Cubs

Done for season, Colvin remains in stable condition

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Done for season, Colvin remains in stable condition

Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Updated 5:41 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

MIAMI -- This was a drowsy Sunday afternoon, 88 degrees at first pitch and a sea of empty orange seats at a football stadium just off the Florida Turnpike.

And then the jagged edge of a broken maple bat impaled Tyler Colvin just above his heart, a freak accident that left the Cubs outfielder in stable condition, and could have been much worse if not for a matter of inches.

Colvin was transported to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he will remain for the next few days to undergo a battery of tests for pneumothorax. He was hooked up to a chest tube to help keep his lung from collapsing.

The 25-year-old will not leave the hospital until he receives a normal chest X-ray. His rookie season is now over. There was minimal external bleeding, and the depth of the wound was not immediately clear, according to a Cubs spokesman.

"It was scary," Marlins catcher Mike Rivera said. "It looked like when a person gets stabbed."

Colvin was running down the third-base line during the second inning of a 13-3 victory over the Florida Marlins as Welington Castillo's double sailed toward Sun Life Stadium's left-field wall.

The bat splintered and punctured Colvin's chest cavity, which allowed air into his chest wall and potentially into his lungs. He didn't labor to breathe -- it just looked that way to at least one teammate who immediately knew something was wrong.

Jeff Samardzija saw a dazed Colvin sort of smile on his way back to the dugout.

"It was wild," Samardzija said. "I thought he was fine. I thought we were just kind of joking around, but I just saw a little something on his shirt. I said, 'Hey, you should probably get inside.'"

Castillo, who played with Colvin in the minors, didn't know what happened and only saw him grab his chest.

"I feel really bad about it and I hope he's getting better," Castillo said. "It wasn't my fault. I didn't hit him on purpose. That's baseball."

Increasingly maple bats are a part of baseball and there's strong anecdotal evidence to suggest how easily they break apart, and how dangerous they can be. Two years ago with the Colorado Rockies, Jeff Baker watched one slice home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora and vowed to only use ash bats.

"That's the danger of a maple bat and thank goodness that (Colvin's) ok," Baker said. "I saw an umpire get slashed on the neck in Kansas City and it's just not worth it to me. I don't want that on my conscience if something happens."

It came as a shock on a getaway day that began with the Cubs in a very good mood. Mike Quade (16-7) was informed that he was off to the best start by a Cubs manager through 23 games since Charlie Grimm (18-5) in 1932.

The veterans knew they were getting the day off and were able to enjoy South Florida's nightlife and sleep in the next morning. Sunday's lineup featured seven players who spent most of this season at Triple-A Iowa with Ryne Sandberg, one of several candidates trying to angle for Quade's job.

"The hell with the 'B' team every one of these guys has earned the right," Quade said before the game. "These are opportunities to be part of the 'A' team next year or whatever the hell you want to call it."

Auditioning for the 2011 rotation, Samardzija threw six innings to earn the win. Castillo hit the first home run of his big-league career. Brad Snyder notched his first hit in the majors, a two-run single up the middle. The Cubs (68-81) got the three-game sweep they were looking for -- and completed the first 8-1 road trip in club history -- but it came at a price.

"It really puts things in perspective -- things are flying around 90-plus mph," Samardzija said. "It's just the nature of the beast. (You) get used to it after awhile and things like this kind of open your eyes back up."

Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Are Cubs feeling drained? The clubhouse is divided

Are Cubs feeling drained? The clubhouse is divided

For the second straight week, Kyle Schwarber halted his postgame media scrum to get something off his chest.

Standing at his locker — the same spot he stood exactly a week prior — the Cubs slugger got about as forceful as he's ever been with the cameras rolling.

Are the Cubs drained right now?

"Never. Nope. Not at all," Schwarber said. "I'll shut you down right there — we're not running out of gas at all."

Really? 

You gotta admire Schwarber's grit. He's got that linebacker/football mentality still locked and loaded in mid-October after a brutal first three games of the NLCS.

But...come on. The Cubs aren't drained? They're not tired or weary or mentally fatigued?

Schwarber says no, but it doesn't look that way on the field. They look like the high point of the season was that epic Game 5 in D.C. It was one of the craziest baseball games ever played, very reminsicent of Game 7 in last year's World Series.

Only one thing: Game 7 was the ultimate last game. They left it all on the field and that was cool because there was no more season left. Last week's wacky contest wasn't the final game of the season. It was just the final game of the FIRST series of the postseason.

So if the Cubs aren't feeling any weariness — emotional, physical, mental or otherwise — they must be superhuman.

Yet Anthony Rizzo — the face of the franchise — backed Schwarber's sentiment.

"I'm 28 years old right now," Rizzo said. "I could run laps around this place right now. I've got a great job for a living to play baseball.

"We have a beautiful life playing baseball. You gotta keep that in perspective. So if you wanna try to get mentally tired, realize what we're doing."

