Wind blows, but not enough for Cubs
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com April 8, 2013 11:42PM
Cubs hitter Wellington Castillo is all smiles as he collects high fives in the dugout after connecting for a two-run homer in the second inning of the Chicago Cubs home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers Monday April 8, 2013 at the Wrigley Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: May 10, 2013 6:31AM
Cubs catcher Welington Castillo hit the only home run Monday at Wrigley Field on a day when hitters and pitchers thought the long ball would reign.
Instead, the gale that blew out early was blowing in by the ninth inning, when the Cubs tried to rally before falling short in a 7-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
‘‘Everything is mental in this game because hitters see the wind blowing out and think about home runs and the same with the pitchers,’’ Castillo said. ‘‘The pitchers try to keep the ball down, and you get behind in the count.’’
That happened to Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (0-2) in a four-run first that was fueled more by his control problems than the Brewers’ bats.
‘‘When you’re ahead of a hitter and you don’t make the pitch . . . you have to make pitches to get hitters out,’’ Castillo said of Jackson, who walked two — one forcing in a run — before Martin Maldonado’s bases-clearing double brought in three more.
Jackson said he had problems with his grip early.
‘‘I went to a little different mechanics [after the second inning], something that allowed me to feel freer,’’ he said.
But the Brewers led 5-2 by then before adding two more in the seventh against Shawn Camp.
The Cubs’ ninth-inning rally fell short when the wind changed. That helped to keep Starlin Castro’s deep fly with the bases loaded in the park to end the game.
President Theo Epstein said he doesn’t see a direct competitive advantage to playing more night games at Wrigley Field, but because it could increase the value of soon-to-be negotiated TV contracts, it might provide quicker revenue increases than the stadium changes.
‘‘I think it would really help from a revenue standpoint with the TV deal,’’ he said. ‘‘Competitively, we’d adjust to anything [related to game times]. . . . It’s more about the revenue than the competitiveness, but it’d be nice to have the flexibility to do that.’’
In the Wrigley renovation deal being discussed with the city and neighborhood officials, 10 or more night games might be added to the 30 now allowed annually.
Second baseman Darwin Barney, who’s on the disabled list with a gash in his left knee, said he expects the stitches to be out by the end of the week.
Barney, who’s taking batting practice, has been told he’ll take one day off at that point to let the stitch holes close, then play a rehab game or two before returning. He’s eligible to come back Tuesday.
Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer