Villanueva Has Strong Start for Cubs

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The Cubs deserve a much needed day off today after an 8-3 dismantling of the woeful Phillies. Everything went right for the Cubs in the victory. Ryan Kalish collected three RBI’s, Emilio Bonifacio continued his quest to represent the Cubs at the All Star game and Carlos Villanueva had a stellar day on the mound for the Northsiders.

Now the bad news. Starlin Castro. He’s slowly playing a better game but his error on a chance for a double play, but bobbled the ball and the Phillies loaded the bases. These are things that can be fixed. If Rick Renteria hasn’t started pulling his hair out yet, he might start to.

Emilio Bonifacio made a nice grab and leap proving he’s no slouch on defence.

“That went from a moment of head down to a very excited, ‘I can’t believe we had somebody play there,'” Villanueva said of Bonifacio’s play in the fifth. “The inning before, we make an error, and the next inning, we have somebody there. It’s a crazy game. Today it worked for us. Sometimes you’re upset at the shift, sometimes nobody complains.”

In fact, it was hugs all around when Rick Renteria hugged Villanueva after his performance. I believe this is the right attitude the Cubs have to have in the dugout. Maybe not so much a huggy feely type, I mean C’mon, those, “Lovable losers” is going way too far, but maybe a positive feeling might help with player’s morale this season because as we know, this one’s going to be a very long one for sure.

“He’s a big hugger,” Villanueva said of the rookie manager. “He worked his magic on me.”

Jose Veras struggled in the closer role and almost cost it for the Cubs. It happens, at least this early in the season, but I’d prefer Pedro Strop in that role.

—Mark

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