The Cubs went out west and promptly got swept by the Dodgers and Padres, running their losing streak to 8 games. Jeff Samardzija took advantage of PetCo Park by allowing only one run in 7 innings, but the Padres took advantage of a woeful Cubs offense by shutting them out.
‘‘The starting pitchers have pitched really well,’’ manager Dale Sveum said, refuting the idea of a post-deadline hangover. ‘‘I think they’ve all filled in pretty admirably for the three guys we lost [including Matt Garza to injury]. Bottom line is we stopped scoring runs.’’
I think Dale forgot about the Brooks Raley game. Spellcheck seems to understand that the rest of the season is going to be a prolonged struggle.
‘‘I don’t think we’re going to look at that too much,’’ Samardzija (7-10) said when asked about the significance of the second-longest losing streak of the season.
‘‘Obviously you want to win every day, but we’re going to learn a lot here in the next month and a half. We play some really good teams. We’re going to see what we’re made of as a team.
‘‘We know it’s not going to be easy. We’re not here to make excuses, either.’’
Even if he did get frustrated enough to break a bat over his knee after striking out.
‘‘Just felt good to snap it like a toothpick,’’ said Samardzija, who smiled at the comparisons to Zambrano. ‘‘I watched him as a kid. I saw how he did it.’’
Will the media lambaste him? Is Dale Sveum sick of his childish antics?
‘‘Right now, when you start losing games and a lot of things aren’t going your way, you’re going to see some frustrations come out,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s part of the game. It’s OK to see guys with emotions and fire. Those are the guys you want around.’’
Unless they’re Venezuelan.
Meanwhile, Starlin Castro has been struggling at the plate. He’s hitting .200 in his last 38 games. Is he broken?
“I want to finish strong,” Castro said Wednesday. “Every [season], I finish strong. Every time, I put it in my mind that the last month, if you don’t finish strong, my family doesn’t eat. I put that in my mind. I need my family to eat these two months, like they eat in the first four months. I put that in my mind all the time. I’ll do it for sure.”
I’m not sure that Starlin understands that he gets paid the same no matter what his performance is. Or maybe Dale is lying to him to motivate him. But Dale has some suggestions for him going forward:
“There’s so many moving parts that are going on that don’t need to go on,” Sveum said of Castro’s swing. “There’s not a good base on a consistent basis. … There’s so much movement going on, it’s going to be hard to be consistent. He has to narrow things down to be able to use his hand-eye coordination.”
Sveum said Castro, who led the National League in hits last season, doesn’t need to alter too much but may become a winter project.
“It’s not like a big change — it’s making him understand he doesn’t need all this extra movement going on to succeed,” Sveum said.
I’ll bet Starlin is a good dancer, though.