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Friday, June 21, 2013
Starlin Castro struggling but positive

By Rob Rains
Special to ESPNChicago.com

ST. LOUIS -- Another hitless night left Starlin Castro disappointed, but not discouraged.

“It’s tough, man,” the struggling shortstop said after the Chicago Cubs lost 6-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. “But I keep my mind positive. I am going to get 700 at-bats [for the season], and I am only at 200 now. There is four months left. I have to keep aggressive and keep playing hard and see what happens.”

Castro went 0-for-4 in the game and finished the four games against the Cardinals 1-for-16. He was 4-for-30 on the seven-game road trip, and his average in June dropped to .127 (9-of-71) in 18 games.

Starlin Castro
Starlin Castro went 0-for-4 Thursday and finished the four-game series against the Cardinals 1-for-16.
After striking out in his first two at-bats Thursday night, Castro had a chance to deliver a big blow when he came to bat with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth against St. Louis starter Lance Lynn.

The Cardinals were ahead only 2-1 at that point, and Castro worked the count to 2-2 before fouling out to Yadier Molina to end the inning and the Cubs’ last threat of the night.

“I was just trying to see one pitch and hit it,” Castro said. “They’ve got pretty good pitching. The guy tonight [Lynn] is a little sneaky, and I’ve got to get on top of it. It didn’t happen.”

Manager Dale Sveum said the lack of offense pretty much summed up the series, in which the Cubs lost three of the four games. They scored a total of eight runs in the four games, four coming in one inning Tuesday night, the only game the Cubs won.

“We knew it was going to be tough to score runs here, and, obviously, it was,” Sveum said. “We didn’t swing the bats at all. We got five hits today and seven hits in two games. Seven hits in two games is not going to win many ballgames.

“We never put any threats together. Today we weren’t very aggressive -- 14 first-pitch fastball takes. That’s not really taking it to them when you are doing that.”

Castro was not alone in going hitless. The second through sixth hitters in the lineup were a combined 1-for-20, the only hit a single by Anthony Rizzo in the ninth.

“I’m working hard every day, and I know I can get out of this,” Castro said. “When I get out, it’s going to be good for the rest of the season.”

Sveum wants to see the whole team break out, and the sooner the better.

“He [Castro] is not the lone ranger in all of this,” Sveum said. “There’s not a whole lot of hitting going on.”