Could the result of the Cubs/Sox series have been any worse? Had the Cubs swept or taken 2 of 3, it could have served as a confidence boost, and a jumping off point to a winning streak. Had the Sox swept, it would have underscored just how flawed this Cub team is, and possibly spurred some major move by the front office. Instead, the Cubs played well enough to win 2 of the games, while only actually winning one, thus giving some hope that this team is a few small moves from contention (we held our own with the best team in baseball!) without giving us the satisfaction of winning the series from a rival, or gaining any ground in the division (St. Louis is now 7 games up). The Cubs are a little closer to the Wild Card, but the problem there is they would have to leapfrog at least 8 teams (including the entire NL East) to get it.
Meanwhile, we’ve hit the quarter mark of the season, so it’s time for trade rumors to start heating up. Today in Chicago, ESPN 1000 reported that the Cubs are working on a deal for a left handed outfielder and a middle relief pitcher, in which they would give up the exact same thing. Assuming there’s any truth to this rumor, I would have to think that Patterson would be the outfielder in question, with either Hawkins or possibly Remlinger also included. This would then appear to be a trade where the team dealing with the Cubs is hoping that a change of scenery is what these two players need, and the players coming back would likely be in the same situation, or possibly just be terribly overpaid. There are so many guys out there right now that might fit this bill that I can’t even begin to figure out which team the Cubs might be dealing with, but some of the teams that have fallen out of the race with left-handed CF’s are Oakland(Kotsay), Philadelphia(Lofton) and Tampa (Crawford-drool).
Of course, in other bullpen news, Danny Graves has been designated for assignment by the Reds. Remember all those “experts” who at the beginning of the season thought that the Reds had improved so much that they might finish 3rd or even 2nd in the Central? Oops. It’s gotten so bad in Cincinnati that the usually frugal (read: cheap) Reds are now cleaning house, having dumped D’Angelo Jiminez and now Graves as well. While Graves isn’t great by any means, the Cubs bullpen could use any help it can get. If Graves clears waivers, I’d expect Jim Hendry will give his agent a call, otherwise forget it, the guy is making 6.25 million this year. Maybe if Cincinnati’s payroll is hamstrung by having to eat all this salary, they’d be more receptive to trading a guys like Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns or Ryan Freel.
Finally, the Cubs won tonight, beating something called Wandy Rodriguez 4-1. Once again the offense proves to be one dimensional, with 3 of the 4 runs coming on homers. I know it’s dumb to complain that the Cubs hit too many homers, but it would be nice to see them just string a few hits together and win a laugher. It seems like the team hasn’t done that since the first game of the season against Arizona. Also, does anybody else get the feeling that Bob Brenley is phoning it in? I never heard Brenley before this year, so I can’t say if he’s always been this bad, but right now he brings absolutely nothing to the booth. At the start of tonight’s game, rather than read through the Cubs lineup he said something to the effect that Dusty was basically putting out the same lineup tonight that he’s gone with all year. What?!? Off the top of my head I can tell you that the lineup was different because: Michael Barrett was starting for the first time in 3 games; Jason DuBois is now starting in left, after a solid month of the Todd Hollandsworth Experience; Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston and Neifi Perez are constantly batting in different spots in the order. Here’s hoping that Bob gets that job in Kansas City.