Rizzo talked that talk, but his performance on the field has hit a wall. After his "Respect Me!" moment in Game 3 of the NLDS, Rizzo went hitless in his next 16 at-bats before a harmless single Tuesday night. He then struck out in his final trip to the plate.

Bryzzo's other half — Kris Bryant — actually took the opposite stance of his teammates.

"Yeah, [that Washington series] was pretty draining, I think," Bryant admitted. "Some good games there that I think were pretty taxing for our bullpen and pitchers, too. 

"Kinda expect that around this time of year. The games mean a lot."

It's not surprising to hear those words from Bryant. In fact, it wouldn't even be mildly shocking to hear every player in the clubhouse share the same point of view.

The Cubs played all the way past Halloween last fall, then hit the town, having epic celebrations, going on TV shows, having streets named after them, etc. 

Then, before you know it, there's Cubs Convention again. And shortly after that, pitchers and catchers report. 

From there, the "title defense" season began, featuring a lackluster first half and a second half that took a tremendous amount of energy just to stave off the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and get into the postseason.

Oh yeah, and then that series with the Nationals where the Cubs squeaked out a trio of victories by the slimest of margins.

These Cubs have never really had anything resembling a break. 

However, they're now just one game away from getting that rest they so badly need (and deserve).

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist breaks down how Dodgers pitching has made Cubs offense disappear

Ben Zobrist didn’t look for any deeper meaning in Kyle Schwarber’s first-inning homer off Yu Darvish on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, or hope that one swing could change the entire momentum of this National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Zobrist knows what it takes to win in October, the Cubs identifying him as the missing piece to their lineup after he helped transform the 2015 Kansas City Royals into a championship team, and then getting a World Series MVP return on their $56 million investment.

That “Schwarbomb” turned out to be fool’s gold, the only run the Cubs would score in front of a quiet, low-energy crowd of 41,871, the defending champs one more loss away from golfing/hunting/fishing/signing autographs at memorabilia shows.

“That was great to get a homer, but I’d rather see some hits strung together,” Zobrist said after a sloppy 6-1 loss, standing at his locker for almost 10 minutes, answering questions in the underground clubhouse. “I’d like to see a couple doubles together, a few singles, three or four hits in an inning. We just haven’t done that.

“That’s what makes rallies. They’ve stayed away from those kinds of innings. That’s why they’re ahead right now.”

Darvish – Jake Arrieta’s replacement in the 2018 rotation? – canceled out the two singles he allowed in the first inning by getting two of his seven strikeouts and answering some of the questions about how he would respond to all the pressure in October.

Darvish – a trade-deadline acquisition that had echoes of Theo Epstein’s “If not now, when?” explanation for last year’s Aroldis Chapman trade – walked one of the 25 batters he faced and pitched into the seventh inning before handing the game over to a lights-out bullpen.

“There’s nothing that we didn’t see beforehand on video,” Zobrist said. “It’s just a matter of we need him to make more mistakes, and we got to take advantage of those mistakes when he makes them.

“When he got to 3-2 counts, he wasn’t throwing a heater. He was throwing the cutter, and it’s a tough pitch to hit. You have to sit on it, and even then it’s got good movement to it. He kept us off-balance.”

Forward-thinking manager Dave Roberts is at the controls of a Los Angeles bullpen that can match up against right- and left-handed hitters, target locations, unleash upper-90s velocity, execute the elevated fastball that messes with eye levels and lean on All-Star closer Kenley Jansen for multiple innings.

The Dodger relievers essentially put together a no-hitter that lasted nine-plus innings across Games 1, 2 and 3. Together, they have pitched 10.2 scoreless innings, facing 36 batters and allowing two hits and a walk and hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch.

“They kept the ball on the edges and kept us off-balance,” Zobrist said. “They’re not throwing the pitch in the middle of the plate when we need them to. They’re keeping it on the edges and those are hard (to hit). When you got guys with good stuff on the mound, you need them to make some mistakes for you, or at least start walking some guys.

“When they’ve gotten in those situations with a three-ball count, they’re still making the pitch when they need to. They’re not walking many guys – and we are.

“That’s why they’re up 3-nothing.”

Zobrist (4-for-23 this postseason) is now more of a part-time player/defensive replacement, no longer the switch-hitting force who dropped the bunt at Dodger Stadium that helped end the 21-inning scoreless streak during last year’s NLCS.

Zobrist insisted the Cubs are still all there mentally, not checked out after a grueling first round against the Washington Nationals and a brutal walk-off loss in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. He owns two World Series rings and one has the Cubs logo and this inscription: “We Never Quit.”

“We keep it loose all the time,” Zobrist said. “We know what’s at stake. And we don’t shy away from it. We look forward to the challenge ahead. It would be a great story for us to be able to come back in this series and win this series.

“We make adjustments, we take advantage of mistakes and we come out with a victory tomorrow. That’s what we have to do.”