Rodrigo Lopez hurled a gem last night, already his third quality start of the year (in just five starts). That places him fourth on the team behind only Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Carlos Zambrano.
- Carlos Marmol, who threw a scoreless – with two walks and two strikeouts (so it was a very traditional Marmol appearance) – ninth inning last night, says time studying video and working with pitching coach Mark Riggins helped. He’s still not the closer yet, but he’s on his way back.
- Ryan Dempster says Mike Quade hasn’t lost the team’s respect, and that whatever happened between the two of them a week and a half ago is “water under the bridge.” It sounds like Dempster was mostly upset because, before that game in Pittsburgh, he had told his teammates, “don’t worry, I got you guys.” Five innings of work was not what he had in mind when he said he had his teammates.
- Jon Greenberg writes an impassioned piece about Aramis Ramirez accepting a trade to help himself, another team, and the Cubs. It’s a good read. I’ll have more on Ramirez later this morning, so you may want to hold your thoughts.
- Kerry Wood is completely healthy, says Mike Quade. He’s just not, you know, pitching all that well right now.
- Quade hasn’t heard from MLB about his anti-umpire remarks this weekend. It sounds like he’s unlikely to be punished, and part of the reason is because the call about which he was complaining – a missed pick-off at second base in a decisive 8th inning against the Marlins – was wrong on the field. Wait, what? You’re less likely to be punished for blasting umpires in the media if you were right about the umpire’s mistake? That makes no sense.
- The Cubs are not opposed to having the Seventh Inning Stretch become a sponsored thing. On the one hand, that would really dent the tradition – but let’s be honest: since Harry left us, has it really felt the same anyway? Plus, revenue is revenue, baby.
- Bleed Cubbie Blue looks at how inexperienced the Cubs’ coaching staff is, in total, and the results are simultaneously shocking and not at all surprising (spoiler alert: the Cubs don’t have jack for experience).
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are in sole possession of first place in the NL Central.