Cubs’ Sveum still steamed, but failed sac fly “by no means Starlin’s fault”Continue reading.
Baseball fight “unfortunate” but hard to police: Sveum
Baseball fights like the one between Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke and San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin are rare and “unfortunate” but sometimes difficult to preempt, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.
“I know Greinke [who pitched with the Milwaukee Brewers] and it’s unfortunate. It seems a long time since someone charged a mound. It’s unfortunate someone got hurt. It’s just unfortunate with tempers and even history between players that sometimes it happens.”
Greinke, a former Cy Young Award winner with the Kansas City Royals and under a multi-year contract for $147 million, could miss as much as six weeks with a broken collarbone. He was injured when San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charged the mound after being hit by a pitch, a bench clearing brawl erupting.
“A guy you paid a lot to and plan on going out there every five days to start, and now probably will miss 6 weeks,” Sveum said. “It’s just unfortunate with tempers and even history between people, sometimes it happens.
“It doesn’t happen that much anymore because of suspensions and all that. But those things are such a spontaneous, thing it’s not pre-planned.”
Starlin Castro couldn’t wait for Friday’s game against the San Francisco Giants and a chance to redeem the costly error he committed on Thursday.
“That’s the part I love about this game,” he said. “Every day is a new day.”
Not only a new day for Castro, who homered in the fifth before hitting the winning double in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off 4-3 victory, but for closer Kyuji Fujikawa.
He saw baseball fate turn in one inning.
Fujikawa suffered his first blown save in a terrible ninth, giving up three runs to erase a 2-0 Cubs lead, then got his first victory when Dioner Navarro hit his first pinch hit homer to tie the game before Castro drove home David DeJesus with the winning run, all off Giants closer Sergio Romo (0-1).
“Losing Thursday was tough because we had a 5-0 lead and then lost,” said Castro, whose error in that game started a four-run inning. “That’s why I tried to be more relaxed today.”
Castro and the Cubs were sound in the field, led by a second stellar outing by starter Carlos Villanueva. He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings of no-run ball and was in line for his first victory on the strength of Castro’s fifth inning homer and one from DeJesus in the third–the first for each player.
But the last three outs were as difficult for Fujikawa (1-0) as they have been for Carlos Marmol–and as they turned out to be for Romo.
Fujikawa gave up three hits, a wild pitch and hit a batter before it was over with the Giants ahead 3-2.
Yet he ended up getting a congratulatory beer shower from his teammates for his first victory.
“I told his translator `tell him I believe in him and we all believe in him and he’ll be fine,’ ” Villanueva said. “He feels bad, you can tell, but that’s why we’re teammates. We love him and we know he’ll do well.
“Personal stats will come,” he added of still being winless despite a sparkling 0.64 ERA. “But the atmosphere in our clubhouse, I wouldn’t change it.”
Fujikawa is learning about that team culture as he wrestles with improving his command.
“I really appreciate my teammates having my back, and to answer it, I have to get my confidence and come back tomorrow,” he said. “It’s my first time pitching in this league, but it’s definitely a tough job.”
If all’s well that ends well, it was as much because the Cubs played clean baseball.
The Cubs didn’t have an error and issued only one walk, both key factors for a team that entered the game leading the National League in both categories.
“The formula for winning doesn’t come into play when you’re leading the league in walks and errors,” manager Dale Sveum said.
“Probably half our errors are because of pure unawareness about how much time we had to make a play,” Sveum said, adding the mental part of the game continues to be Castro’s challenge.
“We talk all the time about slowing the game down, but when we say slow the game down, we don’t mean make the ball go slower or the pitch go slower.
“It means how can you in your mind, before the ball is hit to you, go over situations in your head? How can you slow the game down in your mind to go over all the scenarios that can happen?”
Castro may be getting the hang of that now.
“You can be a hero,” he said. “You just have to keep playing hard.”