Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cubs get their Phil of a real team

Monday: Phillies 10, Cubs 1

The most disappointing thing about Raul Ibanez's three-run, back-breaking home run in the 1st inning was that it could have been hit in a blue uniform instead of a red one.

On a day on which Milton Bradley sat in order to work on his swing with Lou Piniella, the man Jim Hendry could have signed in the offseason demonstrated why Hendry should have done so.

The 37-year-old, left-handed right fielder hit at least .289, slammed at least 21 HR, and drove in at least 105 runs in each of the last three seasons. He became a free agent last fall after five seasons with the Mariners, and was signed by the Phillies in December to a 3-year, $30 million contract--a deal identical to Milton Bradley's.

Ibanez's homer was his 25th, and the three RBI gave him 68, good for second and third in the NL, respectively. And this despite the fact that he missed three weeks due to a DL stint.

Ibanez's home run certainly wasn't the last of Lilly's worries on this day. After the home run, he fought his way through three more innings, throwing 96 pitches in all and allowing a season-high nine runs, seven of them earned. The two unearned runs scored after Soriano flat out dropped a fly ball despite getting under it and putting his glove on it. And this was after he and Fukudome jointly decided to let a short fly ball drop between them in the same inning.

But the sad thing wasn't that Soriano made two inexcusable, laughable miscues in the field--the sad thing is that I wasn't the least bit surprised. Soriano is the laziest, least focused fielder I've ever seen. He's making over $11,000 per inning and can't find it in himself to catch routine fly balls. On the bright side, he had three of the Cubs' six hits, raising his July average to .340.

But more disappointing than the pitching and defense, at least to me, was the offense. Coming off a four game series in which they scored 26 runs, playing in a bandbox of a stadium, and facing a starting pitcher who, until his first start with the Phils on July 3, had not pitched since 2007 elbow surgery, one would think the Cubs would have at least made a slugfest out of it instead of plating just one run and letting the Phillies walk away with it. In short, they looked like they usually look when they play in Philadelphia.

After this thorough beat down, it's time to flash the Men in Black memory-erasing thingy and move on. Whereas Lilly has struggled mightily on the road this season, Harden has made himself right at home there. The Cubs are fortunate to miss both Hamels and central Illinois native J.A. Happ in this series, so let's go get the next two and complete a great road trip.


  1. Did you see they're going to try and limit Harden to night-game starts? I don't think anyone playing at Wrigley Field can afford to be nocturnal.

  2. I saw the story, but it doesn't make sense. They said he'll start next Monday because it's a night game, but that's his scheduled spot in the rotation anyways. It's not like they're switching his start around to allow him to pitch at night.