Wrap-Up: Chicago Cubs Vs Houston Astros (5/22/2012)


May 17, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum (right) walks back to the dugout after talking with home plate umpire Gerry Davis during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

After a weekend that saw the Chicago Cubs be swept by their crosstown rivals, the Cubs entered play on Monday in the midst of a six game losing streak. As Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, the Cubs have reached a new low on the season.

That low has led some fans to taking to the radio waves and complaining about Sveum, the new regime, and the overall philosophy of the organization. But the complaints are unwarranted. For reason being that the 2012 Cubs team is the team that Cubs’ President Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer warned would struggle during the season. That is because the 2012 season is still a transition year in removing the final pieces of the previous regime, and then implementing the beginning pieces of the new regime. The moves that the Cubs front office made during the 0ff-season were geared towards 2013 and beyond, not for the 2012 season.

This is also why Dale Sveum should not be criticized. One caller into the “Mully and Hanley” show on 670 The Score AM suggested that Sveum has blown more games than Carlos Marmol has for the Cubs this season. That is what we would call a false analogy. Sveum had earned a supporter out of me, and that seems to be the popular sentiment around the baseball industry. Sveum has tried some unique changes and moves, though, that is because the first time manager is trying to find some way for the Cubs to start producing offensively. With this Cubs’ teams, that is all any Cubs fan could ask for.

Nonetheless, the Cubs entered play on Monday looking ahead at a stretch of games that is going to see the team play the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Diego Padres. If the Cubs are going to climb their way to respectability, it would likely be during these stretch of games. However, if Monday is any indicator, the Cubs may be on the clock for next season’s amateur draft as soon as this season concludes. The Cubs lost to the Houston Astros on Monday 8 to 4.

What Went Right: Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro collected his 400th career hit on Monday, the 22 year old became the sixth fastest player to reach 400 hit mark in his career. Adrian Cardenas, who got the start at second base on Monday, was 2 for 4. The Cubs scored four runs in the ninth inning, though at that point, the team was already being shutout and down my eight runs. Some may credit that as the Cubs’ hitters not giving up, but in all honesty, the Cubs late-inning production is nothing more than the team taking advantage of garbage time pitchers. Even though the damage was done, Randy Wells was effective in pitching the final five innings of the game while only allowing one run.

What Went Wrong: Matt Garza was all kinds of bad on Monday. The starting pitcher only lasted three innings giving up seven runs on five hits and two base on balls. The strength of the Cubs this season has been their starting pitcher. Garza has contributed to that success. Unfortunately for the Cubs and Garza,  the 27 year old starting pitcher was taken over by an “impostor” or so said Garza himself. Bryan LaHair, who had been receiving many praises of late, has been struggling. The first baseman’s struggles continued on Monday as LaHair went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Sveum said after the game that LaHair may receive a mental off day on Tuesday.

What Was Interesting: Sveum told reporters on Sunday that he was strongly leaning toward changing the top of the Cubs’ lineup. That led to speculation that Starlin Castro would be moved up in the order to the leadoff spot or the number two hitter. The speculation was all for nothing as the top of the Cubs lineup was no different as David DeJesus, Tony Campana, and Castro were the first three hitters in that order. Though, after the Cubs struggled to produce offensively yet again on Monday, I would imagine that changes to the lineup could be coming soon.