Luis Valbuena and his bat flip are having a good season. After an 0-for in his first game at the leadoff spot Sunday, Valbuena is 4-for-9 with two doubles and two walks in his last two games. Valbuena puts together solid at bats and works counts on a daily basis. And he’s been almost as effective against lefties (.280/.379/.360/.739) as he has against right handers (.294/.392/.488/.880) this season.
Valbuena is batting .292/.391/.470 with 19 doubles, one triple, four home runs and a .861 OPS in 62 games this year.
After a slow start in April (.218/.368/.327), Luis Valbuena heated up in May (.295/.389/.513) and is 19-for-52 with seven doubles and one home run over his last 15 games (.365/.411/.558/.968). Valbuena has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games and has reached base in 12 of 15.
Starlin Castro went 1-for-4 with a double Tuesday night and he has hit safely in six straight and 10 of the last 11. Castro’s two-bagger Tuesday was his 20th of the season. As Christopher Kamka pointed out Castro is only the 46th player with 150 doubles in a Cubs uniform … and Castro is 24 years old.
For the season, Castro is batting .285/.329/.473 with 20 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and a .802 OPS. Castro has hit 10 home runs for the third time in his career, tying marks set in 2011 and 2013. Castro is four short of his career best of 14 set in 2012.
Castro is 20-for-64 over his last 16 games with seven doubles and three home runs, that is a .313/.353/.563 slash line with a .915 OPS.
And 69 games into the season, his .473 slugging percentage and .802 OPS are both higher than previous career highs.
News and Notes
Jeff Samardzija drove in the Cubs’ third run of the game Tuesday night with his second sacrifice fly of the year. Samardzija became the first Cubs pitcher since Jim Bullinger (2) in 1995 with multiple sacrifice flies in the same season.
Former Cubs closer, Carlos Marmol needed a mental break and according to Jon Heyman, he isn’t sure if he will pitch again this season.
This Day In Cubstory
2002 – In the first big league game to feature four players with at least 400 home runs, the Cubs beat the Rangers 4-3 on an Alex Gonzalez walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth. Sammy Sosa (475), Fred McGriff (459), Juan Gonzalez (401) and Rafael Palmeiro (460) played in the game.
1996 – Brant Brown hit his first three big league home runs, all in the same day. Brown took Chan Ho Park deep in the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter. The Cubs lost the first of two 9-6. Brown hit two homers in the nightcap to help lead the Cubs over the Dodgers 7-4.
1985 – Chris Coghlan, born
1939 – Lou Brock, born
1929 – Hack Wilson drove in six runs with a Grand Slam and a two-run homer in a Cubs 13-6 victory over the Cardinals, behind Guy Bush, at Wrigley Field
This Day In Baseball History
1972 – By a 5-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court confirms lower court rulings in the Curt Flood case, upholding baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws and the legitimacy of its reserve clause. Its decision is narrowly construed, however, and leaves the way open for legislation of collective bargaining to undercut the reserve system. By the year’s end the Major League owners would destroy it themselves by agreeing to salary arbitration.