Game Recap: Cubs 14, Reds 7
I couldn't have scripted that any better.
Most recaps and articles on the game last night involve some cool play on Starlin's name, like "A Star-lin in the Making" or "Castro Brings the Revolution" or "Hey, that Starlin Kid is Pretty Good." However, I am not that creative at the moment and figured you loyal readers had already been inundated with aforemnetioned pun-filled headlines.
It's also the trendy thing to mention that most "can't miss" prospects, in fact, miss. It seems the name du jour is Ben Grieve, who drove in 5 RBI in his first game, went on to a Rookie of the Year award, and then promptly faded into a career of obscurity, eventually hitting his final HR with the Cubs (118 in total, for those counting). I could mention Corey Patterson, Hee Seop Choi, and countless others that were supposed to be the saviors of our organization. But that would just be far too cynical, even for a Cubs fan, after last night's performance.
The big takeaway point from last night is this: Starlin Castro has the ability to be an impact player. Before his first at bat, everyone wanted to know whether he could adjust to the majors and if he'd be intimidated in the box. What we learned last night is he wasn't too over-eager at the plate and could punish the mistakes of an opposing pitcher. In the second inning, Castro saw one of the nastiest curves Homer Bailey could throw get called for a strike on the inside corner. He then deposited the next pitch, a hanging curve, to the right field stands for a 3-run homer. Three innings later, Castro hit a gapper to left field with the bases loaded for a triple to drive in three more runs. At least in the small sample size we have so far, it's nice to see the "uses all fields" portion of the scouting report hold true. Castro ended the night 2-for-5, HR, 6 RBI.
Lost in the hype of the Castro debut, Marlon Byrd added a home run of his own in the third inning, his sixth on the season. Byrd just keeps on hitting and is off to a ridiculous start. If he stays on the current pace, he's projected to have a career high 33 home runs by the end of the season.
Fontenot added added a pinch-hit grand slam in the 8th to cap the Cubs scoring.
The pitching for the Cubs was less than impressive. Silva only lasted five innings and gave up four runs on ten hits. In a game where your team is up by 9 after five innings, most pitchers say it is hard to keep focus and stay as sharp as you are in a tight game. I am hoping this was the case for Silva. However, based on his track record, there are going to be nights where hits just happen to drop against Silva. What matters is whether he is able to scatter those hits or whether they come all at once.
John Grabow continued his terrible excuse for pitching in the 9th inning and allowed the Reds to score 3 runs. It is nice to see Lou trying to get Grabow some experience in non-pressure situations. What isn't nice to see is Grabow hanging pitches constantly. I'm no pitching coach, so I don't know what he is doing wrong, but I do know that it needs to stop.
My complaints aside, the Cubs offense woke up once again, our top prospect gave Cubs fans a taste of his potential with a historic performance, and most importantly the Cubs can add another one to the "W" column.