I couldn’t care less about the Cubs being rained out Sunday.
With all the pending bumps and bruises this club could use an extra off day, even with the Pirates in town.
Instead, I was more interested in watching the fighter jets fly over the city as part of the Chicago Air & Water show.
The rain, however, cancelled out the jets too.
Meanwhile, I can’t find a reason why Jeff Baker shouldn’t become the Cubs’ everyday second baseman.
Milton Bradley batting from the 2-hole isn’t as crazy as you might think.
In fact, it’s a page Piniella is borrowing from Tony La Russa.
As White Sox manager in 1983 La Russa moved a struggling Carlton Fisk into the two-slot.
Fisk, not surprisingly, balked at the move initially. He was, after all, a power hitter use to hitting from the three, four and five hole.
The move, however, worked in Fisk’s favor. After spending the early part of the season batting below .200, the catcher rebounded to hit .289 with 26 home runs, a career high at the time.
With Fisk once again thriving at the plate the White Sox went on to win the division by 20 games.
The similarities are there with Bradley, too.
Nothing cures a losing streak like the Pirates.
The Cubs, thankfully, get Pittsburgh eight more times this season–three on the road and five more in Chicago.
Anything short of finishing 6-2 against the Buccos is unacceptable, and a weekend sweep is hugely important for keeping pace with the red-hot Cardinals, as well.
Randy Wells is deserving of an All Star selection.
Of course, there’s a fat chance he’ll represent the Cubs in St. Louis, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worthy.
Had the guy been given any run support this season he’d have the number of wins to be legitimately considered.
Nonetheless, Wells has been simply terrific through 10 starts.
In exactly half his outings he’s lasted at least seven innings pitched.
He‘s also totaled 45 strikeouts vs. just 14 walks, and has managed to win three games in a row despite receiving a meek three or fewer runs of support in seven of 10 outings.
What stands out to me most about Wells, however, is his ability to keep the ball low in the strike zone. Of the 26 batters he faced Thursday, 12 were ground ball outs. That’s huge!
It seems the Cubs are not just treading water anymore, they’re submerged beneath it.
Specifically, the lineup is drowning in a hitting funk that rivals the Dead Ball Era.
Shutout by Ross Ohlendorf. Seriously?
Chicago’s three at-bats in the eighth after Theriot and Bradley reached second and third with no outs was pathetic.
Soriano goes down swinging, Fukudome looking, and Lee with a routine ground out to second.
Good teams come through in those situations. The Cubs, however, keep falling short.
Pittsburgh is the perfect opportunity for Chicago to get healthy in the standings.
Thankfully for the Cubs, the Central Division is the tightest in baseball. Only five games separate first from worst, and the Cubs are just 3.5 games back despite a sub .500 record.
To put that in perspective, all other division in baseball are separated by at least 10.5 games top to bottom.
Let’s be honest here, Carlos Zambrano and home plate umpire Mark Carlson are both at fault.
No question Carlson walked into Z initiating contact. He clearly wanted Zambrano tossed from the game and knew a quick brush up would set the stage for an ejection.
However, Carlos’ childish fit-throwing isn’t excusable either.
I’m not a Zambrano apologist. His outbursts are ridiculous, and getting tiresome.
There’s no reason Z can’t play with emotion and act as a professional when hundreds of players around him do it daily.
It’s time for someone in the Cubs organization to grab Zambrano around the collar to get the message across–GROW UP!
Eight times the Cubs have been sub .500 this season. A bit of surprising news for a club expected to win the Central in a landslide.
Of course, they’re the many injuries to blame, but this still isn’t a .500 club, let alone one that should fall sub .500 eight times–they’re much better than 22-22.
Although, the fact they’ve bounced back eight times speaks to the immense talent on the club. And, with some restored health should come some restored confidence too.
If anything, snapping the eight-game skid Tuesday reduces the frustration level from a rapid boil to a simmer. Another win Wednesday and the streak is put to rest.
Lot’s of mental errors Monday night.
Theriot gets throw out going second to third on a ball hit to his right, Dempster tosses a pickoff throw into center field, and Freel makes a force play at third too close for comfort–each factored into the Cubs’ eighth straight loss.
We knew the hitting would come around, even though it felt like the Cubs would never score again, and the starting pitching as been terrific.
However, the bullpen stinks. Pittsburgh scored four runs on 11 hits against the pen. Bad, bad, and bad.