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updated: 4/11/2014 11:44 PM

Castillo saves Cubs' brutal bullpen

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  • Cubs' Mike Olt (30) scores on a single by Nate Schierholtz as St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina (4) waits for an off-target throw in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 11, 2014, in St. Louis.

      Cubs' Mike Olt (30) scores on a single by Nate Schierholtz as St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina (4) waits for an off-target throw in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 11, 2014, in St. Louis.
    Associated Press

  • Chicago Cubs' Ryan Sweeney follows through on an RBI single in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, April 11, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

      Chicago Cubs' Ryan Sweeney follows through on an RBI single in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, April 11, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

 
 

One of these days, Jeff Samardzija is going to get what he deserves.

A trade away from the Cubs? Well, maybe that.

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But how about a victory? The way Samardzija's luck has been going in the first two weeks of the season, that might be a long time in coming.

Samardzija, the ace of the Cubs pitching staff, tossed his third straight quality start Friday night at Busch Stadium. Just when it seemed he would get his first victory of the year, closer Jose Veras blew a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning allowing the Cardinals to tie the game.

The Cubs eventually won the game 6-3 as Welington Castillo crushed a 3-run homer off Trevor Rosenthal in the 11th inning. Second-year man Hector Rondon worked the bottom of the inning to earn his first major-league save, withi Justin Grimm earning the victory.

Samardzija has made 3 starts and has posted a stingy 1.29 ERA. All he has to show for it is a loss and 2 no-decisions.

That's what happens when a team's offense doesn't do much and/or it has a leaky bullpen. Samardzija has been the victim of both in April.

In Friday night's game, the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Yadier Molina's RBI single.

Things stayed that way until the seventh, when Ryan Sweeney's run-scoring single tied the game. Samardzija worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh before the Cubs took their 3-1 lead in the eighth, on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rizzo and a single by Nate Schierholtz, who had 4 hits.

Pedro Strop held the Cards in the eighth, setting the stage for Veras. Veras' line in the ninth was an ugly one: 1 hit, 1 walk and 2 hit batters, as the Cardinals ended up tying it on a sacrifice fly by Matt Carpenter.

The Cubs signed Veras this past off-season, marking the second winter in a row they went after a veteran closer. Before last season, they signed Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal out of Japan, but he came down with elbow problems, which lead to surgery.

With the Cubs having been in a major rebuilding mode since Theo Epstein took over as team president in the fall of 2011, it's fair to wonder why this front office has spent the money on older closers when cheaper -- and most likely no less ineffective -- options always seem to be readily available.

If Veras continues to be ineffective, the Cubs could turn to any combination of Strop, Grimm or Rondon to get them through this season.

It couldn't be much worse.

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