It's depressing being a Cubs fan lately. The offense is terrible, the rotation seems to be coming back to earth, Starlin Castro is mired in the worst slump of his career, the best bullpen arm we have is Kevin Gregg…it's not pretty.
Given all this, it seems worthwhile to try and find something to be optimistic about, some glimmer of light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel. I'm not talking about Yellonesque, hopemonster optimism that's out of touch with reality, but rather meaningful, day-to-day events that bode well for the team over the long term in some fashion.
In this spirit, I humbly offer the Bright Spot of the Day, which will hopefully provide at least one item each day — ideally with the big league club, because seriously, depressing – that you can point to and say, "Hey, not everything about this team is complete and utter dogshit!"
We'll see how it goes.
- Starlin Castro pulled a double down the line in the ninth, a screaming liner that was the hardest I've seen him hit a ball in weeks. Fewer moving parts before the pitch, better balance, hitting to his pull-field; these are the things Sveum and company have been wanting to see out of Starlin for awhile now. And with the relieved, skyward-looking sigh he allowed himself after stopping at second, it sure seems like that was a swing Castro himself had been looking for for awhile. Hopefully that last at-bat is a sign that the slump is coming to an end. But even if it isn't, having a solid result come from the process the coaches are trying to get Castro to buy into is a step in the right direction. (Or it could be total small sample size meaninglessness, but this was a shitty game and I'm having to dig pretty deep here. I digress…)
- Despite cooling off to the tune of a .160 BA so far in June, Anthony Rizzo seems to be taking Thoyer's message about taking walks to heart, receiving nine free passes in ten June games after drawing only 15 in his first 50. Despite the low average, Rizzo's still managed a .382 OBA for the month. He's contributing even if he's fighting his bat a bit, which I don't think we've seen out of a Cub hitter since Derrek Lee was good.
- As I said, I'm gonna try to keep this to the big league club most days, but it's hard not to mention Javier Baez's 4 HR night this evening. He mashed everything tonight, with bombs coming on 2 fastballs, a changeup, and a slider according to a tweet that I remember seeing but can't find right now because Javy has exploded my twitter feed with self-congratulatory retweets (the kid is excited, and rightfully so). At least one of the four was an opposite field shot, and another was a ~420 foot monster that Twitter reported ended up in the parking lot behind left-center field. Some of the shine has come off of Baez because of his willingness to get himself out, but when he's seeing the ball well he's a scary, scary man to have to throw to.