Hammel Shut ‘Em Out, Castro Hit ‘Em Out – Cubs 4, Brewers 0

Game Twenty-Four: Cubs 4, Brewers 0

WP – Jason Hammel (4-1) LP – Wily Peralta (3-1) Save – None

wflag-pub2014Jason Hammel dominated the Ryan Braun-less lineup and Starlin Castro went yard twice on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park as the Cubs snapped their four-game losing streak.

Jason Hammel put together the best outing by a Cubs’ pitcher so far this season. Hammel took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and limited a very good Brewers’ lineup, even without Ryan Braun, to three hits over seven-plus innings. Hammel had very good command and was able to pitch his way out of his only jam in the sixth inning. The Brewers made very little solid contact against Hammel as he appeared to keep the Brewers’ offense guessing all afternoon.

Jason Hammel picked up his fifth quality start in five tries after shutting out the Brewers on Sunday. Hammel surrendered three hits, one double, with two walks and seven strikeouts. Hammel threw 98 pitches, 67 for strikes, in seven-plus innings.

Pedro Strop recorded three outs on four pitches in the eighth inning. And Hector Rondon was very good in technically a non-save situation. But when the team you pitch four has lost four games in a row, was it really a non-save situation for Rondon on Sunday afternoon? Hector Rondon struck out the side in order in the ninth to close out Hammel’s gem.

Starlin Castro (3-for-4 with two home runs) had a very good weekend at the plate. Castro just missed a couple of home runs on Saturday night, but he did not miss anything on Sunday. Even the out he made was a liner to third base right to Aramis Ramirez.

For the second time in his career and the second time this season, Starlin Castro hit two home runs in a single game. Castro gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second inning with his first longball of the day. Castro hit a monster shot over the wall in centerfield off of Wily Peralta that appeared to relax his teammates. Castro lined a solo shot over the wall in left in the eighth inning off of reliever Brandon Kintzler that capped his day. Castro’s fourth homer of the season got out of Miller Park in a hurry … and tied him with Mike Olt and Welington Castillo for the team lead in home runs.

Darwin Barney (0-for-4 with a RBI) grounded out to third in the second inning with the bases loaded and plated Nate Schierholtz (1-for-4 with a run scored) with the Cubs’ second run. Mike Olt (0-for-2 with a SF RBI and a walk) drove in Anthony Rizzo (1-for-4 with a run scored) with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. Ryan Kalish (2-for-4 with a stolen base) hit leadoff for the Cubs on Sunday. Kalish collected two hits and stole a base. John Baker (2-for-4) snapped an 0-for-18 skid with two hits on Sunday, his first two hits in a Cubs’ uniform.

After striking out 12 times with one walk on Friday and 11 times without a walk on Saturday, the Cubs struck out eight times on Sunday with one walk. 31 strikeouts in three games with two walks is not good, but to the Cubs credit, two of the eight strikeouts on Sunday came in the first inning. The entire team seemed to change their approach at the plate after Castro’s first home run.

The Cubs scored four runs on nine hits (1-for-8 with RISP, five left on base) and won for the seventh time at Miller Park since the start of the 2011 season (7-24).

The Cubs picked up their first victory since last Tuesday and the pitching staff recorded its first shutout of the season. With Sunday’s win (2-2 on Sundays in 2014), the Cubs improved to 8-16 on the season.

Starlin Castro led off the second inning of a scoreless, hitless game with a big fly to center. Castro got all of Wily Peralta’s 2-0 pitch and hit a long, homer over the wall in center. Castro’s third homer of the season gave the Cubs their first lead in the series. Nate Schierholtz worked a full count before recording his first hit off of Peralta, a soft liner into left center. Schierholtz swiped second on a 1-0 pitch to Olt. Mike Olt worked a walk. John Baker collected his first hit in a Cubs’ uniform. Baker dribbled a 3-2 pitch past a diving Aramis Ramirez. The ball appeared to hit Ramirez’s glove and Bianchi was able to get to the ball before it rolled into left field. With the bases loaded and no outs, Darwin Barney pulled a 1-1 pitch toward third. Ramirez fielded the ball, stepped on third and threw toward the plate. Ramirez’s throw was offline and toward the first base side of the base. Schierholtz slid in safe, 2-0 Cubs. Jason Hammel stepped in with runners on first and second with one down. Hammel squared with Ramirez and Overbay crashing down on him. Hammel bunted the ball right to Ramirez … 5-6-4 double play, inning over.

Jason Hammel retired the side in order in the second, 25 pitches for Hammel after two innings, 18 for strikes, and the game went to the third with the Cubs up 2-0.

