The Daily CCO: Luis Valbuena Stays Hot

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

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.

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Quote of the Day

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – E.E. Cummings

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  • Tony_H

    I like Valbuena at the top of the lineup with the 2 hole the best if you have someone else who gets on base like he does who is a more traditional lead off man. Not that we have many players who bat in the spot of the order they are most suited to bat.

    • Eugene Debs

      We really need a lead off hitter.

  • cubtex

    He’s a borderline all star!

    • John_CC

      Why do you have to be such a smart a…leck? Because yuou know it will start another argument? This beaten to death already, RIP.

      This is just a baiting comment.

      • cubtex

        Relax Francis.

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  • John_CC

    Brant Brown….oye

  • cubtex

    Anybody watching the College World Series? How much more enjoyable is the college game as opposed to the mlb game? No sabermetrics talk. Pitcher vs Hitter. Umps calling strikes…..strikes. Batters swinging the bat and not looking to work the count each and every at bat. Games moving swiftly and enjoyably. MLB better take notice because ratings and interest is dwindling daily. The mlb game these days is sooooo long and boring and if you have teams like the Cubs with anouncers like the Cubs….it is intolerable(at least for me) There should never be a 3 and 1/2 or 4 hour 9 inning game.

    • daverj

      Agree on the games moving swiftly … MLB needs to find a way to speed up the games. I disagree with you on sabermetrics. I find them to be one of the most enjoyable parts of discussions about the game. It finally is getting fans to realize that stats like RBIs, Runs and Wins have very little meaning in player evaluation.

      • cubtex

        It is how the game was created. To me….when I was playing and watching the game…it was so much more enjoyable not hearing about how this hitter takes pitches and works the count. He hits .200 but he has a .320 OBP. How this guy is unlucky with BABIP. He is unlucky because he could be a one dimensional hitter and can’t hit em where they ain’t like a Tony Gwynn. The College game calls strikes a strike. The game flows. Last night.. TCU and Virginia started an hour later than the Cubs and were an inning and a half behind the Cubs game when it was completed. That is ridiculous. Batters don’t go up there taking 2 strikes and borderline strikes. Pitchers don’t take forever in between pitches. MLB needs to do something.

        • daverj

          To each his own … I love the OBP and BABIP stuff and it keeps me interested in the game. And if not for bad or good luck, how do you explain large BABIP (and batting average) fluctuations from year to year? I suppose you would say he didn’t know how to “hit ’em where they ain’t” one season, then learned how to do so the following season, then forgot the next year …

        • Chris K.

          OBP is the reason MLB is slow. Not all the pitching changes, TV timeouts, replay analysis or the fact baseball has always been a slow game. It’s the taking pitches!

          • cubtex

            Chris. Of course those are reasons…but the strike zone in the mlb is the size of a pinhole these days. Call it like it was. Make guys swing the bat. Does a 6 pitch walk thrill you? If the players knew pitches on the outside and inside corner are being called strikes as well as just below the knee to the chest…they would swing the bat.

          • Chris K.

            I agree that the strike zone should be consistent, but I’ll take a walk over a strikeout with RISP. As long as the team wins, I could care less the length of the game