4/17 Cubs extra bases
Starlin Castro matched his career high with four hits and fell a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He leads the Majors with 25 hits, and since the All-Star break last season, he ranks among the National League elite in total hits (111) and batting average (.336).
“He knows what he’s doing and this big stage doesn’t get to him at all,” Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki said of Castro. “You have guys who come up, and I was once there myself, and the game sped up on me a little bit. The first time I saw him, it didn’t seem like it sped up very much. He was very calm. … To be at the age that he’s at and to be able to slow the game down like that is very impressive.”
On this road trip, Castro is batting .395 (15-for-38) with a home run, double, four RBIs, two stolen bases and has scored six runs. In five games as the leadoff man, he’s 15-for-28 (.536) with one homer, two triples, a double, six runs and four RBIs. He now has three two-hit games, four three-hit games and one four-hit game. And it’s only April.
* Sean Marshall made his 163rd appearance on Saturday to pass Frank DiPino for eighth place for most appearances by a lefty in franchise history.
* Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with five home runs. Last year, he did not hit his fifth until May 2 in his 24th game of the year. The key? He’s healthy.
“Every year, my goal is to stay healthy,” Soriano said. “If I’m healthy I’ll produce more. If I can’t play 100 percent, I’m not the same player.”
knees/work with Rudy in cage
legs aren’t tired/has more power to stay back.
* Looking ahead to the series against the Padres, it will be Carlos Zambrano on Monday, James Russell on Tuesday and Matt Garza on Wednesday.
— Carrie Muskat