Jason Hammel continued throwing strikes in the third and fourth innings. Hammel allowed two baserunners, a walk and an error, on 57 pitches, 38 for strikes, over the first four innings.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead into the sixth inning.

Anthony Rizzo led off the sixth with a hump-back liner to center (1-1 pitch). Starlin Castro followed and ripped a single into left. With runners on first and second with no outs, Schierholtz pulled a 0-1 pitch up the first baseline. Overbay fielded the ball and beat Schierholtz to the bag as Rizzo and Castro moved up ninety feet. Mike Olt lifted Peralta’s first pitch to center. Rizzo tagged and scored, 3-0 Cubs. Castro could not move up when Gomez airmailed his throw to third. John Baker worked a full count before hitting a liner down the third baseline that Ramirez made a nice backhand catch on to end the inning.

Jason Hammel took a 3-0 lead and a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth. Hammel retired Peralta on a pop out to Barney in shallow right center for the first out. Carlos Gomez followed and ripped a 1-2 pitch past Mike Olt and into the left field corner. Gomez settled for a double, the first hit off Hammel. Scooter Gennett was walked on four pitches and Jonathan Lucroy stepped in representing the tying run. Hammel gave the Brewers two bases when he tried to pickoff Gomez from second base. Hammel’s throw ended up in center and both Gomez and Gennett moved up ninety feet. With runners on second and third, Lucroy struck out swinging (1-2 pitch) for the second out. Aramis Ramirez bounced out to Olt to end the inning.

The Cubs went down in order in the seventh and Hammel surrendered his second hit of the day in the home half. Lyle Overbay reached on a one-out single to left center. But that was all against Hammel in the seventh and the Cubs went to the eighth up by a 3-0.

Brandon Kintzler replaced Peralta for the eighth and retired Anthony Rizzo on a flyout to center (3-1 pitch). Starlin Castro followed and lined Kintzler’s first pitch over the wall in left. Castro’s fourth longball of the season gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. Kintzler retired Schierholtz (grounder to first) and Olt (swinging strikeout) to end the inning.

Jason Hammel took the hill for the start of the eighth inning. Rickie Weeks hit for Kintzler and lined a single into left center. Rick Renteria decided that was enough for Hammel and went to his pen for Pedro Strop. Carlos Gomez flied out to left on Strop’s first pitch and Scooter Gennett grounded into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against lefty Wei-Chung Wang in the ninth and Hector Rondon was given the task to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth. Rondon struck out the side in order (Lucroy looking, Ramirez swinging, Davis swinging) to end the game.

Weather permitting, the Cubs open a three-game series on Monday night (6:05pm CDT) in Cincinnati. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to take on Alfredo Simon in the opener.

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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I think we could start to hear trade rumors involving Castro soon. Don’t know if it would happen but he has to be a really attractive target.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      If a team inquired and I was Theo I would say any trade talks will begin with the opposition offering up their top 3 prospects. And if those top 3 aren’t in the overall top 100, take a walk. I would consider a trade for Castro but I would make a team give up a monsterous return. Probably would have to get a 3rd team involved in fact. I don’t see too many teams with enough top flight talent to give up. Archie Bradley, Aaron Sanchez and a third 5 star prospect would be all I would consider. If a team doesn’t want to give that up, fine we keep him.

      • Eugene Debs

        We will not get 3 top prospects for Castro.

      • John_CC

        Top prospects? No way. The only trade would be for another young MLB with an equal floor and upside, obviously a pitcher.

        Otherwise why even bring this up?

        Arent getting tired of tradeimg everylayer that succeeds for players that might succeed…someday?

    • cubtex

      Why in the world would you want to trade the best player on your team who is 24 and is locked up at a reasonable contract?

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        Well I didn’t say I wanted to. Bu if calls came about him and I was Theo I would say before they waste any breath that it will take 3 top prospects including 2 TOR starters. If that was doable I would listen. Castro is at a position of depth in our system an we need starting pitchin. So I’d at least entertain the discussion and see what came o it. You were so against the Rizzo trade but the scenario I’m discussing is similar but in reverse and instead of getting one pitcher im talking a minimum of two Cashner types along with a 3rd player of top flight value. It would be a tough decision but if we have up Castro and got back two Cashner type pitchers it would speed up the rebuild. Castro is a great hitter but has had his share of off the field issues am been inconsistent. Also he isn’t know for power or for taking pitches. Whih it seems Theo wants young players for the Cubs to do one of those two things.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Again I wouldn’t necessarily want to trade him. But would make it clear to any caller that because I dont particularly want to trade him they would have to make an offer i cant refuse. For a team close to a title that needs a shortstop that can hit and is young with a wonderfully team friendly contract. Getting blown away by a deal could be possible. And the TOR prospects would have to both be near MLB ready. Practically can’t miss. For a team with a load of starting pitching and a load of prospect maybe they would meet the price. For example the Cardinals, although I doubt we would trade him interdiction. But for them a deal like this would be doable. They have the pitching depth and could really use a guy like Castro.

