ABOUT LAST NIGHT - One of my favorite musical talents is Ben Folds. He has a song called Battle of Who Could Care Less. It immediately came to mind yesterday as I watched two teams put zero after zero on the board, inning after inning. It was a combination of two starting pitchers, both of which had decent stuff, but more a result of two offenses who, when you look at them from top to bottom, are kind of stinky. The A’s are hitting just .204 for the month of July as a team, and the Cubs, well we know how that story has gone this season. In the end, it came down to a rather non-conventional way to win as the A’s get the only run of the game on a passed ball by Wellington Castillo in the 7th. The Cubs had a chance to take the lead earlier on an Alfonso Soriano single, and if you go strictly by the first half of the Len Kasper call, you would have thought they did take the lead. Instead, Starlin Castro was thrown out at the plate fairly easily trying to score from second base (Watch the Play). I’m still not sure what went wrong on the play, if it was a bad send or a bad job of running by Castro or if the throw was just that good. In the end, it was the difference between a loss and a potential win. Travis Wood didn’t get the loss, but once again, he also did not get the win. I feel bad for the poor guy, because as much as the tally in the win stat column does not mean anything from a valuation standpoint, it matters from a $$ standpoint. The poor guy deserves a better showing than he’s received. Newcomers, Matt Guerrier and Pedro Strop made their Cub debuts. Guerrier looked and was fairly hittable. While it’s tough to make a call after one game, I suspect that yesterday was an indication of what the Dodgers have been seeing all year. I don’t expect him to stick around long. Strop looked decent. There have been comparisons to him and Carlos Marmol, who cleared waivers for the Dodgers and was sent to the minors to work on his stuff, but personally I didn’t see the same kind of grip it and rip it type of John Daly approach on the mound. Strop at least seemed to have some sort of clue where the ball was going, while Marmol, in the later stages of his tenure in Chicago, never seemed to know. I’d like to see more from Strop. Guerrier, not so much. It doesn’t get easier this weekend as the Pirates come to Chicago. They’re one of the hottest teams in baseball so the goal is to not get embarrassed.

NEWS AND NOTES

  • Fresh off the signing of the top international prospect, Eloy Jimenez, Phil Rogers notes that the Cubs may not be finished on the international market despite being over their slot cap. Theo and Jed believe that the talent in this class is head and shoulders above the names in next year’s market and as a result, will take the penalties next year in an effort to maximize talent this year.
  • At least a dozen scouts were on hand on to watch and evaluation Matt Garza’s last start. I don’t know how many starts are left as a Cub for Garza, but my guess is it’s not more than one or two at the most. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve seen his last start.
  • Brian Bogusevic left the game on Thursday in the third inning with a tight left hamstring, and is day to day. It caught even the announcers by surprise when they went to announce a fly ball to center and saw Julio Borbon.
  • Here is a summary of some of the reactions to the Scott Feldman trade.

AROUND THE MAJORS

  • An update on your Alex Rodriguez saga. He came out and stated that he refuses to quit on the Yankees. This comes despite the fact that the Yankees quit on him years ago.
  • Arizona and the Mets decided that they would torture their fans and monopolize their entire holiday with a 15 inning, 5 hour and 46 minute affair that saw runs scored in the 13th, 14th, and the 15th innings. (Box Score)
  • All Star rosters come out tomorrow and I’m sure there will be many that are waiting anxiously to see who the Cubs rep is, but as for me, I want to see Puigmania continue.
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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. 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. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail