This was the pitcher the Cubs traded for a year ago.
The Rich Harden who’s capable of setting down 16 straight batters with ease.
The Cubs needed this sweep of a down-and-out Reds club, and Harden delivered a gem!
What I equally love is Harden dismissing his home and away splits as ‘ridiculous.’
The numbers don’t always tell the whole story, as is the case this season with Rich, so why dwell on them?
Aramis is showing just how much one player can make a difference.
In 14 games since his return from the DL he’s 15-for-54 (.277) with three home runs and nine RBI, and doesn’t appear to be playing at full health yet, either.
Best of all, Ramirez’s hot-stick is relieving pressure off Derek Lee and Milton Bradley.
With Aramis back in the order the Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are a combined 16-for-32 (.500) with four home runs, 10 runs scored and 13 RBI in the last three games. Sweet!
And look what Soriano is doing from the sixth hole. He’s strung together an eight-game hitting streak going 14-for-32 (.437) with a couple of jacks.
I’m glad we can all laugh at Aaron Harang’s three-run tater.
The guy is probably the worst hitting pitcher in the NL, and there’s little doubt Wells won’t live it down for awhile!
The Cubs could use a good laugh, however, with the Cards adding Matt Holliday earlier in the afternoon.
St. Louis is looking scary good with its newest additions of Julio Lugo and Holliday. Not to mention, Troy Glaus is nearing a return to the lineup as well.
Those moves now return the pressure back on the Cubs, and this begs the question whether Chicago needs to add another bat before July 31.
Talk about a grinder. Whew!
Alfonso Soriano’s game-winning blast in the 14 inning felt like a small miracle, and it may take another week for the Cubs to score six runs.
Although, you look at the big picture in this series and the Cubs win two of three–not bad.
Look closer, and its evident the Cubs can’t score with men on base–not good.
It’s one thing to not hit in April and May, but an entirely different matter not to be hitting in June.
The fear Chicago won’t turn the corner offensively feels real.
It’s not that the scoring opportunities haven’t been there. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Through two games this series Chicago is hitting 0-for-17 with RISP.
Three times Saturday the Cubs lead off an inning with a double–none scored.
It’s hard to stay mad at Big Z.
One moment he’s throwing a world class tantrum and missing the team’s plane. The next minute he’s unhittable through six innings and bopping the game-winning home run for good measure.
Now, Zambrano is declaring his retirement at the end of his contract (2012).
C’mon Z, there’s no way!
Not a chance Zambrano walks away from all the money or the chance to compete—he’s too passionate about the game to retire early.
Lucky win for the Cubs Friday night. You can’t go 0-10 with RISP and expect to win many games.
Let’s face it, without Zambrano’s 408-foot blast Chicago wastes another stellar outing from one of its starters.
The Cubs can’t keep doing this for much longer.
- Thursday July 10th – Wrigley Field
- Game (92): Reds 12 – Cubs 7
- Record (55-37) – 1st place NL Central
The skinny: The only thing that could cure today’s loss was a full dose of Pete’s Pizza.
Cool side note: while eating at Pete’s, Steve Wilkos – the former security guard on the Jerry Springer Show, now turned talk show host “The Steve Wilkos Show” – was sitting in the booth next to me.
And believe me when I tell you that the ex-marine is as large a human being as he appears on T.V.
Back to the Cubs, obviously it’s tough to overcome seven home runs.
And the real stinker is that Chicago plated seven runs of its own, more than enough to win a ballgame.
But, I’ll give Lilly a pass this afternoon on his shortest outing of the year 2.3 IP.
Besides, the guy’s been tremendous since starting the season (0-3) and entering today’s game he was 4-0 with a 3.12 ERA in his last six outings.
Still, Lilly’s never had a lot of success against Cincinnati either: 1-5, with about a 5.00 ERA in seven starts.
Although, I’m a little concerned about Ted’s overall record against the NL Central this year, he’s now 2-3 with an ERA hovering around 6.00.
That’s got to get better down the stretch.
Tough introduction for Gaudin, Ross belting a homer to left, his second blast of the day.
So, about the only thing to enjoy with today’s clunker was seeing Junior go deep for the 12th time this year, a three-run shot in the fourth against Wuertz and Mike Fontenot’s bat staying hot: 2-for-3 with a HR and 2 RBIs.
For the entire Reds series Little Babe Ruth went 4-for-6 with 2 HRs, 4 RBIs, 5 R and 3 BB.
