CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs' loss Friday featured an ugly inning, one of the sloppiest single plays of the year and a cringe-worthy baserunning miscue to top off a head-scratching day.
When they said the Cubs were in development mode, nobody suggested it was going to be this bad.
In the third inning alone, the Cubs had fielding errors in the infield from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Josh Vitters and shortstop Starlin Castro in that order. That starting pitcher Justin Germano gave up only three runs while having to get six outs was an accomplishment in itself.
The sixth inning might have been worse than the third. In the top of the sixth, catcher Welington Castillo misfired a ball to second base as Drew Stubbs was attempting a steal. The ball was nowhere near Castro on the bag, got past second baseman Darwin Barney, who was backing up the play and then squirted past center fielder Brett Jackson.
Castillo and Jackson were given errors on the play, while Stubbs scored.
“I don’t attribute them to anything,” manager Dale Sveum said of the errors. “We’ve played a pretty good defense all season long. Sometimes things like that happen. Sometimes you take things for granted or whatever. But there is no rhyme or reason why they all happen in one day or three in an inning and five to five different guys.”
In the bottom half of the inning things got interesting again. Castro hit a bloop single to right feld, nearly getting thrown out when he took a big turn around the first-base bag. He was thrown out at third base moments later after a single from Vitters.
While approaching second base, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips held up his glove as if he was taking a throw from third base. Confused, Castro stopped running before starting up again and easily getting thrown out at third base.
Castro in particular seems to be struggling in all phases of his game. He has been struggling at the plate, hasn’t looked good in the field lately and now he’s falling prey to one of the oldest tricks an infielder can pull on a base runner.
Sveum was asked of Castro’s recent offensive struggles are affecting other parts of his game.
“He hit a two-run double yesterday and a two-run double today,” Sveum said. “Whatever it is the lack of (focus) is still not there on a consistent basis in situations where you can’t make mistakes like that at all.”