I asked for a sweep of the Nats and the Cubs delivered. I came away from the weekend with two thoughts.

  1. Kevin Hart was acceptable as a starter, but is not the long term solution. Sean Marshall or Jeff Samardzija need to be the options for Lou, with Hart moving to the pen. Hart was able to get by a Nats team that is far from good, but imagine the damage we would have seen with his control (or lack of it) against a lineup like Philly.
  2. Alfonso Soriano is going to have an explosive close to the month. He’s hit homers in his last two games and you know how it goes for Soriano, he hits in streaks and bunches. We’re about to see a streak. I was surprised to see Lou pull him in the late innings yesterday, even in a blowout simply because he was having success at the plate and could probably have benefited from that extra at bat.

Scouting Tonight’s Starters

Ted Lilly was pushed back from Saturday’s scheduled start because of inflammation in his left knee. He picked up his 100th career win in his last start against the Cardinals. The Cubs’ lone All-Star representative matched his season high by going eight innings. He notched his 14th quality start this year, giving up four hits. Lilly may want to only pitch at Wrigley Field. His ERA at home is 1.86, which ranks among the NL leaders. Over his last 54 2/3 innings, Lilly has walked seven and struck out 49.

Rodrigo Lopez left his start on July 8 after five innings because of right-shoulder inflammation. But after some rest with the All-Star break, the journeyman Mexico native assured he’s ready to make his third start of the season in a fluctuating No. 5 spot of the Phillies’ rotation. In 11 1/3 innings this season, the 33-year-old has given up four runs, and the Phillies have won both of those games. His spot in the starting staff is currently in jeopardy with the Phillies signing Pedro Martinez recently, but Martinez isn’t eligible to return from his procedural disabled-list stint until July 30, meaning Lopez will likely get at least two or three more starts before a roster move has to be made. In his only career start against the Cubs, Lopez — pitching on 11 days’ rest — gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings. (MLB.com)

He gets ahead in the count and changes speeds well. In tight situations with runners in scoring position, he knows how to bear down and get the job done. Lopez simply can’t hold runners on, so they tend to run freely. Often, when he falls behind, he leaves the ball up and it’s knocked out. A solid mid-rotation starter. (TSN.ca)

Lopez Pitch Usage Chart

Highlights from the Farm

  • Wes Darvill was 4-for-5
  • Ryan Flaherty was 3-for-5
  • Jovan Rosa was 3-for-4
  • Mitch Atkins struck out 5 batters and only allowed 3 earned runs over 6.0 innings pitched yesterday

Photo Op

Robinson Chirinos is hitting .316 with 11 homers and 46 RBIs in 59 games this season. (Scott Jontes/MiLB.com)

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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