Maybe the Cubs should move to the NL East. Their recent victories over the cream of the crop in the East, sprinkled in with a little bit of Houston Astros, has the team on a 8-3 stretch. During this stretch the team is now 5-3 against the “top” division in the National League, all since the announcement that Anthony “Cubs Savior” Rizzo would make his first start against the Mets just a week and a half ago.
Speaking of Rizzo, he has put to rest that the holes he had in his swing during his last big league stint still haunt him now. The kid has been everything as advertised and even the harshest of skeptics can put their negative spinners down to enjoy the show.
A line to the tune of 4 for 5 with a bomb and 3BI has given Rizzo a series of Pacific League-esque stats to boast about in his first two weeks in Cubbie blue. If it wasn’t for his hit-less performance in a shut out of the Astros, Rizzo would have a hit in every one of his ten big league games this year. Even still, Rizzo reached safely with a walk in that game meaning he HAS been on base in every game. Having guys like him and Starlin Castro get on base consistently in the beginning of the lineup seems like foreign concept to me because it’s been awhile since this team has had that. Now if only we could consistently get those guys home.
Knock on Wood
Travis Wood wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been in his last four or five starts. While he did get the win thanks in part to the Cubs dynamic offense on the night, he did have some struggles with his command throughout his six innings pitched. His four walks on the night tied a season high and his three strikeouts tied a season low, which isn’t always a great combination. I can knock the guy too much though because he grabbed a winning decision by the horns in the four straight outing after starting the season (0-3).
It wasn’t much of a surprise to see the slumping Castro get a “night off” last night. He won’t get as much rest over the next few days because of his All-Star selection and obligations in Kansas City. Dale Sveum said the night off was because he wanted Starlin to watch the game and point things out that he could be doing better. I would have thought that Rizzo’s addition to the lineup would take pressure off the young short stop, but his average has continue to trend in the wayward direction. He did pop in the final three innings to collect a hit in two tries.
I love Reed Johnson. I love watching games when he starts. I love games that he starts off with solo shots. I love that the last time he led off a game with a homer, he was facing American League Johan Santana. I love Reed Johnson.
In all seriousness I’m truly hoping that Mr. Johnson isn’t one of the guys shipped out for a bag of peanut prospects. As a fourth outfielder you can’t really ask for much more in terms of production and leadership. My man-crush aside, I know he doesn’t present much value in the long term plans for the team, but I’d be sad to see him go.
So Much For Rejuvenation
Carlos Marmol looked like the Marmol of earlier in the season. The ninth inning went as follows. Strikeout, solo home run, walk, walk, walk, 2 run single, double play. That double play was also extremely lucky. The Mets almost had a miraculous ninth inning victory for the second night in a row. In my opinion Marmol is allergic to big leads and needs to make games closer for his own personal comfort.
Quote of the Night
“It was awesome, right from Reed Johnson’s home run,” Rizzo said. “And it carried over. Hitting is contagious no matter where you are.”
Shark and Gee get the starts today in a matinee game at 4:10 EST
Notable Performances on the Farm
July 6, 2012
Arismendy Alcantara, Daytona: 3-5, 2B, 3B, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
John Andreoli, Daytona: 1-3, 3B, SB, BB, R
Delbis Arcila, DSL Cubs2: 2-5, 2 2B, BB, R, RBI
Sergio Burruel, Peoria: 0-1, 3 BB
Welington Castillo, Iowa: 1-3, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
Carlos Escobar, AZL Cubs: 2-5, 2 2B, RBI
Dustin Geiger, Peoria: 1-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
Chadd Krist, Boise: 2-4, BB, RBI
Blake Lalli, Iowa: 2-4, 2B, BB
Justin Marra, AZL Cubs: 1-1, 2B, BB, HBP, R, RBI
Jhonny Pena, DSL Cubs2: 3-3, HR, 3 BB, R, 3 RBI
Garrett Schlecht, AZL Cubs: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB, R
Rubi Silva, Daytona: 4-5, SB, RBI
Josh Vitters, Iowa: 1-3, 2B, SB, 2 BB, R
Daniel Vogelbach, AZL Cubs: 1-5, HR, BB, R, 2 RBI
Michael Heesch:, Boise: 2.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 K
Matthew Loosen:, Daytona: 7.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 10 K, BB
Scott Weismann:, Daytona: 1.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K
Anthony Zych:, Tennessee: 1.0 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 K