Cubs’ comedy of errors doesn’t amuse Dale Sveum
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org August 10, 2012 8:46PM
Manager Dale Sveum was particularly irked by this base-running blunder by Starlin Castro, who was thrown out at third after losing track of the ball. | AP
Updated: September 12, 2012 6:10AM
The Cubs have morphed into a team with unproven rookies, an inexperienced rotation and a young shortstop still prone to lapses in concentration that try his manager’s patience.
It all was on display Friday, when the Cubs hosted the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds, who still had to scramble for a 10-8 victory that ended their five-game losing streak.
The Cubs had five errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball, along with a baserunning gaffe by shortstop Starlin Castro in the sixth that added to manager Dale Sveum’s testy mood afterward.
“Not the prettiest one we’ve played all year, that’s for sure,’’ he said. “I don’t attribute it to anything. We played pretty good defense all year long. Sometimes you take things for granted.’’
Castro was 2-for-4, but that didn’t mitigate the rest of his play in Sveum’s mind.
He took his eye off a ground ball that slipped under his glove in the third, though rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo and rookie third baseman Josh Vitters had miscues, too, in the three-run inning.
In the three-run sixth, catcher Welington Castillo committed a throwing error trying to nab a stealing Drew Stubbs. Stubbs scored when rookie center fielder Brett Jackson let the ball get by him for another error.
The wind didn’t help either team. It blew so hard late in the game that some fly balls that started in the infield ended in the stands.
“I’ve never played with consistent wind like that,’’ said starter Justin Germano (1-2), one of five Cubs pitchers.
But the wind wasn’t the reason for the most errors by a Cubs team since Sept. 12, 2006, when they had six against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It also didn’t affect Castro on the basepaths in the sixth.
“If you’re going to steal a base five runs down, you better know where the ball is hit,’’ said Sveum, who plans to have another talk with his shortstop today. “Whatever the lack of concentration is in situations, you can’t make mistakes like that at all. We’ll talk to him about it.’’
Castro was at first with no outs and the Reds ahead 8-3 when Vitters drove a single to right. But Castro looked confused when he got to second, looking around for the ball and then turning toward third, where he easily was thrown out.
“The second baseman faked me out, and I didn’t watch the ball,’’ Castro said, adding that he thought first-base coach Dave McKay gave him the OK to run.
“I’m a little upset today,’’ Sveum said. “A few things get taken for granted a few times, and it’s not acceptable, and the baserunning isn’t the only thing. It’s not part of [having] a young team.”
But the Cubs have become a young team, relying on an infield with rookies at the corners and two players in their second full seasons. They have a rookie catcher and another who has spent parts of the last three seasons in the minors. There is a rookie in center field between Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus, two of the few remaining veterans.
In the closing eight weeks, the Cubs will play eight series against teams in the hunt for playoff spots. Their role only can be as spoilers, but that will have to be part of their motivation.
“We’ve all been in situations, especially in September, where you play teams in the pennant race,’’ Sveum said. “You’ll do what you can to field the best teams you can, and you always want to do that, even to knock teams out. Those are things you play for as a player, too.’’