          • Tony_H

            I wouldn’t tell the other team anything. Let them make an offer and just say no, unless one of them makes a stupid offer, which you would know when you heard it.

        • cubtex

          Who are this positional depth you speak of? If you are the FO….are you 100% sold that Baez can stick at SS for the next 5 to 10 years? If you think Castro is inconsistent…up until today 3 errors in 108 chances. … Baez 4 errors in 44 chances. Do you also think Baez is a patient hitter? I have read where a scout called him the most impatient hitter they have ever scouted. What IF Baez can’t play there? What then? Castro is in elite company with what he has done so far in his brief mlb career. If you want to trade a player for pitching…they would be better off trading Rizzo since 1st base is an easy fill. Look what the White Sox got with Jose Abreu. He has set a record for HR’s and RBI for a rookie for the month of April. Castro would be untouchable to me.

          • Tony_H

            1B is so easy to fill that the Brewers are platooning Reynolds and Overbay. I woudn’t say Abreu is going to keep this up, but if he does, that doesn’t mean that 1B is easy to fill. They took a lot of risk signing him.

          • cubtex

            Most teams have one spot where they have a platoon at one position. Didn’t they also have an injury to their young guy in ST? It is an easy position to fill. The easiest in the game imo

          • Tony_H

            Do you really think Abreu will keep it up?

          • cubtex

            He uses all fields. Do I think he will hit 45 HR’s and drive in 140( whatever pace he is on)? Probably not but he is good. Have you seen him?

          • Tony_H

            Yes, I took him in a fantasy league that I waited on 1B. I hope his hitting continues. I just worry that he is only hitting 253 so far and once pitchers get a better scouting report it will go down along with his HR’s. He is already striking out 1/game and that could increase. I think he will keep giving them good value on their investment, but I don’t believe he will keep up the power numbers even close to this level.

          • cubtex

            I don’t think he will be a high average guy. He is not a good glove at 1st…but that guy can hit em out of any park to all fields. He hits em off good pitching too. Took David Price out today.

          • Tony_H

            He could turn into their next Adam Dunn! He already has 3 errors at 1B.

          • cubtex

            yea. he is pretty bad at 1st but Adam Dunn is all pull. Abreu uses the entire field. It will be interesting to keep an eye on what he does throughout the season. As I told you during the offseason. Rick Hahn has done a hell of a job to make this Sox team competitive. Adam Eaton for Santiago(who is 0-4 with the Angels) The Abreu signing. They could be the surprise team in the Central this year. It all depends on Sale,Danks and Quintana. Those 3 lefties all have to stay healthy and have big years.

          • Tony_H

            Sounds like a lot ifs in that statement. Sorry he didn’t do anything special that any other GM couldn’t have done. No way they keep up with Detroit and I don’t think they can win enough games for the Wild Card, gonna be around 90 this year.

          • cubtex

            Of course but the point is that they are rebuilding while being competitive on the mlb front. Something that could have been done on the North Side.

          • Tony_H

            I’ve heard that few 1000 times before. You telling us that there is more than one way to rebuild. Of course there is, but this is the way the Cubs are doing it. They are very close to the farm system to start producing players every year, they are not going to go a different path now.

            Let’s compare what these 2 teams do over the next 5-10 years to see whose path was better.

          • cubtex

            Would you rather watch a team like the White Sox this year(who finished worse than the Cubs last year) or this Cubs team. They added 4 players who are under 25 by trading Peavy,Santiago,Reed and sign an International (stud so far) free agent. They are closer than the Cubs and are young.

          • Tony_H

            Sorry, not about what is more entertaining this year for either team, except the White Sox need to throw cookies to their fans just to get them to show up. Literally if they did a cookie giveaway I bet it would help attendance.

          • cubtex

            Cubs will have to do that next year or no one will show up :)

          • Tony_H

            Maybe, and if so, so be it, tickets will get cheaper.

            I fully believe in supply and demand and don’t get the people who complain about the price of tickets.

          • BigJonLilJon

            would be curious to know what Cubs attendance and record would be if the White Sucks lineup wore Cubs uniforms?

          • BigJonLilJon

            But a lot less “ifs” then we have with our cubbies!!

          • BigJonLilJon

            Most of his homers have come on balls middle and outside corner of the plate. Pitchers are going to start jamming him inside soon.

