First Star – Ryan Theriot (.180)
Second Star – Nate McLouth (.110)
Third Star – Aramis Ramirez (.087)
Top Play – Nate McLouth’s run scoring walk in the 5th (+.085)

I sat at my computer yesterday evening and clicked on to see a story about former catcher, John Marzano. Most people have probably never heard of him. After all, he played 10 years, but never saw more than 200 at bats in any of them. For me, I hadn’t heard of him until last year when he began co-hosting a show on Downloading the MLB daily audio podcast each day, I began to listen to Marzano on the radio and while he was a little rough around the edges, he had an easy listen about him. Unfortunately, the story I read last night was to announce his passing at the age of 45. Marzano apparently had a heart attack and then fell down a flight of stairs at his house.

Forty-Five. It sounds scary when I say it to myself. No one likes to head about death or even think about it, but the fact remains that each one of us has a finite number of days on this earth. For some, their number is very short and for others it’s much longer than we may think they deserve. The Marzano story hit me pretty hard and reminded me, with a slap in the face, of my own mortality. However, it also reminded me of something far more important that I feel led to share. I’ve never really used this place as a soapbox, but today I feel burdened to unload it.

I don’t know much about Marzano and where he stood in relationship to “religion”, but I know where I stand. I am a follower of Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ was born, led a perfect life, and then died in my place to pay for not only my sins, but the sins of everyone who has lived and will still live. I believe that every person that enters this world does so mired in sin and in need of a savior. We don’t have the ability to work our way into good graces with God, similar to what Ronny Cedeno has been doing over the past few days with Lou Piniella after some very profitable at bats. The fact remains that we’re sinners and need to rely wholly on Christ for our salvation. Because of that commitment, I know that death is not the end for me. At the time of my death, I will be face to face with my savior. I hope John Marzano had that assurance as well. has a good article that goes into more depth on this.

If you have any questions about how you can know Christ as your savior, please don’t hesitate to contact me, and if this post offended you, I wish I could say I was sorry. If I didn’t do it, I would regret it more than I would regret doing it and losing readership. Now, if you’re still in the mood for the game notes, here are some baseball thoughts.

Ryan Dempster looked pretty good in the first part of his start, but then had a terrible 5th inning. I found myself torn with mixed emotion as I watch Demp struggle. Part of me really wanted him to get out of the inning to qualify for the win, but at the same time I really wanted to see Lou walking out to the mound to go get the baseball. Demp was all over the map and did not have the control he had in the beginning of the game. He ended up getting out of the inning, which was good to see, but I was nervous. Overall, I think Dempster has been a pleasant surprise in that rotation and we’ve needed him. With Lilly struggling the way he has, Demp has stepped right in and gotten the job done with a 3-0 record and an ERA of 3.00.

The offense has been playing out of their minds lately and they showed a graphic on the screen today noting where we rank in key offensive categories. Here are some NL ranks for our offense.

Runs – 2nd
Doubles – 1st
Home Runs – 5th
Batting Average – 4th
On Base % – 3rd
Slugging % – 4th
OPS – 3rd
Stolen Bases – 4th
Walks – 5th

We’re taking care of business with the offense and it’s especially great to see the SB & Walks up where they are. The craziest thing about today was that both Fukudome and Soriano were out of the lineup. We’re plugging guys in and getting production out of them.

Ryan Theriot had a great game today and even found himself on the stars of the game by doing everything right. See Tommy, it doesn’t always favor the big boppers. Sometimes the little man can get ahead. Theriot seems to have settled into that number two spot in the order, hitting .355 / .394 / .613 in that spot coming into the day. After today, those numbers are even higher. If we can find some consistency in the leadoff spot, the lineup should be incredibly dangerous with Lee, Ramirez and Fukudome in the heart of the lineup. When Soriano comes back, he needs to find a home in the 6th spot and make the 3-6 spots in the order incredibly dangerous and tough to face. Here are Soriano’s career stats in that spot in the order. He’s performed well there in limited at bats and seems to fit in perfectly right there.

Random Notes

  • Aramis Ramirez has reached base in every game this year.
  • Mark DeRosa nearly killed himself going after a foul ball in the first as he tripped over the mound and almost hit his head on the brick wall.
  • Explain to me why Reed Johnson can’t play every day? People keep saying he’s not an every day solution in CF, but I say why not?
  • Fukudome was scratched from the game today due to swelling in a cyst above his right eye. Lou said “If he doesn’t play, it’s just a one-day thing.”, so it shouldn’t be something to worry about.
  • Mike Fontenot ran into an out on the bases when he got a little too aggressive rounding third and was tossed out by the pitcher.
  • Unrelated, but the Reds knocked around Eric Gagne (surprise surprise)
  • Frank Thomas and Hideo Nomo are now without work and may be done for life.
  • Today’s game marked the first time the Cubs have won 9 straight against the Pirates since the late 1930’s
  • A reader asked to add to the way we do the farm player tracker. I will now do a weekly feature that spotlights how some of our guys are doing overall, not just on a day to day basis. I’m sure Jon Pence will also be chiming in with good stuff as well, so be looking out for that, especially on the weekend.
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail