Had I not become so jaded by, for example, miserable losses in Cincinnati in mid May, a sweep at home by the Astros, and back-to-back Pujols walk-offs, I would have said that last night’s win is the kind that can set a team off in the right direction.
- Ryan Dempster is expected to be fine for his next start after experience hip soreness/tightness before his dominating start on Wednesday against the Reds. “He did his running today, and everything led me to believe he’s on track to start in five days,” Mike Quade said. “That was strange. It’s funny, sometimes you see guys that have a little (problem) … but if you can get through that, sometimes those are some of your better performances.” Object lesson? Take advantage of the Cubs’ cavalcade of injuries by playing the injured player immediately after he gets hurt.
- Former Cubs’ hitting coach-cum-Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews has some suggestions for Carlos Zambrano. “It would do Carlos good to be around a guy like [Phillies' ace Roy] Halladay, who doesn’t talk a lot or say ‘Do this, do that,’” Matthews said. “But to see his work ethic, the way he goes about the game, studies the game, writes down stuff on every hitter … there’s something to that. That’s why the guy is great. That’s why he’s not throwing at guys, and up and down. He’s able to harness his energy on the field, as opposed to being so angry and whatever, that you can’t get your pitch here or there.” It would also do Z some good to be around Halladay because that would mean Halladay is in the Cubs’ rotation.
- Speaking of Halladay, I’m not terribly concerned about the Cubs facing him this evening. No, it’s not because the Cubs have had prior success against him (“the Cubs” have changed considerably over the years); it’s simply that, if Halladay pitches like Halladay and dominates the Cubs, you can legitimately tip your cap and move on. It’s not like being dominated by Aneury Rodriguez.
- Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson’s first rehab start at Iowa yesterday was cut short by the rain. Each went 0-2 in four innings.
- Andrew Cashner still isn’t throwing, three weeks after his previous setback. The Cubs now say they are doubling the time and effort associated with each step in the rehab process, so Cashner might not start throwing for another week or two. A late July return remains possible, but, like, don’t push it, Cubs.
- Writing for Bill Simmons’ recently-launched Internet venture, Grantland, Dave Eggers recycles the extremely played-out meme that Cubs fans go to Wrigley just to be at Wrigley and don’t care about the game – he even throws in a Bartman reference to cover all his bases. If that’s the kind of tripe that’s going to save long-form, magazine-style writing, I find it incredibly appropriate that it’s now covered by me in a short, punchy, bullet-style blog post.