Hello again, everybody. Wow, that would have been one heck of a game to have on Wednesday night, but with the way the Cardinals have been going, splitting four games almost feels like a sweep.
Now that the All-Star Break is almost upon us, it would be very nice for the Cubs to take care of business at home this weekend and ride into the Mid-Summer Classic on a sweep.
So with that said, let’s get down to it and go rambling!
• Yes, the Cardinals are the best team in baseball. The Cardinals are very good. The Cardinals are also a bunch of whiners. I am sure you all know there are many words I want to use right now, but I won’t. They are just a bunch of whiners.
• I am intrigued by the new Home Run Derby format, and I really hope it livens the event.
• I am also intrigued that, once again, there are Chicago Cubs involved. I recall Sosa just mashing a few out of Miller Park one year, but it has been quite some time since the Cubs have had representation.
• And it is double representation to top it off this year. I know precautions are taken, but after Bobby Abreu, I always get nervous for some guys. I really hope we don’t see that. I am also compulsive so that is probably most of it.
• Here is to hoping that Hammel is not out too long. The Cubs already need one pitcher. I don’t want to go into the second half needing two. Teams get desperate in late July. Especially desperate teams.
• I will say it again, I would rather ride out this year and sign one of the big names, instead of trading for one of the big names and then feeling forced to sign him in the off-season.
• It would be really nice to have Chris Archer on the team. I mean, could you imagine?
• I really hope that Jon Lester has a great second half. This team could be three or four up in the Wild Card heading into the break, and that is with a poor first half from Lester and a poor first six weeks from Arrieta. Okay, maybe Arrieta’s first six weeks were not poor, but they were not what many might have been expected.
• And let’s not forget an absolutely abysmal first month-and-a-half from the bullpen. Strop’s folly the other night reminded me of April’s bullpen. I do not like being reminded of April’s bullpen.
• Len and JD did a nice job during Wednesday’s telecast breaking down Joe Maddon’s thought process regarding the bullpen and its pitchers. I understand he wants them all to feel the ninth and be comfortable.
• In fact, the approach sounds pretty ingenious to me … but after the walk Strop gave up in the ninth the other night, you just knew something bad was going to happen. Strop is a good pitcher, but I do not think he is a good ninth-inning pitcher at this point.
• Fine, I will say it out loud. Addison Russell’s batting average is making me a little nervous. I know he is a rookie, and I know he is young, but his “comparable” was Jeter. Now … is that fair? No, it would also not be fair if Jeter was compared to Jeter.
• However, .228 is not good. Part of me, and I say this with zero data, is curious what he might be doing in a different spot in the order. I have no idea if it would make a difference, but Dexter Fowler has not been protecting anyone at the plate during the past six weeks, not even himself.
• Jeter hit .314 his rookie season. Just saying.
• Someone needs to play a joke on Castro and make him think it is 2011. I mean, maybe he just misses being called “Cassie.” I highly doubt that, but you never know. Someone let Maddon know about that nickname, please.
• I know he has been hurt, but how about Denorfia’s first half? I did not see that coming. He has been a cog when healthy
• Baseball is funny. We were talking about role players like La Stella and Alcantara in March, but here we find ourselves discussing Herrera and Baxter.
• I think Kyle Schwarber is going to be very special. Then again, Jeff Pico had a heck of a first week as well.
• A healthy bullpen of Grimm, Ramirez, Russell and Rondon is rather enticing. I would like a shiny new closer though. And speaking of closers …
• Guess who has the second-most wins on the Cubs pitching staff? That is right, Jason Motte. He has won six games thus far. That sums up the comeback Cubs first-half pretty well.
That is all I have for you today. Here is to a sweep of the reviled White Sox as they head into Wrigley to close out the first half. I hope all had a wonderful holiday weekend, are enjoying warm weather and ready for a run at October.
And until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!