Steve Clevenger of the Chicago Cubs congratulates Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro after the win against the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Reds 6-1. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
The Cubs broke their six-game losing streak by defeating the Reds 6-1 at Wrigley Field Saturday afternoon, but you probably don't want to talk about that -- you're probably more interested in the talk that Marlon Byrd could soon be a member of the Boston Red Sox.
I'll get to that later. But first, I do think it's nice to be able to talk about a Cubs win, because we're probably not going to see all that many of those this season.
It didn't start well. Paul Maholm had a rough first inning, but got out of it allowing only one run. After that, though, he settled down and threw five more very solid innings, which could have been even better if not for two Starlin Castro errors, neither of which resulted in any run-scoring. Still -- Castro's got to do more work on his defense. Eventually, I suspect he'll be moved away from shortstop if he can't fix what's wrong.
Castro's offense -- nothing wrong with that. The wind knocked down a possible home run for him; it hit off the LF wall over Ryan Ludwick's head for a triple that drove in a run, and he also doubled and reached on an error.
The Cubs' 14-hit attack included three more hits from Steve Clevenger, and the Cubs are now 3-1 in games he's started. I'm not saying he can, or should, right now take over from Geovany Soto, but the Cubs have to find a way to get him in the lineup more often. So far, he's been a hitting machine and pitchers seem to have no problem throwing to him.
Darwin Barney also had three hits; David DeJesus and Joe Mather chipped in with two each. Tony Campana, who was recalled when Ryan Dempster was placed on the DL, singled in his first at-bat, but then dropped two catchable fly balls. Fortunately, neither led to a run being scored. Maybe I'm being too hard on him for the second one, which would have been a great diving catch, but the first one was a routine out.
Carlos Marmol, not in a save situation, had an uneventful ninth inning, which is also a good sign.
Randy Wells will be activated to start Sunday's game, and that's where we get into the Byrd trade talk. This likely was accelerated when Jason Repko was injured in Friday's Red Sox/Yankees game running into the wall chasing a Russell Martin drive.
Byrd really hasn't been the same as a hitter since he was hit in the face by Alfredo Aceves last May at Fenway Park. This isn't surprising; it's happened to many hitters after a beaning like that. It was clearly not intentional, but still, it has to make a hitter think differently afterward. Sammy Sosa was never quite the same after he was beaned by Salomon Torres early in the 2003 season. Byrd's hitting just .230 since then and is off to a horrid start.this year. Still, he plays hard, still is a decent defensive player and is reportedly good in the clubhouse.
I have heard multiple stories from multiple tweets, so we really don't know what's true until and unless this deal actually happens. Have heard that the Cubs will eat most or all of the deal and will receive recently DFA'd Michael Bowden in return (that, IMO, would be a great trade, getting a good young arm who could go right to the major league bullpen). Have also heard that the Red Sox might pick up the entire contract, but would send lesser prospects in return.
The Red Sox and Yankees are currently (as of the writing of this recap) playing, but don't play on Sunday until evening, so there would be plenty of time to finish this deal in time to get Byrd to Boston for that game.
There's one more thing. Heard that Anthony Rizzo was in Chicago today, in uniform before the game and signing autographs at the Kids Corral that the Cubs have on the field before each game (neither team took BP today). The plot thickens.