MVP – Justin Ruggiano (.213 WPA)

Today I had a choice. I could watch the Cubs on WGN face the Nationals, a game I thought seriously about going to, or I could watch the Hot Dog Eating contest. I made the right choice and was rewarded for my efforts with a win that pushed the winning streak to four games. Things have been a little down in the dumps here on the blog, but I think that happens when the team isn’t very good. As the team has begun to come out of the funk a little, my interest, and I’m sure yours as well, has began to increase. Today’s game was fun to watch and I’m glad I did.

The Outfield Wasn’t Offensive – It’s been no secret that the outfield has been less than stellar this season, ranking dead last in OPS in RF and CF. Today the outfield got the job done. I’ll admit that when I saw the lineup and saw the outfield spots filled with Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan and Nate Schierholtz, I was less than impressed. Those got did the job and were a major reason why the offense put up the seven runs they did. If we take the macro approach, it’s obvious that each of the three starters today are not a long term part of the plan, which is encouraging, but at the same time, I’m starting to get a little discouraged at what the outfield plan is going forward. The way I see it, Schierholtz may be dealt, but not for much given how poorly he’s performed this year. Coghlan and Ruggiano are spare parts just laying around, and Junior Lake is part time player. That means the entire future outfield has to come from the farm or via free agency.

Jason Hammel Is Not Happy – If you missed it, Ricky Renteria pulled Hammel after six innings of work, having thrown just 92 pitches so he could get an early start to his favorite game of bullpen merry go round. Hammel wasn’t happy about being lifted, but didn’t blame Ricky. He instead said that he felt it was someone else who is dictating that decision. Obviously he’s insinuating that Theo and Jed have influenced that call, with the assumed reason being an effort to curb pitch count and keep him strong for a trade. Honestly, he went six innings. He pitched fine and got the win. Just get your shower and shut up. Is there a rule that says you have to total more than 100 pitches? Sometimes it’s better to just not speak. I like Hammel and I’d certainly welcome him back with open arms via free agency after a trade this month, but I don’t like when players open their mouth.

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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