Results tagged ‘ Welington Castillo ’

6/19 Cubs Inbox

Got a question? Send it to CubsInbox@gmail.com, and maybe it will make the next Inbox on Monday on Cubs.com. Please include your full name and hometown.

Q: I’m a stats kind of guy. I noticed that Welington Castillo is a much better hitter in the daytime (.305) than at night (.219). Yes, it’s a small sample but most of Dioner Navarro’s starts come in the daytime. I would assume that Sveum has a valid reason for this but perhaps Navarro’s starts should come more often at night? Just an observation. — Travis C., Cedar Rapids, IA

A: My first reaction was that Castillo had played more day games, so the numbers may be lopsided but that’s not the case. Through Tuesday, he’s played 27 games in the day time, 26 at night. The splits aren’t too far off — he’s 29-for-95 during the day, 21-for-96 at night. I’ll ask him tonight before the game, and update later.

Q: Why doesn’t Cody Ransom get more playing time? He’s solid and can produce some big hits, I feel. — Jacob B.

A: Since you wrote, Ransom has gotten more playing time. Sveum has used him in a platoon at third with Luis Valbuena, inserting Ransom against left-handed pitchers. Ransom was batting .293 vs. lefties compared to .167 against right-handers. On Tuesday against the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, Ransom did connect for his first home run off a right-hander, and was batting .304 (7-for-23) this month after a .200 June. One of the reasons Ransom bats high in the order is to give him more at-bats.

Q: I was pleased with the Cubs Draft this year. How soon will we see Kris Bryant? Any chance he could be called up in September even just to give fans a look at him? Thanks. — John L., Portland, Ore.

A: If you want to watch Bryant play, you’ll have to go to one of the Cubs’ Minor League teams, possibly Kane County. He won’t be called up in September. First, the Cubs have to sign the third baseman, who is represented by super agent Scott Boras. The Cubs have a signing bonus pool of $10,556,500, and an assigned value of $6,708,400 for Bryant. Talks are ongoing.

Q: With Steve Clevenger coming back from injury and seeming to get a hit in every rehab game, I would assume he will be brought back to the Majors once he’s ready. When this happens, who do you think will be sent down with most of the backups playing well? Would the Cubs consider sending a bullpen guy down for an extra bat? I’m afraid you’ll say Julio Borbon but I don’t want to see that late inning speed sent down. — Michael F., Raleigh, NC

A: Clevenger does give the Cubs some versatility. With three catchers available, Sveum could use Dioner Navarro or Clevenger as a pinch-hitter, and not worry about losing a backup catcher if something happened to Welington Castillo. Right now, Clevenger is getting at-bats at Triple-A Iowa and playing some infield there. Sveum was asked Tuesday about the left-handed hitter, and there’s no date set for his return. Part of the problem is that they have plenty of left-handed bats right now.

Q: With the upcoming renovation of Wrigley Field, are they going to address how small the seats are? People were a lot smaller back in the early 1900s and these days, you feel like you’re jammed in there like a sardine on both sides with no leg room. — Jeff, Calgary

A: The renovation plan includes installation of new, wider seats at Wrigley Field. It should be a more comfortable way to watch the game.

6/12 Sveum backs Castillo

After Tuesday’s game, Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said he didn’t feel he’d found a good rhythm yet with catcher Welington Castillo.

“Being in this game for as many seasons as I have, I need to take control and I need to guide him through it,” Garza said. “I’m not doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m going to get ready in five days and try to make it right.”

Castillo has caught every one of Garza’s five starts this season.

“[Garza] pitched a pretty good game with [Castillo] behind the plate a couple outings ago,” manager Dale Sveum said of the right-hander’s May 31 start against the Diamondbacks, when he gave up two earned runs over seven innings. That also was Garza’s only win.

“If you get the ball up, it doesn’t matter who’s catching,” Sveum said.

That was the problem for Garza on Tuesday against the Reds when he served up a career high nine runs. Sveum said he does support pitchers who feel more comfortable with one catcher.

“In this case, it was definitely not warranted,” Sveum said.

