicago 3-2
St. Louis 1-3
Houston 0-3
Milwaukee 0-4

Cubs Outplay Arizona on the Diamond

The Diamondbacks led off Randy Wells with a home run off the bat of Willie Bloomquist to take an early 1-0 lead Monday, but that was all they would touch Cubs pitching for.  Alfonso Soriano tied the game with his second home run in as many days, and of the season, leading off the 3rd inning.  The Cubs loaded the bases in the 4th inning, and scored the go-ahead run on a Carlos Pena sacrifice fly.  Carlos Pena made a nice defensive play to make the first out of the 7th inning with a putout to Sean Marshall.  Kerry Wood got into a jam in the 8th after a Starlin Castro error, a single, and an intentional walk to load the bases, but managed to escape the inning unharmed, much like he did yesterday.  In the 8th, Geovany Soto doubled off the left field wall to score Aramis Ramirez.  Later in the inning, Soriano singled to score Soto and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.  Carlos Marmol came in to pitch the 9th inning after a loss and a blown save Sunday, and earned his 2nd save of the season as the Cubs won 4-1.

The Cubs are now 2-2 and pull ahead of St. Louis to break the tie for third place, dependent on tonight’s Pittsburgh-St. Louis game.
As of the end of the game today, the NL Central standings are:
1) Cincinnati Reds     3-0  0GB
2) Pittsburgh Pirates  2-1  1GB
3) Chicago Cubs        2-2  1.5GB
4) St. Louis Cardinals 1-2  2GB
5) Houston Astros       0-3  3GB
6) Milwaukee Brewers  0-4 3.5GB
Triple-C Three Stars of the Game:
#3) Alfonso Soriano
#2) Randy Wells
#1) Geovany Soto
Next Game: vs. Arizona at 1:20 PM Tuesday on Comcast SportsNet

IvyCalls: Cubs Lose Series 2-1 to Pittsburgh

IvyCalls is a weekly interview with a Cubs fan to see how they feel about the Cubs, particularly over the week prior to the interview.  Today’s IvyCall is interviewing Cubs fan Kyle Freres of Downers Grove.

CCC: Hey Kyle, how’s it going?
KF: Having a average day after the upsetting loss but still love my Cubs.
CCC: Is there anything you would like to say to introduce yourself to the readers of CastColvCash?
KF: I am a Senior in high school that is an lover of the Chicago Cubs. My family owns season tickets and I can’t wait to see the day when the Cubs get the World Series.
CCC: All Cubs fans have been glad to bring back fan-favorite Kerry Wood who had a good inning Saturday, but struggled a little bit Sunday, as Tyler Colvin’s defense bailed him out of a run.  What are your thoughts on Kerry Wood, who returns to Chicago with a new cutter on a 1 year deal?
KF: I think its a good decision by the Cubs front office for two reasons. 1: It gives the fans something to be happy about and ultimately sell more tickets for the franchise. 2: Since Wood has gotten up there in age since he parted ways with the team I like the one year contract that he signed, because if he proves he still has a cannon like before the Cubs wouldn’t mind signing him for another contract. All in all its a great situation.
CCC: The Cubs have kept themselves in every game this year until the end, but emerge from their Opening Series with only one victory.  What are your thoughts on the Cubs play in the series?
KF: I was quite disappointed with a 1-2 start but I did see plenty of good flashes from guys like Castro that make me have some faith going deep into this season.

CCC: Shortstop Starlin Castro, just 21, has produced mixed results early this season, both helping the Cubs and hurting the Cubs.  Castro’s batting .615 this season after going 3-4 Sunday with 2 consecutive triples, a single, and starting the game with a walk from the leadoff spot in the lineup.  However, he cost the Cubs the run that ultimately led to their defeat in the 9th due mostly to over-aggression.  What do you think of Castro this season, Kyle?
KF: Hey all I can say is the kid has heart, and hey mistakes happen. Yes it did cost them a game but look, he has time to develop and coming out of spring training everyone is antsy to make that Sports Center Highlight reel. Just give him some time to mesh with the new team and his potential is sky high.
CCC: Despite the Cubs losing, new Cubs Matt Garza was pretty good in his Cubs debut, striking out a career high twelve batters while giving up three runs and exceeding one hundred pitches over seven innings in his Cubs debut.  What kind of season do you expect from Garza?
KF: I think that If he can keep a consistent game through the season it will be a fantastic year for him. Now I really didn’t like the 3 runs given up but look, debuts are tough and he will eventually get into a groove that will set the cubs up for a great year. All I can say is no more than 5 losses IF he can stay consistent. 
CCC: Thanks for your time and opinions Kyle.  Let’s hope the Cubs can win their upcoming series against the Arizona Diamondbacks that starts tomorrow at 1:20 PM at Wrigley Field, and televised on Comcast SportsNet.

