The Cubs flew out of Chicago high on the sweep of the Astros, but had to go to Atlanta and face a team over .500. Anthony Rizzo homered again and Jeff Samardzija looked more like the pitcher we saw earlier this year and less like the pitcher we saw in June. He apparently was trying to throw a curve ball without much success.
“That’s the learning curve of this starting stuff,” manager Dale Sveum said. “If you’re a three-pitch pitcher, be a three-pitch pitcher and don’t all of a sudden think you’re going to get to a 1.00 ERA. Just like a .300 hitter, don’t try to be a .350 hitter and change things otherwise you’re going to go backward. But that’s the learning curve of starting sometimes.”
Samardzija said he added the curveball in his June 16 outing against theBoston Red Sox with the intention of not only having another out-pitch at his disposal, but to also give opposing hitters one more thing to think about.
It turned out that the one more thing opposing hitters were thinking about was how far they were going to hit the curve ball. Anthony Rizzo hit his second home run of the year, but also covered for what looked to be a strange Starlin Castro gaffe in the second. Dan Uggla grounded to short, Castro waited to throw to first and Uggla beat the throw for a single. As you might imagine, Dale Sveum was waiting for Castro at the end of the inning, but that’s where Rizzo stepped in.
“Rizzo came to his rescue right away,” Sveum said. “Rizzo told him to give him time to get to the bag. He got caught probably trying to get too much ground and told somebody to take their time when they got a ball deep in the hole. It was one of those things that I apologized to Castro after.”
He’s a slugger and a stand-up guy.
“It was my fault in my opinion,” Rizzo said. “I told him before that to give me a little time. That’s just me not knowing Uggla’s speed. I thought I had time to get there.”
Luis Valbuena had two doubles and three RBI last night, and he appears to be the choice for now as the starting third baseman for the rest of the season. That’s because Ian Stewart is out for the season, facing surgery on his injured wrist. Does Dale Sveum expect him back next year?
“He’s got all the ability to do it,” he said. ‘I’d like to see some adjustment in the swing, whether it was the hand or not. … The defense is something you’re always wanting, and the power and athleticism he brings, there’s just not many around at third base that have those kind of attributes. We’ve got to get better than what we’ve been the last 300 at-bats in the big leagues.”
I hope he gets all better and then turns into Mike Schmidt.