– Carrie Muskat

5/31 Cubs lineup

Matt Garza makes his third start since coming off the disabled list on Friday when the Cubs open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. Lefty Wade Miley starts for Arizona. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Hairston RF
Castillo C
Ransom 3B
Barney 2B
Garza P

* Garza needs to drive in one run to tie the Major League record for most RBIs by pitchers in a calendar month. The 1940 Tigers totaled 20 RBIs in August. The Cubs pitchers set the National League record on Thursday, thanks to Travis Wood’s grand slam. The Cubs pitchers have 19 RBIs in May.

* Catcher Welington Castillo appears to be fine after taking a bat on the knuckles of his left hand in Thursday’s game. The back swing caught his hand, and he was called for catcher’s interference.

* Garza has surrendered three or fewer earned runs in 18-consecutive home starts dating to June 27, 2011. That’s the longest stretch by a Cub since Kerry Wood allowed three or fewer earned runs in 22-straight home starts from July 7, 2000-April 20, 2002. In his last 18 starts at Wrigley Field since June 27, 2011, Garza is 7-4 with two complete games and a 1.97 ERA.

* Cubs pitchers not only have the most RBIs, they lead all Major League staffs with six doubles and four home runs. The homers have come in the last 13 games dating to May 15.

– Carrie Muskat

5/29 Cubs 9, White Sox 3

In the sixth inning, Dioner Navarro’s bat went flying into the stands behind the Cubs dugout as he swung at a pitch. Usually players just grab another bat but Navarro wanted that one back, and for good reason. Navarro notched his first career multi-homer game Wednesday, hitting three and driving in six runs in the Cubs’ 9-3 Interleague victory over their intracity rivals, the White Sox. And he used the same bat for each home run.

“He did his best little [Lionel] Messi impression today with the hat trick,” Anthony Rizzo said of Navarro, who is a huge soccer fan and wears a Messi shirt every day before games.

Navarro hit a solo homer in the second, a two-run shot in the fourth, and a three-run blast in the seventh. He set a career-high with six RBIs, and is the first Cubs player to record a three-homer game since Aramis Ramirez did so July 20, 2010, against the Astros. You have to go back to April 17, 1974, for the last time a Cubs catcher hit three in a game. That was George Mitterwald’s big game against the Pirates.

All the offense won’t get Navarro more playing time, though.

“[Welington] Castillo’s our starting catcher,” Dale Sveum said. “Let’s not get carried away with a guy having a great game. … It’s just nice to have a backup catcher doing the things he does and handling the pitchers he handles.”

Navarro’s first two blasts came from the right side of the plate; his third was as a left-handed hitter, and he’s the first to homer from both sides of the plate since the Cubs’ Mark Bellhorn did so Aug. 29, 2002, at Milwaukee. And all with the same bat.

“I’m a really superstitious guy, and I had a good feeling for that bat,” Navarro said.

He had never hit three home runs in a single game.

“I hit two one time in Little League,” he said. “That was about it.”

He’ll be back on the bench on Thursday but using the same bat in BP. What if it breaks?

“I’m going to cry,” he said.

– Carrie Muskat

5/24 Extra bases

* Alfonso Soriano did not start Friday, getting a breather in the Cubs’ first game of a three-game series against the Reds. Manager Dale Sveum said Soriano, 37, will definitely be in the lineup for next week’s Interleague series against the White Sox, which starts Monday. Soriano is one option as the designated hitter, and Sveum said he’s also considering Dioner Navarro and Welington Castillo.

The Cubs were expected to face lefties Jose Quintana and Chris Sale in the first two games against the White Sox. Sveum has hinted he’ll tweak the lineup he’s used so far against southpaw starters and include some of the left-handed hitters. Any hints?

“I don’t know,” Sveum said. “Wait and see.”

* Starlin Castro, who appeared to injure his right ankle sliding into second base on Thursday, was in the lineup on Friday. The shortstop now has appeared in 243 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the National League, and second longest in baseball. Prince Fielder has appeared in 389 games in a row.