KF: Thanks for the interview and lets see the Cubs take a nice old sweep to these Diamondbacks.

Cubs Come Back, and then Blow it

Ronny Cedeno’s single gave Pittsburgh an early lead in the 2nd, and Pedro Alvarez did the same in the 3rd, but the Cubs came back to tie it on a Carlos Pena near-grand slam double in the 4th. Lyle Overbay gave the Pirates the lead with a single in the 5th.  But after a Starlin Castro triple, Darwin Barney knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the inning.  To lead off the 6th inning, Alfonso Soriano hit a home run to give the Cubs a 4-3 lead, with the first home run of the Cubs season.  But in the 9th, Carlos Marmol’s wildness gave the Pirates an opportunity to tie or take the lead.  In the 9th, a ground ball to Starlin Castro let the Pirates tie it, but Castro’s aggression compelled him to attempt to get the runner out at 1st, despite the lack of any significant chance to make the out and allowed the aware Neil Walker to round 3rd and score and give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.  Castro sought redemption in the bottom of the inning when he nailed a single to left center field, and Darwin Barney reached on a misplay by Ronny Cedeno before Marlon Byrd grounded into a double play, as the Cubs regressed to 1-2 and 3rd place in the National League Central Division.

Pittsburgh had 16 hits, all singles, in their 5-4 victory.  On the pitching side, Matt Garza fanned a career-high 12 batters while Tyler Colvin made a stellar defensive play to make a catch and fire home to Geovany Soto who tagged out the base-runner for a double play.  Beyond the potentially victory-costing throw to first base, Castro was stellar with back-to-back triples, a single, and a walk to raise his batting average to .615 on the season.
Triple-C Cubs Stars of the Game:
#3) Matt Garza
#2) Tyler Colvin’s defense
#1) Starlin Castro’s offense
The Cubs start their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks tomorrow at 1:20 on Comcast SportsNet at Wrigley Field

Castro Leading Off

With a quite unexpected line-up change, Cubs number 2 hitter Starlin Castro will lead off Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, according to Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat.  Castro was expected to be automatically placed in the number 2 role in the lineup this season, but seemingly, things have since changed.

Lineup:
SS Starlin Castro
2B Darwin Barney
CF Marlon Byrd
3B Aramis Ramirez
1B Carlos Pena
C Geovany Soto
LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Tyler Colvin
P Matt Garza

Cubs Move into Tie for 2nd with Comeback Victory over Pittsburgh

The Cubs moved into a tie for 2nd, and potentially 1st by the end of action tonight, on Saturday with a comeback 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.  Pittsburgh opened up the scoring in the first with a Pedro Alvarez single into Right Field scoring Jose Tabata.  Tabata would score again on a Neil Walker double in the 3rd before Garrett Jones hit a solo shot, chasing Carlos Zambrano, to make it a 3-0 ballgame in Pittsburgh’s favor.

But in the 8th, Starlin Castro doubled into the ivy on the outfield wall to score Kosuke Fukudome.  On the following play, Castro scored on a Marlon Byrd reach by error for the second consecutive game.  Alfonso Soriano earned the equalizer, in much the same fashion the Blackhawks had late in regulation of their OT victory Friday, with a single to knock in Geovany Soto.  Tyler Colvin walked to load the bases for pinch hitter Blake DeWitt, who proceeded to hit the game-winning double scoring Soto and Soriano.
Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless 7th inning after Zambrano was taken out in a 2-2 count to Ronny Cedeno with no outs in the inning.  Sean Marshall followed with a scoreless 8th inning and a win before Carlos Marmol came in and struck out all 3 batters he faced to earn the save and send the Cubs to a 5-3 victory, their first of the season.
Triple-C 3 Stars of the Game:
#3) Cubs Bullpen (Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, and Carlos Marmol)
#2) Starlin Castro
#1) Blake DeWitt