Conversly, my boy Jim Edmonds has cooled off considerble lately: 1-for-10 with 2 BB for the homestand.
Anyway, the main thing is the Cubs took the series and help maintain its 4 G lead in the Central.
- Notes: This marks the second time this season the Reds have hit seven home runs against the Cubs (May 7th).
- The Cubs have not swept the Reds at home since May 22-24th 2001.
- Chicago missed its chance to win four straight since doing so June 8-12th.
- While dealing with multply injuries, in its last 22 games the Cubs are 10-12.
- However, during the past 45 days Chicago has maintained sole possesion of first place in the NL Central.
- Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are the first Cubs starters to post 10 wins before the All Star break since Rick Rueschel (12-3) and Ray Burris (10-9) managed the feat in 1977.
- Tuesday July 8th – Wrigley Field
- Game (90): Cubs 7 – Reds 3
- Record (54-36) – 1st place NL Central
The skinny: This evening I sat nine rows behind the Reds dugout at Wrigley.
You guessed it, these aren’t my season tickets, but it’s pays to have friends doesn’t it!
Anyway, it was a wonderful night all around; 82-degrees, beautiful sunset and Dempster notches his 10th win before the All Star break.
Something is definitely not right with the Reds’ right-hander Aaron Harang.
It’s pretty clear after Harang posted a career-high seven walks and allows the two home runs.
If you’re not already aware, Harang has developed into one of the best starting pitchers in baseball, until this year, of course.
Which, brings to the surface obvious concerns about his health considering his awful (3-11) record in ’08.
Just looking at Harang’s numbers from the past three seasons says the ol’ throwing arm is hurting.
- 2005 – (11-13) – 211 IP, 163 K
- 2006 – (16-11) – 234 IP, 216 K
- 2007 – (16-6) – 231 IP, 218 K
Maybe all the innings are finally catching up to the hoss?
After all, he’s averaged 225 IP during this span, now that’s a lot of work!
Reds fans are pointing the blame Dusty, and I’m one of them too.
Why Baker threw Harang in relief for 4.1 innings during the Reds’ 12-9, 18-innings loss at San Diego on Sunday May 25th is beyond me.
Seriously, Aaron previously started the series’ opener three days earlier tossing 103 pitches against the Pads.
Worse, Harang’s relief outing also marked the third time the tall right-hander threw in eight days.
Now there’s rumblings Harang might be headed for Tommy John surgery before the end of the regular season.
Are Harang’s difficulties Dusty’s fault? Partly, yeah.
Look, I’m a Dusty guy, but throwing Aaron in the S.D. game was DUMB!!!
You can’t be careless with your staff ace.
The Reds are still a year away from truly competing, and that’s only if they have a healthy Harang.
And, as far as I’m concerned, Dusty jepordized next year…not smart, not good.
On the other hand, Dempster dominated again at home.
The only offense Cincinnati mustered off the former Reds is what Dempster handed them in the fourth, one single and three free passes while walking in a run.
Other than his one bad inning, Ryan allowed just two hits while striking out five.
Don’t overlook the defense behind Dempster tonight either.
Jerry Hairston Jr. was robbed of a hit on three occasions: Ramirez twice and Theriot once.
Plus, Edmonds made a fine defensive stab in center during the first.
Brandon Phillips is the most gifted second baseman defensively in the NL, he turned in two more gems tonight.
Things I overheard in the seats this evening:
- Dunn, get off the field you big lug!
- And, I love that Marmol enters the game to the song “Rubberband Man,” how fitting.
Things I saw at the game:
- Inebriated Reds fan in the front row taking off his shirt in unleashing the hairiest belly I’ve seen this side of Bigfoot.
- Two elderly men googling over a busty cougar.
- Griffey sharing a conversation between innings over the dugout with both Reds and Cubs fans.
- Notes: In his last eight home starts Dempster is 7-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
- The right-hander is also the first Cubs pitcher since Rick Reuschel in 1977 to win his first 10 decisions at home.
- Speaking of 1977, that’s the last time the Cubs won 54 games before the All Star break.
- The Cubs are 34-10 at Wrigley.
- Mike Piazza holds the rookie record for home runs by a catcher with 18 in 1993 with the Dodgers; Geovany Soto hit his 16th of the season this evening.
- CSI’s John Peterson sang the stretch.