“I’m good to go,” Castro said.

* The Cubs have not hit a home run on the road since April 28 in Miami.

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 Post-game notes

* Alfonso Soriano extended his hitting streak to three games with his home run on Monday. It was his 376th career blast, tying him with Carlton Fisk for 69th on MLB’s all-time list.

* Starlin Castro extended his hitting streak to four games. Welington Castillo is batting .382 in 15 home games.

* With Monday’s win over the Rockies, the Cubs have won three in a row, matching their season high. They are 11-9 since April 23.

* The Cubs totaled eight extra-base hits and lead the NL with 131. They also lead the NL in doubles.

* Kyuji Fujikawa pitched Sunday and Monday, his first back to back games since coming off the disabled list. That was by design, manager Dale Sveum said. Fujikawa will get Tuesday off, and likely pitch Wednesday. He had been sidelined with a strained right forearm.

– Carrie Muskat

5/13 Cubs 9, Rockies 1

Travis Wood and Hippo Vaughn now have something in common, even if they’re not very familiar with each other. Wood posted his eighth consecutive quality start and hit an RBI double, one of six by the team, while Alfonso Soriano belted a two-run homer, and Starlin Castro, Nate Schierholtz and David DeJesus all drove in a pair to lift the Cubs to a 9-1 victory Monday night against the Rockies.

Wood is the first Cubs left-hander to open the season with eight quality starts since Vaughn did so in 1919. Wood admitted he had never heard of Vaughn. That’s OK. This was the 23rd quality start by a Chicago pitcher this season, and while they have a combined 1.90 ERA in those games, the team has won only nine. Wood held the Rockies to two hits and walked three over seven innings.

“That was against a lineup that crushes left-handed pitching,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of the Rockies, who entered the game batting .277 against southpaw pitchers. “To throw like that against those guys, the way they hit against left-handed pitching, was very, very impressive.”

Wood struggled in spring 2012 and began last season at Triple-A Iowa. He’s a different pitcher now.

“What he’s done since Spring Training of last year is pretty impressive,” Sveum said.

On Monday, the lefty was able to pitch to both sides of the plate and had impressive command of his cutter.

“He’s doing a lot of this without secondary pitches,” Sveum said. “It’s not like he’s throwing a lot of curveballs or changeups. He’s mixing in those pitches and using them when he has to against people who are vulnerable and able to use both sides of the plate and be aggressive and not walk people and help out with his bat, too.”

Basically, Wood has learned how to pitch.

“When they sent me down after spring last year,” Wood said, “I just got some work in on what they thought I needed and what I thought I needed and I was fortunate enough to be able to get those things ironed out and so far so good. I’ve been rolling from last year.”

Wood has a scraggly beard that he isn’t going to trim any time soon.

“I’m not really sure what I’m doing with it right now,” he said of his facial hair. “It just started, and I didn’t intend to let it keep going but it’s kind of hard to cut it right now.”

“I think he’s going to keep it,” catcher Welington Castillo said.

The Cubs have talked about how Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro are part of the young core they want to build around, and have signed both to long-term deals. What about Wood?

“I would love to be here for a long time with the Cubs but that’s out of my hands,” Wood said. “I’m not really thinking about that right now at all. We’ve got to go out and win tomorrow, and I’ve got four more days to get ready for my next start and hopefully we can keep going on.”

– Carrie Muskat

5/5 Cubs lineup

The Cubs close their series against the Reds on Sunday, facing tough Mat Latos. Edwin Jackson will try for his first win with the Cubs. We’ll check on Welington Castillo. He fouled a ball off his ankle on Saturday, and gutted it out through the game. Here’s the lineup:

DeJesus CF
Castro SS
Rizzo 1B
Soriano LF
Schierholtz RF
Navarro C
Valbuena 3B
Barney 2B
E. Jackson P

5/2 Padres 4, Cubs 2

The Cubs’ defense was stellar Thursday through seven innings but a brain cramp by catcher Welington Castillo and misplayed fly ball hurt Travis Wood. The Padres scored four runs in the eighth, including the tying run on a passed ball by Castillo, to rally for a 4-2 victory against the Cubs and Wood, who deserved better.

