The Cubs are heading to Cincinnati this week, so expect them to step up the drumbeat for Darwin Barney to win his second Gold Glove.
The Cincinnati part has meaning. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was unseated by Barney last year, and no doubt he will be campaigning to regain the award.
Contact information ( * required )
It says here Barney has a very good case for keeping the Gold Glove.
He showed why again in Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
On Norichika Aoki's hard-hit bouncer in the fourth, Barney moved quickly to his left to stab the ball and throw Aoki out. He also took charge on a popout, ranging toward the right-field line, something he has made routine the last couple of years.
"He hasn't done anything for anybody to take it away from him," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "He's had a heck of a year defensively again. The way he turns the double play, tough double plays and all that, (he's) the incumbent.
"Somebody has to take it away from him. I don't see anybody being able to take it away from him."
Entering Saturday's action, Barney led all the top second basemen in the National League in both traditional and advance metrics. Those second basemen include Phillips along with the Pittsburgh's Neil Walker and St. Louis' Matt Carpenter.
Barney had the fewest errors (4) and the highest fielding percentage (.993). In a stat called ultimate zone rating, which measures the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, Barney leads the pack by a wide margin.
He also leads in the advanced metric called defensive wins above replacement (dWAR).
Mixed bag for Arrieta:
The Cubs knew pretty much what they were getting when they obtained right-hander Jake Arrieta from Baltimore in the July 2 trade that sent pitcher Scott Feldman to the Orioles.
Arrieta has been a power pitcher with lively stuff but spotty command in his career.
It was all on display Saturday as he breezed through the first two innings without giving up a hit. Arrieta walked a batter and hit one in the third before the Brewers touched him for 4 runs in the fourth.
His line for the day was 5 innings, giving up 3 hits and 4 runs while walking three and striking out four.
"I had my opportunity," he said. "I just didn't make a pitch when I had to. It was right there for me to get out of that situation (in the fourth) with 1 run. I just didn't do a good enough job today."
Sveum has talked of fastball command for all his pitchers, including Arrieta.
"We talk about these power guys," Sveum said. "It's one inning. Somewhere along the line they lose it and start throwing scud fastballs, short fastballs and can't get back in the count and lose guys, not using their secondary pitches to get back in the count. Come back and haunt you."
Going out on a Lim:
When reliever Chang-Yong Lim entered the game in relief in the seventh inning, he became the 54th player used by the Cubs this season. That breaks the franchise record, set last year. Pitcher Scott Baker is scheduled to be the 55th player used when he starts Sunday.
Lim, 37, is the second-oldest player since at least 1901 to make his major-league debut with the Cubs (37 years, 3 months and 4 days). Joe Berry (37 years, 8 months, 22 days) made his big-league debut for the Cubs on Sept. 6, 1942.
Lim, whom the Cubs brought up from Class AAA Iowa this past week, walked one and gave up a hit in two-thirds of an inning. He is a veteran of pro ball in Korea and Japan.
"OK," was how Sveum summed it up. "Once again, he didn't have a lot of control, either. That seemed to be kind of the story of the day, really."