Before Friday’s game against the Reds, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said the club wasn’t asking top prospect Starlin Castro to provide a “spark” for the team. Well, Castro must have missed that memo.
On Friday, the 20-year-old Dominican became the first player in major league history to drive in six runs in their major league debut. The previous record-holder — the immortal Ben Grieve — drove in five runs on September 3, 1997.
Castro connected for a three-run home run in his first at-bat in the second inning — the third player to do it this season (Jason Heyward, Luke Hughes) — and the sixth in Cubs history. The last Cubs player to accomplish the feat was pitcher Jim Bullinger on June 8, 1992. If that wasn’t enough, Castro later added a three-run triple in the fifth.
Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva summed the youngster’s night up pretty well:
“Unbelievable. I was hitting behind him, looking at everything he was
doing. I was like: ‘Wow.'”
I’m a little worried that short-term expectations could get out of control after a historic night like this, but the North Siders and their fans have a homegrown player to be very excited about. And that’s always a good thing for this game.
The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.
The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.
Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.
The matchups for Tuesday’s action:
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.
Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.
The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.