miCubs Monday

By Jordan Bernfield         Follow @miCubs and @JordanBernfield on Twitter.

  1. NEWS AND NOTES: Predictably, the weekend didn't go well for the Cubs, who once again dropped three of four games to the Reds in Cincinnati, just as they did last weekend at Wrigley Field.  Their only win came in the second game of a double header Saturday night, a game in which the Reds started Todd Redmond, essentially sacrificing the contest.  Sunday, despite pitching decently, Chris Volstad couldn't find a way to win. That extends his winless streak to 24 consecutive starts.  The club made a minor roster move yesterday, acquiring LHP Alex Hinshaw from San Diego off waivers.  In a corresponding move, Arodys Vizcaino was moved to the 60-day disabled list.  Hinshaw went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 relief appearances for the Padres this season, his first big league work since 2009.  Obviously, it's not a high-impact move, as the 29 year old is merely just an additional arm with little track record of which to speak. 
  2. WEEK IN REVIEW: Before their series loss in Cincinnati, the Cubs won a three game series against the dumpster fire known to most as the Houston Astros.  As bad as the Cubs are, the Astros have ten more losses and eight fewer wins this season.  That's saying something.  The Cubs took care of business, winning two of three, as Jeff Samardzija and Justin Germano both pitched well with a Volstad loss sandwiched in between.  The Cubs road trip continues this week in Milwaukee as the two teams play a three game series beginning tonight.
  3. THIS WEEK: After this three game series with the Brewers, the Rockies visit Wrigley Field as the Cubs begin a ten game homestand this weekend.  The Cubs are off Thursday.
  4. STAT OF THE DAY:  Starlin Castro has 20 steals this season after recording 22 in 2011.  He's just the 6th Cubs shortstop to record multiple 20-steal seasons.  The others? Joe Tinker (11 times), Ivan DeJesus (5 times), Shawon Dunston (4 times), Ryan Theriot (3 times) and Charlie Hollocher (2 times).
  5. SABR STAT: Despite his 0-9 record, Chris volstad's peripheral statistics are better than you might expect.  His ERA reflects his record (6.88), but his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) stands at 4.36 while his xFIP is 4.38.
  6. THE QUOTE: Dale Sveum to the Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell on Brett Jackson this weekend: "Brett Jackson came a long way in this series.  He did a very nice job.  He had a double off Chapman there.  I think that shows you a little bit of the character, and hopefully there will be a lot more stuff like that coming form him."
  7. MINOR LEAGUE STAT: Cubs 2012 first round pick Albert Almora was recently promoted to short season single A Boise.  He's hitting .261 with two doubles and a home run in five games.
  8. PITCHING PROBABLES: Today's game features a less than sintilating match-up between Justin Germano (2-2 3.91) against Mark Rogers (0-1 4.94).  Tomorrow the Cubs have yet to officially announce a starter, but it appears Chris Rusin may get a shot against Marco Estrada (0-5 4.52).  Wednesday Travis Wood (4-9 4.83) throws opposite Yovani Gallardo (12-8 3.67).
  9. QUICK TAKE:  It was nice to see Brett Jackson hit his first big league homer and double off one of the most difficult pitchers in the league in Aroldis Chapman yesterday.  I'm hoping for the Cubs' sake (and Jackson's sake) that's a step in the right direction to give Jackson the confidence to improve.  So far, Jackson's .191 batting average and 24 strikeouts in 47 at-bats is completely unacceptable, but it might take a couple of hits like he got this weekend to get him going.  This should be pointed out: he's seeing 4.59 pitches per plate appearance, which is an outstanding total.  He just needs to learn how to make consistent contact in the major leagues. If he does, he's the kind of player Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer would like.  But until he learns, he's...well...not.