Monday, July 6, 2009

Things Looking Up?

I didn't get to see a ton of the Cubs/Milwaukee series this past weekend. The one game that was on WGN up in Cheeseland, where I wouldn't have to put up with Brewers announcers, was the 11-2 stinkfest, so I stuck to ESPN mobile updates and Twitter to keep me posted.

Despite the Fukudome-esque death spiral being suffered by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs managed to take three of four from the mighty Brewers and their AAA pitching staff. They have managed to pull within a game and a half of the Brewers, and within two and a half of the first-place Cardinals.

The Cubs seem to be that team that the Brewers just can't seem to take out. Growing up, the Cardinals were that team for the Cubs. The Cubs would be having a nice run and then they would play the Cardinals and would more often than not come out of the series feeling worse about themselves.

The Cubs seem to be that team to the Brewers. Milwaukee came to town up on the Cubs by 3 1/2 with an opportunity to push them back as far as 7 1/2 games with only half the schedule remaining. Instead, the Cubs pounded on them to open the series, beat them in a pitching duel the next game, opened the door a crack by playing a god-awful game on Saturday, then stepped on their throats again on Sunday. It is the kind of series that is absolutely maddening as a fan, and it is fantastic to be on the other side of it for once.

The series must have gotten to Ryan Braun as well. Braun, who seems more and more like the kind of jagoff you just want to punch in the head for simply existing, has started ripping on his own pitching staff, and no doubt endearing himself to his team mates.

"No matter who is in there, we have to find a way to throw the ball better for us to have success," Braun said. "I think when you're constantly behind in games, it's not easy and it's not fun."

Say what you want about Milton Bradley, but he hasn't thrown his own team mates under the bus during the Cubs' struggles.

Meanwhile, off the field for the Cubs, the Tribune is reporting that they have apparently reached a deal with the Ricketts family on the sale of the Cubs.

"Tribune Co. has reached a deal to sell the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field to the Ricketts family, a source familiar with matter said this morning.

The two sides finalized a sale agreement over the weekend and have forwarded the contract to Major League Baseball, the source said.

The deal must be approved by other baseball owners. With Tribune Co. operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the sale also will need court approval.

The source said the sales price is "close" to the $900 million bid the Ricketts offered earlier this year that won an auction for the baseball team, stadium and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago, a regional cable television sports network."

MLB has stated before that they were not the ones holding up the deal, and that they were hopeful for a speedy sale. The ball is in their court now to actually approve this before the next Presidential election.

Speaking of courts and government, it's any one's guess how long it will take a bankruptcy court to approve the sale, so I'm still not anticipating a FINAL sale until after the trade deadline.

Finally, the Cubs make the "equivalent" to a trade by being able to insert Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson, and Angel Guzman back onto the active roster. While this is a good thing overall, there are some difficult choices being made as I type this, as I have not seen what the moves will be yet.


Per Gordon Wittenmyer via Twitter:

"Fuld, Hart optioned to AAA; Patton DL (groin). Makes room for Rami, Guzman, Johnson."

"SuperRami batting 5th: fuky, riot, lee, milt, rami, sori, soto, font, wells."

Obviously, the Cubs either do not read this site, or they don't care. Neither of which is a surprise.


I said yesterday on Twitter that they should send down Micah Hoffpauir, Jeff Samardzija, and put Alfonso Soriano on the DL for his knee. This recommendation is based on the idea that Hoffpauir has options left, which I'm not 100% sure that he does.

No matter what, Soriano should hit the DL. It will give him a mental break, and it would allow him to play a few rehab games in the minors to get his swing back without all of the pressure and booing at Wrigley Field. I'm not building the Sam Fuld Memorial Highway anytime soon, but he has been hot, and that allows the team the flexibility to get Soriano off the roster for a couple of weeks.

Make no mistake, Soriano is important to this team. He has not scored a run in over a week, and he has hardly been on base for the last two months, but he leads the team in runs scored. It is imperative that he returns to a half-way decent level of production if this team is serious about making the playoffs and advancing.

The Cubs get the Braves after losing the makeup game in Atlanta to start off the last road trip from hell. All three games the Cubs have played with Atlanta have been extremely close, with 2 of them going into extra innings.

Then the Cardinals come to town in a battle for the top of the NL Central that culminates with a day/night doubleheader on Sunday as we head into the All-Star break. The Cubs have recently been able to take it to the Cardinals in these big series, so here is hoping that the baseball gods remain napping for just a little longer.


AndCounting said...

Soriano could definitely use a break . . . but his mental capacities seem to be hanging on somewhat. Asking for the ball on his almost-an-error, oh-let's-give-it-to-him single was pretty hilarious.

Tim McGinnis said...

I didn't "see" any of the game yesterday so I didn't realize he did that.  That is pretty funny, and I don't question his desire.  But he needs time and space to figure some stuff out that won't damage the team.  His knee hurting is as good an excuse as any.

wv23 said...

Soriano's asking for the ball was hilarious - and good natured.

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