Jesus Guzman singled to lead off the Padres eighth, Kyle Blanks walked, and two outs later, pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso delivered a bloop RBI single that fell between Julio Borbon and Darwin Barney in shallow right field. The wind made it a tough play for Borbon, relatively new to Wrigley Field’s quirkiness.

“When I realized I could’ve caught it, I started calling [Barney] off and I don’t think he — I talked to him about it and he said he didn’t see it until the last minute and that’s why he didn’t get out of the way,” Borbon said. “I was running in hard saw him out of the corner of my eye.”

Borbon said it was a ball he should’ve caught.

“That extra second of maybe Barney recognizing it and calling me off, or me getting out of the way — I felt the speed I was going in at, I would’ve been able to catch it if I hadn’t seen him at the last second,” Borbon said. “He said if he had picked up the ball a tenth of a second earlier, he would’ve been able to call me off and I’m veering off to the side. I looked at the replay, and as I’m approaching him, he had to literally dive away to get out of the way.”

The two did avoid a collision but nobody caught the ball. Wood then exited, and Shawn Camp’s offering got away from Castillo during Chris Denorfia’s at-bat. The catcher didn’t seem aware Blanks was headed home from third as he collected the ball behind home plate. Blanks scored the tying run.

“I think [Castillo] thought [Blanks] was running and was just going to walk home and he took it for granted,” Dale Sveum said. “[Blanks] didn’t take off and ‘Welly’ took it for granted he was going to walk home and was going automatically, and obviously didn’t go after the ball.”

Blanks hesitated because he thought the ball had kicked back to Castillo off the brick wall.

“As soon as he kind of tailed after it, I just took off,” Blanks said. “I figured he’s taking his time, it’s as good a time as any to at least make an attempt. But the kick, I thought it was coming back to him, then as soon as it got away, I just took off.”

Camp walked Denorfia, and James Russell entered. Everth Cabrera greeted him with a go-ahead RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. Chase Headley followed with another RBI single that rolled just past Barney at second base.

Castillo shouldered the blame for the mental mistake.

“I want to apologize to my teammates,” Castillo said. “I feel like I lost the game. I’m the one who has to keep everybody on the game, and I just got out of the game.”

Anthony Rizzo made an amazing catch, grabbing Headley’s popup in foul territory as he dove over the rolled-up tarp. Rizzo ended up between the tarp and the brick wall, and held onto the ball. Borbon tumbled over the bullpen mound after catching Nick Hundley’s fly ball against the wall in the eighth. Shortstop Starlin Castro added to his highlight reel of great plays.

“It was a shame — we had two defensive plays that were the difference in the ballgame,” Sveum said. “It’s unfortunate. It was a really well-played game other than a pop-up that caused it. We had a chance to make a pitch and get out of all that, and couldn’t do it again. When we make a mistake, we don’t seem to be able to make a pitch to get the next guy out.”

– Carrie Muskat

3/11 Cubs 7, D-backs 5

Jeff Samardzija hit a solo home run and Welington Castillo added a two-run shot to lift the Cubs to a 7-5 victory Monday over the Diamondbacks in front of a sellout crowd of 12,436 in Scottsdale. Darwin Barney hit a two-run double in the seventh and scored on Jorge Soler’s single to break a 4-4 tie. Samardzija gave up four runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings, and Blake Parker picked up the save. Rule 5 pick Hector Rondon gave up one hit and struck out one in two-thirds of inning. Steve Clevenger, who played the entire game at first base, had three hits.

* The Cubs have Tuesday off and return to action Wednesday when they play host to the Rockies at HoHoKam Stadium. Edwin Jackson will get Wednesday’s start and Starlin Castro was expected back in the Cubs lineup for the first time since Feb. 27. The shortstop has been sidelined with a tight hamstring.

* Scott Baker and Carlos Villanueva will both pitch at Fitch Park on Tuesday.

– Carrie Muskat

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