Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cubs creep to within 3 1/2 of first, prepare to meet their destiny heading into the break

Wednesday: Cubs 4, Pirates 1

Well, the Cubs won their first road series since June 5-7 at Cincinnati.

Is there any way to argue that Randy Wells isn't the Cubs' best starting pitcher? He has the best ERA and WHIP of anyone on the staff, and his quality start percentage is higher than everyone's but Ted Lilly. He goes out there and gives the team a chance to win every single time, and he's been rewarded with three consecutive wins after being denied a win in his first seven starts.

Congratulations to Sam Fuld for getting his first two career hits and his second career assist on a great throw to the plate from left field. Honestly, I'd rather see Fuld in the leadoff spot tonight than Alfonso Soriano.

Marmol and Gregg put the cherry on top of the win once again, and that's good news heading into The Homestand. With four against the Brewers, three against the Braves, and four against the Cardinals heading into the break, this homestand could determine the fate of the Cubs' 2009 season. An 8-3 'stand could have them nipping at the heels of first place; a 3-8 'stand could have them selling off pieces at the trade deadline. The Cubs are 21-13 at home thus far--here's to them keeping up that pace over the next 11 days.

Cubs notes

-The Cubs led the NL in ERA in June (3.18), while the Brewers were last (5.37). But the Cubs gained no ground during the month.

-The Cubs will miss Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo, who lost 1-0 Wednesday to the Mets.

Quote of the Day

It's going to be hard the rest of the year because I'm not even close to being where I want to be. It's still sore and it's going to be like that--some days good, some days bad."

-Aramis Ramirez, on his left shoulder. Ramirez is expected to return Monday vs. Atlanta.

Marquis de Trade

Jim Hendry has been getting a lot of flak lately, and rightly so. DeRosa would have been one of the Cubs' better run producers this season, and now he's on the rival Cardinals. Milton Bradley has to this point been an overpaid ball of crazy. Aaron Miles? Joey Gathright? Ouch.

But perhaps the move that looks the worst (but is getting the least attention) is the trade of Jason Marquis. While starting pitching has not been the problem for the Cubs this season, have you seen what Mr. Marquis is up to in Colorado?

-He's the only NL pitcher with 10 wins.
-He has a 3.87 ERA, which would be his lowest since 2004 with the Cardinals.
-He's on pace to throw 232 innings, which would easily surpass his career high.
-He's thrown two complete games; he had thrown four in his career prior to 2009.

Now I'm certainly not here to say "I told you so," mostly because I didn't. I was A-OK with the Cubs unloading Marqius' outrageous $9 million contract, but amazingly, he's actually been worth that much to this point in the season. We're not quite to the halfway point, so don't hand Marquis the Cy Young Award just yet. But still, it's yet another addition on the laundry list of moves that don't seem to have panned out for Hendry this year.

Did you see it?

On Tuesday, the Orioles and Red Sox went into a rain delay with the Red Sox up 10-1. Then the rain stopped, and the Orioles started. The O's completed their biggest comeback in franchise history by scoring five in the 7th and five in the 8th to win 11-10. On Wednesday, Boston returned the favor--they trailed 5-1 in the 9th, but scored four to tie it and then added the winning run in the 11th inning. It's not real often you see two huge comebacks in back-to-back games.

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