The Cubs are 16-9 over their last 25 games and are only 2.5 games out of fourth place behind the Milwaukee Brewers. First baseman Anthony Rizzo has a triple slash of .330/.371/.587, including his first-ever walk-off home run, which came against the loathsome St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday in a 10-inning, 4-2 win. Shortstop Starlin Castro has hit only .245 in July, but still has an overall average of .286 and is on pace to finish with 16 home runs and 82 RBI. I choose to focus on the Cubs’ building blocks because…well…they’re the building blocks. Oh yeah, if Darwin Barney keeps up his stellar play in the field and doesn’t win a Gold Glove, I will riot in the streets of Chicago for an entire 12 seconds. Suck it, Mayor Emanuel.
The Cubs won their baseball contest against the vaunted Pirates yesterday, 14-4. Both Castro and Rizzo homered, and there were hugs in the dugout…and trades. Arguably the hottest starting pitcher in baseball since his debacle in Arizona on June 23, southpaw Paul Maholm was traded along with reserve outfielder Reed Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman, both right handers and 22 and 25, respectively. Vizcaino was highly regarded in the Braves farm system before undergoing Tommy John surgery, something that obviously didn’t deter Theoyerleod from making a move to acquire him as part of a trade. 2012 Cubs whipping boy and sometimes-catcher Geovany Soto was also traded, to the Texas Rangers for a 24 year-old right-handed pitcher, Jake Brigham, who is currently in AA. Apparently, the Cubs are also close to moving starter Ryan Dempster to the Dodgers, but there are still some minor kinks to be worked out. Let’s hope Theoyerleod move Sori and Garza before the deadline expires, too.
As far as this semi-train wreck of a 2012 season goes, there are 61 games left, which obviously includes the second of a three-game set against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. First pitch will be thrown at 7:05 and hurling for the Cubs will be…I’m not sure. Dempster was slated to start, but he might be playing in the sandbox with his pal Ted Lilly by the time the game gets underway. No matter, starting for the Bucs will be northpaw AJ Burnett (12-3, 3.52 ERA, 1.25 WHIP), who has enjoyed a successful ’12 campaign thus far. Go. Cubs.