          • BigJonLilJon

            Of course he wont keep it up. But it is scary that Cell is a notorious hitters park when the weather is warm. It hasn’t gotten warm yet. Will be interesting to see Abreu does then!!!

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Like Tony said. I wouldn’t want to trade him really. But I wouldn’t say he’s untouchable. If a team makes me a stupid offer, I consider it. If they want to take us from one of the bottom rated farm systems pitching wise to one of the top overnight, I at least listen. If we can get our number 1 and 2 starting pitchers for the next 10 years out of the deal I listen. Let then know right up front, I am going to demand a return that in 5 years you will regret. But you might get a title out of it now. That’s the price. Probably doesn’t get met but that’s it.

          • cubtex

            He is the best player on the team by far. It isn’t even close who is behind him. It would have to be a huge huge haul.

          • cubtex

            Other than Baez…who do you consider SS positional depth?

          • Tony_H

            Basic list

            Arismendy Alcantara
            Jeudy Valdez
            Marco Hernandez
            Carlos Penalver
            Gleyber Torres

          • cubtex

            Exactly. Who on that list is pushing at the mlb level? Alcantara is a 2nd baseman now and I haven’t heard any talk about possibly moving him back to SS.

          • Tony_H

            You wouldn’t hear any talk unless Castro was traded. There really is not much talk of Baez staying at SS because Castro is here (and I believe will be for a long time).

            But Alcantara could move back over to SS along with Barney if Castro was traded and Baez couldn’t handle SS.

            The Cubs have a lot of major league SS in their system. Something some teams have none of in their system.

          • cubtex

            It would be a huge mistake to trade Castro with what they have in the system right now. Now in 3 years…that could change. But not today. How ugly would that be to have Alcantara and Barney at SS for the next couple of yearr?

          • Tony_H

            With Baez at 2B and if Olt can hold 3B, with Bryant in RF, Almora in CF. Not sure it is all that ugly.

          • cubtex

            I say Bryant will stay at 3rd. Bryant Castro Baez and Castro would look pretty good to me.

          • Tony_H

            I like Baez at 3B actually with Alcantara at 2B. This team needs LH or S batters to go with all the RH power bats.

          • cubtex

            good pitching matchup on ESPN. You watching?

          • Tony_H

            Yes, I have Richards in the CCO league. He has been very good so far this year, 3rd season thing and all.

          • cubtex

            Former 1st round pick out of Oklahoma. Saw him pitch in college. This is his first full year starting. He only started 17 games last year and single digits the other 2. He’s got good stuff.

          • Tony_H

            That’s him. Started 3 games in 2011, then 9 in 2012 while appearing in 30 games total. Then split time last year with 17 starts and 47 appearances. That’s the basis for a guy to break out in his 3rd season.

          • cubtex

            hahaha. whatever you say boss

          • Tony_H

            I have seen far too many hitters and pitchers break out in fantasy baseball using this and you do realize fantasy baseball uses real baseball games for it’s basis. Just like watching for age 27 seasons. It is like anything else, not an every time thing or a never thing, but is one more factor when evaluating players.

          • cubtex

            I am predicting Tanaka’s 1st loss tonight. He has got away with several mistakes so far.

          • cubtex

            Tanaka doesn’t have it tonight.

          • Tony_H

            Double play by the old guys helps!

          • cubtex

            I hate that. He is struggling with command and the guy bails him out by swinging at 1st pitch.

          • Tony_H

            Never been a fan of Kendrick.

            But you would probably get a kick out of my current DP combo for my CCO team is Roberts and Jeter.

          • cubtex

            3 walks for Tanaka 2 hits but 5 K’s. Angels need to capitalize

          • Tony_H

            And remember, I don’t think Castro is going anywhere.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Torres, Hernandez, Penalver…I don’t know. Alcantra, Candelaruo potentially? Really all I was saying is that I figured people would start inquiring about Castro. And that I would take the calls and see what they said. Sorry I’m such an idiot, you proved your point.

          • cubtex

            what? I was just saying that noone is pushing at the mlb level? Like I said to Tony. If one or of those guys progess then maybe you re-visit that trading of Castro then but not now.

        • BigJonLilJon

          I don’t think you look to trade him, but if the right offer comes along, you have to listen. The Cubs are not going to compete for at least 3 more seasons. Like it or not, Theo is building for then not now.

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  • paulcatanese

    Fine game for Hammel, Castro.

  • John_CC

    I didnt even think that Rondon’s 9th wasn’t a save situation. Because as you said Neil, for us it was clearly a save situation.

    Even of it didn’t go into the record book, he gets a Cub Save. And I sure hope he gets the next official try.