08/19/12 1:55 PM ET
Youth helps Cubs notch elusive road win
By Mark Clements / MLB.com
Chicago is 17-44 away from the Windy City, but managed to scrape out a win Saturday night at Cincinnati -- its first road win in its past 10 attempts.
"I think it's one thing that's very difficult to do in baseball, for some reason, is nowadays to win on the road," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "All the best teams, and even some of the teams that are good are still under .500 on the road. Obviously ours is still far and above that. I think veteran teams seem to do it."
"Veteran" is a word not often associated with the Cubs this season, and Saturday night's victory was bolstered by the efforts of the youngsters in the clubhouse.
The nine runs began with Brett Jackson's first career home run, backing starter Brooks Raley in his first career win.
"Obviously I've never played [in Cincinnati] before and that was a big crowd," Raley said after his benchmark win. "I was trying to handle all the emotions of taking each pitch as it comes."
Sveum is hoping the younger Cubs, who could be a big part of the organization's future going forward, are taking their road blows early to lay the groundwork for later success.
"You have to find the same enthusiasms you do at home," Sveum said. "I don't know what reasons are, or what. It's a strange thing. It's hard to explain. There's no rhyme or reason."
Raley tabbed for another start in Cubs' rotation
CINCINNATI -- Some fresh faces could soon be leaving their mark in Chicago in the coming weeks as the season begins to draw to a close.
Brooks Raley has made just three starts this season, but notched the first win career in the night portion of Saturday's doubleheader, earning him another outing in the Cubs' showdown with the Rockies on Aug. 25.
"[Raley] will be here," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "He'll probably start again on Saturday. Raley has done a good job."
But Raley, who was designated to Triple-A Iowa again Sunday, isn't the only name Chicago should become familiar with.
Sveum said Sunday that southpaw Chris Rusin may be called in to start Tuesday in Milwaukee.
"Rusin is obviously a guy that we're thinking about, and we've got to make a decision who's going to start on Tuesday. There's a good chance it might be him," Sveum said. "We'll probably make that decision sometime [Sunday] after the game."
Rusin, 8-8 with a 4.94 ERA in 24 starts this season for Iowa, is not on the Cubs 40-man roster, which means a roster move would have to be made.
"If he's going to get a longer look, he's going to have to replace somebody, or go with six guys in September or something like that," Sveum said. "We have to decide what we're going to do."
Cubs fans have already gotten a glimpse of what the future may hold at the top of the rotation with righty Jeff Samardzija, who is on the verge of completing his first season as a full-time starter.
Samardzija, 27, said he is embracing the leadership role he is sure to have in the coming seasons.
"Obviously, it's got to take place on the field, but you can also show them that you're that guy in between your starts with your work ethic and how into each game you are, and things like that," said Samardzija, who is 8-11 with a 4.17 ERA. "I just want to be consistent with them so they can see from Day 1 to Day 162, 'Hey, this guy was the same guy every day. He came out strong, he did his work and we're going to expect a lot out of him in the future.'"
Sveum reveals Castillo nursing sore foot
CINCINNATI -- After Saturday afternoon's loss to the Reds, Cubs manager Dale Sveum made a comment in passing about Welington Castillo's inability to run.
Turns out the first-year skipper wasn't making a slight at his 5-foot-10, 210-pound catcher, but Castillo has actually been nursing a sore foot since Wednesday.
"He woke up with a really sore, tender foot to put any pressure on it," Sveum said. "The off-day, he really was struggling. He couldn't really walk on it. Friday it was really, really tender again."
Castillo still played in the first half of Saturday's doubleheader, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, but was left out of Saturday night's lineup as well as Sunday's.
Sveum said Castillo was "a lot better" Sunday, and hopes his 25-year-old catcher will return to action soon.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum gave first baseman Anthony Rizzo a standard day off Sunday, hoping the 23-year-old can clear his head before the team's trip to Milwaukee.
"It's just time," Sveum said. "You see a little bit of frustration going on and stuff, so it's just to let him for the first time just kick back and take a breather and be ready for the Milwaukee series."
After starting off hot, boosting his batting average up to .386, Rizzo has been in a slower decline but is still hitting .290 with nine homers and 26 RBIs.
Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.