Pretty much everytime they flashed the boxscore last night after the 5th inning, I just had to cringe. Rich Harden continued his stampede to free agency with another brilliant effort. He held the arguably best offense in the league to....well nothing, for 5.1 innings and then gives up a walk to #8 hitter Carlos Ruiz before Jimmy Rollins sent one in the bleachers to tie what was looking like an easy victory. So while the Phils efficiently scored their first 2 runs on a hit, the Cubs managed 7 hits through the first six, a few double plays and line drives right at people and only 2 runs.
Archive - Aug 2009
So the Cubs left for this road trip on the winds of winning 7 of 8 and being a half-game up on the Cardinals. They come home losing 6 of 10 and dropping 3 back (3.5 games total). It leaves their road record a paltry eight games under .500 at 25-33. To rehash the trip in all its glory...
Was it worth all the trouble?
The Iowa Cubs had a 5:00 A.M. wakeup call after Saturday's game in Des Moines. The team's traveling party chartered to Midway and bussed to Wrigley for the ultimate matinee following a night game.
As for your intrepid correspondent, my trip began a week ago today when we piled the family into two cars instead of one so I could leave them a day early and triangulate my way home from our lake vacation in Minnesota via a stopover at yesterday's "Road to Wrigley" contest in Chicago.
I haven't heard a word tying the Cubs to either player, but it seems like the Cubs could still use some help in the bullpen. As I mentioned Friday, Carlos Marmol's walk rate north of 8 per nine innings is historic....but not in a good way. Kevin Gregg is a perfectly capable and perfectly hittable closer. He'll get the job done more times than not, but so did Ryan Dempster, and I wouldn't want either closing out the 9th inning in a playoff game. I can't think of too many World Series champs that didn't have a shut-down closer, I know there are some (2001 Diamondbacks for example), but it seems far more often than not, that a team needs a relief ace back there. Even BP put it into their "Secret Sauce" recipe for predicting playoff success. That's not to say the Cubs can't win it all with Marmol and Gregg in the 8th and 9th, but those two don't particularly make me confident.
Click on the image for the full-size cartoon and story...
The Cubs had to make a roster move today to accommodate Geovany Soto and the victim was Micah Hoffpauir. He'll surely be back up when rosters expand on September 1st and possibly sooner. After a good start to the season, he sort of crescendoed at a .920 OPS on May 20th and since then has hit 182/217/336 in 115 PA with 4 HR's, mostly in part-time duty.