Cubs interim manager Mike Quade benched Starlin Castro yesterday for what he called “lapses in concentration” after the Cubs’ rookie shortstop forgot how many outs there were and got picked off first base Sunday.
Castro also made an error in the field Friday and Quade, who’s gone 9-4 since taking over the 51-74 team from Lou Piniella last month, told Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times that he’ll be on the bench for at least two games to “reflect” on his various mistakes:
I want the guy to take a step back, take a look at what goes on around here, from a different perspective, sitting with us and his teammates. It’ll give him a chance to clear his head and figure out exactly how he can compartmentalize–if that’s the right word–all the different tasks that go with that position at this level. I think the break will help him.
Look, this kid has a chance to be so incredibly valuable, obviously, to this franchise. And the more he can do to help himself, to clear his mind and be consistent in what he does is going to determine just how good he’s going to be. So you take a moment like this, and you go ahead and do it.
Castro took the benching in stride, which is nice to see given that a 20-year-old rookie hitting .317 could just as easily have scoffed at being reprimanded by a manager who may not even be around after this month. And if Quade does actually get the full-time job in Chicago having Castro on his side will be a huge factor in his success, so the benching potentially has a much bigger impact than just couple days off.
Yesterday it was reported that someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey, which had been hanging in the Alsonso High School dugout in Tampa for a vigil. That was pretty vile stuff indeed.
Thankfully, however, someone’s conscience got the best of them: the jersey has been returned. School officials say that a family found a large envelope outside of the high school with the words “Jose’s jersey” written on it. They took the envelope into to the school this morning and the jersey was found inside.
Bad form taking it, whoever you are, but in most cases it’s never too late to make a better decision and fix your mistakes.
In late August, when everyone started looking at the schedule in an effort to see who had the easiest road ahead of them to the playoffs, the Tigers stood out as particularly blessed. The end of their season featured several games against the lonely Twins and, if things were tight heading into the final weekend, a three-game series against the lowly Braves.
Problem: the Braves have not been very lowly lately, and that could cause the Tigers all kinds of grief.
Atlanta has won 10 of 11 games. They’ve scored 66 runs in those games and their pitching staff has an ERA of 3.28 over that span. Oh, and remember how, earlier in the season, the Braves were hitting like a deadball era team, being outhomered by multiple individual players? Well, they’ve hit ten during this neat little run. Really, though, the run isn’t that little. They’ve won 19 of 30 and have been a solid team, offensively speaking, since late July. They’re hot as heck now and haven’t been pushovers for some time.
So enter the Tigers, who have been seesawing through August and September and who have to play in Atlanta this weekend without their DH, Victor Martinez. Oh, and who stand a halfway decent chance of having to fly out of Atlanta Sunday evening for a makeup game in Detroit that could then cause them to play a tiebreaker game in Toronto or Baltimore which could then have them travel to the other city for a Wild Card game. And that’s if things break decently.
If they break poorly? It’ll be a long, season-closing flight home from Atlanta. A city that was supposed to provide respite for them when it first appeared on the schedule.