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Just when you expected it to get worse, it did.
* "The Chicago Cubs thought they were catching a break earlier this month when they didn't face Los Angeles Dodgers co-aces Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw in a four-game series," Mark Gonzales reports for the Tribune.
* "He's everywhere. He's good in that (No. 8) spot. You can use him in the top of the order too. He's a really good No. 8 hitter."
That's Dale Sveum talking about Darwin Barney (.217/.271/.327).
The shot of the #Cubs bench laughing at their own team's misfortune was a thing. I won't beat them up for it, but somebody will. I'm sure.— Dan Bernstein (@dan_bernstein) August 26, 2013
* And for old times' sake; you can take the Cub out of Chicago . . .
The Week in Review: The Cubs lost three of four to the Nationals, two of three to the Cardinals, and the opener in LA on Monday night in their drive for a top three draft pick. It's a real crosstown classic.
Week in Preview: Two more in LA than a day off to regroup before Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies come into town. Management gets another distracting storyline.
The Second Basemen Report: Can't the Cubs just give Darwin Barney the rest of the season off? Tell him to come back fresh in the spring. It's just too painful to watch. Six-for-24 on the week and it would've been uglier than that if he didn't pull a 3-for-4 game against the Padres out of his ass. (He went 0-for-3 last night against Zack Greinke so he's off to a typical start this week.) He left another 10 men on base and was moved to the 8-hole. His slash line is .217/.271/.327. Like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, he suddenly can't hit a fastball - or any ball.
The Third Basemen Report: Or . . . The Legend of Donnie Murphy.
Smurphy only hit four home runs this week so, you know, whatever. He went 8-for-25 and moved into the clean-up spot until notching an 0-for-6 in the finale against the Padres, leaving six men on. That sent his .3teensomething batting average tumbling to .284 but the rest of his slash line remains tremendous: .361/.662/1.024. Smurphy!
And the press rolled in:
* Gonzalez, Trib: Murphy's Star-Crossed Career.
* Karabell, ESPN: Murphy Continues To Surprise.
* McGrath, S-T: Murphy Making Most Of His Opportunity.
* Rogers, ESPNChicago: 'Donnie Baseball' Delivers Again.
* Miles, DH: Murphy Powers His Way Into Cubs' Picture.
* Nowak, MLB.com: Murphy On An Impressive Power Tear For Cubs.
Enjoy it, Cubs fans, because Donnie Baseball might not even have a job in the majors next year.
Wishing Upon A Starlin: Starlin Castro was finally returned to the leadoff spot, where he should've been all along, and that's where he got his five hits last week. Unfortunately, that meant he went 5-for-33 - with another 10 men left on base. His slash line is .238/.276/.333 and he has just 32 RBI and eight stolen bases. Worse, he's become Corey Patterson - the guy listening to too many voices because he doesn't know who he is and was never properly developed, because Cubs.
So is Castro part of the core? No. There is no core. Castro could still have a great major-league career ahead of him, but it isn't likely to be with the Cubs. Castro is a Hendry guy - all tools, no head. Theo Epstein never would have signed him; not his kind of player. The long-term contract locks him up on team-friendly conditions, which only makes him easy to move when the time comes.
The Legend of Dioner Navarro: When is your No. 3 hitter a less-than part-time player? When you're the Cubs. Dale Sveum must've asked himself what he was doing with his life when he wrote Dioner into the lineup in the 3-hole, but you could hardly blame him. Darnell McDonald? Besides, Dioner went 1-for-2 with a HR, three RBI and two walks out of the primest spot in a batting order to start the week, which only earned him two days in a row on the bench. He returned to go 5-for-15 out of the spot over the next three games, though he only notched one more RBI in that time.
Enjoy it now, Cubs fans, because like Donnie Murphy, Navarro will be looking for a job next year.
Mad Merch: Donnie Smurfs.
Laughable Headline of the Week: Cubs On Pace To Avoid another 100-Loss Season.
Deserted Cubs: Campy!
Tony Campana broke the speed limit: http://t.co/ULN76TLeHj— MLB (@MLB) August 25, 2013
Former Hot Prospect Watch: Former first-round draft pick Brett Jackson has been demoted to Tennessee. He is hitting .197.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Nate Schierholtz continue to be undervalued.
Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow moves another hour toward midnight at 9:30 p.m. due to extreme embarrassment with the lineups he's had to write out the last few weeks. But just like his Uncle Lou, Dale knows that the answers he's writing down aren't right, but they're the ones he has to supply if he's to keep his job.
Shark Tank: "Jeff Samardzija was named National League co-player of the week with Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez for the period ending Sunday," Gonzales reports.
"Samardzija was 2-0 with 12 strikeouts and only three runs allowed in 17 innings in wins over Washington and San Diego.
"Samardzija is the first Cubs player to win the award since Ryan Dempster in June of 2012. Samardzija is only the third Cubs pitcher to win the honor in the past 10 seasons. Carlos Zambrano won the award in September of 2008 after pitching a no-hitter at Milwaukee."
The guy's still competing, give him that.
Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of Hot Dog Races.
Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til
next year 2015 2016 2017.
Over/Under: Cubs wins the rest of the season: +/- 7.
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that it's a long season when you live in Chicago.
The Cub Factor: Unlike
Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.