The Cubs traded Joey Gathright to the Orioles for Ryan Freel, a player that was scratched from playing today because he has hamstring tightness. Perfect.
Oh, by the way, the bullpen imploded again in a 12-6 loss to the Brewers. Now Aaron Heilman can’t find the plate. Chad Fox, whom they just called up, got hurt throwing a pitch in the eighth inning. Derrek Lee is going to have tests done on his neck tomorrow. He didn’t play, again. Ramirez will be out at least six weeks. Geovany Soto looks disinterested. I’m afraid to watch tomorrow’s game to see what’s going to happen next.
On Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija was sent down to Iowa and right handed reliever Chad Fox was called up to the majors. From what I’ve read, the Cubs intend to start Samardzija for Iowa on Saturday. Why did they bring him up to put him in the bullpen? Piniella said today that they have a young bullpen and they could use a veteran reliever in the pen. Fox is a 38 year old journeyman. From all accounts, Fox pitched well during the spring. So, why didn’t they just call up Fox instead of Samardzija in the first place? Samardzija needs time in the minors. He has one pitch, a fastball, and major leaguers clearly have have caught up with it. On Tuesday, Aaron Rowand was in an 0 for twenty something slump and the cure for that turned out to be Jeff Samardzija. He’s not fooling anyone right now. I realize they have a huge stake in Samardzija, they did pay him some huge signing bonus with a ton of guaranteed money. For now, the Cubs should stick to developing Samardzija as a starter. I believe that is where he will have the most value to the team.
While watching tonight’s game at a local sports bar/eatery in our area, my wife and I couldn’t help notice how aggressive Ryan Theriot is becoming at the plate. Does he now think he’s a home run hitter? In the second inning he opened the at bat with two consecutive home run hacks. Sure, I was happy to see the recent power surge out of Theriot, mainly because it helped the Cubs win some games. Ryan, you’re my favorite player, but you’re not Aramis Ramirez all of a sudden! Keep doing what you do best, working the count, drawing walks, timely base hits, etc. Derrek Lee is the player I’d like to see more aggressive at the plate.
It was good to see the Cubs give Rich Harden some immediate run support. The Cubs’ four run outburst in the first inning against the Astros was highlighted by a three run triple by Reed Johnson. Harden, in turn, reciprocated by tossing what was probably his best outing of the year. Cubs win 6-3.
Ted Lilly goes for win number four in game two against Houston.
I need to take this time to rant about my Lakers. Tonight, the Lakers beat the Rockets 111-98 to tie the series at a game apiece. They absolutely needed to lose that game one the other night. The Lakers have not played a four quarter game in about a month. Sure, they’ve been winning their games, but when you consistently build 15 to 20 point leads in the second half over opponents only to let them get back to within four or five late in the fourth, something is wrong. They’re unfocused. They’re not making free throws. We’ve seen glimpses of the Incredible Shrinking Gasol. They’re committing stupid fouls putting the opponent in the penalty with like 8 minutes left in a quarter. Something has to give. Getting embarrassed Monday at home was probably the best thing for the Lakers. A crack over the head to wake them up. They cannot take the Rockets lightly. They’ll probably pull out this series, but honestly, right now Denver’s going to beat them in the next round. The Lakers are at a crossroads. One of two things can happen. Either they will play like the champions they think they are or their erratic play will catch up to them.