Friday, July 3, 2009

Cue the NHL strike and passage of CAFTA--Derrek Lee's playing like it's 2005

Thursday: Cubs 9, Brewers 5

How about that D. Lee? His 21-game hitting streak came to an end recently, but he has now hit in 27 of his last 29 games. His two hits Thursday were loud and proud: a three-run shot on the first pitch he saw followed by a grand slam in his next at-bat to satiate the fans who were already on their feet. I have to toot my own horn here: When Theriot had a 3-0 count, I said: "We're about to see a grand slam." Six pitches later, the ballhawks on Waveland had a souvenir.

Thanks to Seth McClung, a should-be reliever, for throwing a McClunker of a game. McClung's career ERA is over a run higher as a starter, and the Cubs showed why as they banged him around for 3.1 innings. After having the highest ERA in the NL during June, and now having to look to Seth McClung after Manny Parra struggled and was sent to the minors, the Brewers will no doubt be looking to add pitching before the deadline.

Dempster pitched well enough, and should have made it through seven innings except for an error by Fontenot that extended the inning. Demp was burned by the long ball for the 12th and 13th times this season. For all the success Cubs starters have had this year, the home run has been their kryptonite--they've allowed the 5th most home runs in the National League.

Nevertheless, Dempster was able to even up his record at 5-5. Though it's not as extreme, his home/road splits look a lot like last year: 4-1 at home, 1-4 on the road.

Sam Fuld led off again, and once again he looked like a leadoff man: 2-for-4, 1 BB, 2 R. Soriano will be back at leadoff today, according to Piniella, but I'd like to see Fuld get some time at all the outfield positions, spelling Fukudome and Bradley at times as well.

Since I haven't yet gotten around to telling you about the former Cubs who reside in the NL Central, I want to talk here about Casey McGehee. You may remember the name, as he was drafted by the Cubs in 2003 and played nine games last year as a September call-up. He was placed on waivers at the end of the season and was later claimed by the Brewers.

The 26-year-old utility man has seen action in 43 games, including all but four of the Brewers' games in June. He's batting a robust .322 with 5 HR and 21 RBI, and might be in the lineup to stay with Rickie Weeks out for the year.

But most important of all: according to Wikipedia, Casey is the grandson of Scuffy McGehee. What, you don't know who Scuffy McGehee is? Fine, I'll tell you. He was a major league pitcher, and the last one to consistently use the "floater pitch," also known as an Eephus pitch, also known as the pitch that Henry Rowengartner used to strike out Alejandro "Butch" Heddo at the end of the movie Rookie of the Year. I can't believe you didn't know who he was.

Did you know ...

-The best run differential in the NL Central is +11 (Cardinals).

-The best run differential in the NL East is +9 (Phillies).

-Jimmy Rollins is batting just .209.

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