It could be a crazy day today for the Cubs, who head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals. Ryan Dempster is *scheduled* to start tonight …
- The Cubs are now the best team in baseball since June 25, going 14 and 5. No, that doesn’t make them buyers, or even change the plan to be sellers, but it’s been nice to see some fight. A big part of that stretch has been yesterday’s winner, Paul Maholm, who’s now got a 0.89 ERA in his last five appearances (four starts), allowing just 29 base runners and posting a 5.00 K/BB ratio over those 30.1 innings. Seemingly the only pitcher in baseball who’s been better of his last four starts is Ryan Dempster.
- Jeff Baker on the Cubs’ hot streak: “What are we in the Wild Card? Eleven, twelve [games out]? I’m not saying we’re going to win a wild card, but we’re playing better baseball. Obviously there are (trade) rumors and whatnot. We joke around in here we’re going to start adding pieces.” The Cubs are 12 back in the Wild Card, to the extent you started getting hopeful.
- If you want a great write-up on Ron Santo, as we get ready to see him finally inducted into the Hall of Fame, Melissa Isaacson offers it. Here’s a rundown of the weekend activities, thanks to Carrie Muskat.
- Chris Jaffe at the Hardball Times looks at some of Ron Santo’s career highlights.
- Ozzie Guillen believes in what Theo Epstein is doing with the Cubs, and believes Epstein will be successful. You can exhale now.
- A fluff piece on Jorge Soler and Albert Almora that is absolutely worth reading, even if only for the quotes. The duo are getting along well, and could work their way up the system on similar tracks.
- The grounds crew has started tearing up Wrigley Field (literally, in some places – they just dug up the pitcher’s mound, for example) in preparation for Sunday’s international soccer friendly. Hopefully it goes well. Interesting side note in that article? The two Paul McCartney concerts at Wrigley last year generated more than $660,000 in amusement taxes for the local governments. That’s to say nothing of the travel-related economic impact.
- BN’er Nick Kappel offers a great write-up on top prospect Javier Baez, who’s already looking forward to making it to Wrigley Field (wherever he has to play).
- In case you missed the absurd flurry of news and rumors last evening, here’s a five second rundown with links: Casey Coleman was scratched from his Iowa start so he could be in St. Louis today in case Justin Germano, whom the Cubs acquired from the Red Sox for cash, can’t be in St. Louis by today (in case Ryan Dempster is traded). The Cubs signed 22-year-old Dominican pitcher Juan Carlos Paniagua for $1.5 million (a huge amount under the new CBA). And there were a whole mess of new rumors in the Lukewarm Stove, including stuff on Geovany Soto, Bryan LaHair, Matt Garza, Paul Maholm, and Alfonso Soriano (and more).
- The MLBullets at BCB take a look at the Stephen Strasburg shut down plan.
- Thoughts go out to the families out in Aurora. Sometimes we receive reminders that sports are just that, and we need to hug our loved ones a little more closely.