Starlin Castro on verge of making history, too
BY TONI GINNETTI firstname.lastname@example.org October 1, 2012 8:52PM
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 01: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros is tagged out at second base by Starlin Castro #13 of the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning on October 1, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Updated: November 3, 2012 6:20AM
It appears second baseman Darwin Barney won’t be the only half of the Cubs’ double-play duo to set a record this season.
While Barney matched the major-league record of 141 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman in a season, Castro is on his way to becoming the first player in franchise history to play in all 162 games of a season at shortstop.
Castro played in his 160th game at short Monday, tying the single-season mark Ivan DeJesus set in 1978 and matched in 1979. He set a franchise record with his 159th start — he entered one game as a defensive replacement — one more than Don Kessinger in 1968 and DeJesus in 1978.
‘‘There’s no reason to rest anyone now,’’ manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘At this point, you get your rest in the winter. Playing in 162 games isn’t something you see often.’’
On Tuesday, Castro is expected to become the first Cubs infielder to make 161 starts since first baseman Bill Buckner in 1982. The last Cubs infielder to play in all 162 games was Hall of Fame third baseman Ron Santo, who did it in 1968.
If Castro plays in all 162 games, he would join Orlando Cabrera (2003), Miguel Tejada (2003, 2004) and Jimmy Rollins (2007) as the only shortstops to do so in the last 10 seasons.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Castro has the longest active streak of consecutive games played in the National League (194) and the second-longest in the majors behind Prince Fielder (341).
There is little doubt in Sveum’s mind that left fielder Alfonso Soriano has been the Cubs’ most valuable player this season, with power numbers that rank among the best in baseball.
Soriano entered the game Monday against the Houston Astros tied for fourth in the NL with 32 home runs and third in RBI with 108.
‘‘We’ve struggled to score runs, and he’s been one part of the puzzle who’s been consistent, especially since May 15 [when he hit his first homer],’’ Sveum said.
Sveum also praised Soriano’s improved defense, work ethic and quiet leadership.
‘‘It’s just awesome for a new manager to have that,’’ he said.
The Astros are playing their final season in the National League. They will join the American League West next season.
The Astros also are finishing the season under interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. Newly hired manager Bo Porter, the third-base coach for the playoff-bound Washington Nationals, will take over when the Nationals’