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The last two weeks would have been so much fun if not for all of the losing that preceded them.

Travis Wood was just fantastic tonight until he tired in the 7th, which featured Albert Pujols homering at Wrigley Field, because he doesn’t know how to not homer when he’s at Wrigley Field.

On offense, it was all homers for the Cubs, with the one by Darwin Barney equaling the damage of the first three by Alfonso Soriano, Anthony Rizzo, and Starlin Castro. But it was the last one – the second from Soriano – that really left my jaw agape. This guy is really incredible when he’s on. I have run out of non-repetitive ways to describe just how good he’s been.

july 9 box

Full box.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Keep that fire burning!

  • Cheese Chad

    How about those new bullpen guys. . .

    • hansman1982

      Dayng…

    • Scott

      No doubt. Are either of them under contract for next year? They’ve both been solid since coming over.

      • caryatid62

        Strop is under Cubs control until 2018.

      • Whiteflag

        Guerrier is a free agent next year, I believe

  • W_Francisco

    dat bullpen tho….

    • Nick

      So much determination…

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    No steals for Soriano. FAIL.

    Seriously, that 2nd home run was on a hard up-and-in fastball, and he turned on it. Crazy.

    Kinda funny that the Dodgers are looking to pick up some of our guys, and we’re just 3.5 back of them. Now ahead of the Padres, who a week ago were thought to be a possible trade partner for Garza.

  • hansman1982

    Soriano smokin hot, Castro beginning to shake off the slump. Damn, why didn’t this happen 2 months ago?

  • Andrew

    If he keeps hitting like this he’ll be gone in no time!

    • Scott

      Would you mind seeing them keep him around? I’m not sure things get easier for Rizzo without Soriano.

      • YourResidentJag

        Depends on who they get if they’d replace him. I could see a few players on short term deals. Depending on health next year, Corey Hart or maybe C Brian McCann.

  • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

    Glad to see Wood going allstar w/out a losing record!

    • Funn Dave

      Definitely.

  • Dawn Strand

    Great pitching, great defense, and crazy offense. Doesn’t get any sweeter than that…

  • daveyrosello

    I think the Angels will soon know how the Cubs feel about having Soriano’s boat anchor contract weighing them down the past several years. Pujols and especially Hamilton, egads, talk about your poor return on the dollar. Ryan Howard is a worse contract, but that’s about it. Shoot, Sori is a BARGAIN compared to these guys.

    • Whiteflag

      Dodgers will be feeling it too. No player will ever justify a 100 million dollar contract in my opinion.

      • hansman1982

        Eh, ARod has earned his contracts thus far, Soriano earned his so far.

        The big ones work out about half the time, but if you’re wrong. WOWSERS.

        • caryatid62

          The problem is the players that are worth $100 million (or more) are all young enough that they’re ineligible for Free Agency. I would say that Trout, Harper, Machado, and Kershaw are all worth a lot more than $100 million right now.

          Baseball is probably the only sport whose rules virtually guarantee you’ll be woefully underpaid until you’re 29-30, then ridiculously overpaid from 30-38. It’s a weird phenomenon.

        • Whiteflag

          I wouldn’t say they earned them. If I had the choice to sign either one of them again, to that size of a contract, I wouldn’t. However, their contracts haven’t been a clear disaster like the rest of the mega contracts.

          • hansman1982

            In terms of dollars per WAR (and I’ll have to dig out my free agent tracker again some day) they were two of the best big dollar contracts and close to the mythical $5M per.

            • Whiteflag

              I’m just not a fan of the mega contract. I understand that’s how baseball works, but I just think they are high risk/minimal reward. Soriano is still owed 26 million, right? That’s a lot for a player who will a be a DH in no time. In my personal opinion, I’d rather go the route of say the braves. You rarely hear them make a big splash in free agency (excluding this year), yet they are consistent winners. Again, I understand you can justify the contracts with WAR, but I think the money could have been spent better.

              • caryatid62

                Soriano was not a DH for, at the very least, 7 years of the 8-year contract. I’d say that was pretty good.

                • Whiteflag

                  He will be a DH after the break and next year more than likely. I’m not necessary ripping on Soriano. I don’t dislike him at all. I think he plays hard everyday, and takes a lot of unnecessary criticism because of his contract. I do dislike the big contracts these guys get. I don’t think they are worth it. But that’s how the market is right now, I guess, I better get over it.

                  • caryatid62

                    But that’s still 7 out of 8 years of pretty solid production.

                    The problem isn’t the idea of the big contract. It’s that, when it goes bad, EVERYBODY wants to talk about it. When it goes well, it’s expected and sometimes, still derided.

                    I think it’s more important to be against big contracts for players who aren’t likely to earn the money they’re going to get. If I could get ARod at 25, you better believe I’d spend $250-$300 million on him. Josh Hamilton at 32 with a history of injury? Not so much.

                    • Whiteflag

                      That is a valid point. However, it seems there are several injury prone/ old players getting the big contracts. In general, I am against large, long-term contracts. I do like locking up young players like Castro, Rizzo, etc. Which also has some risk, but in my opinion its a safer bet.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Also, Sori was critical to winning division titles in ’07 and ’08. That’s the flaw in the “minimal reward” idea: if you don’t fork over the big $$$ over multiple guys for the guy you need to contend over the next couple of years, then you might miss a shot at post-season.

                      (The reply “but they didn’t win it all in ’07 or ’08” is completely irrelevant: you can build a team to contend for October over the winter, but how teams do in October reflects how well they are playing at the end of the season; and as many teams such as the ’08 Cubs showed, teams that are really good April-August often tank in September, with no apparent rhyme or reason.)

          • caryatid62

            ARod absolutely earned every dollar of his $252 million in the contract he signed in 2000 with Texas. In just the 7 seasons before he opted out, he amassed a WAR of 56 ($4.5 mil/win). He actually was undervalued just 7 years into the 10 year deal.

            Holy crap.

            • Whiteflag

              Doc,

              I get what you are saying. Large contracts are part of the puzzle, and Soriano was without a doubt instrumental in ’07 and ’08. I just often wonder if that $100 million could have been spent differently and resulted in the same outcome. I was really just stating my opinion, that I dislike the mega contracts. I understand it’s not be logical or rational. But it is my opinion that its a high risk bet, and I am not a fan. I think they hand-cuff you for years when they don’t pan out. To me its not worth it.

      • SenorGato

        There’s plenty who have done it tbh. Hell, I can think of a few guys who blew their contract out of the water (Pujols, ARod, Beltran, Cliff Lee, probably Ramirez and Helton).

        Honestly the major issue with these deals is probably the years and health risk. Otherwise the players who have landed them generally earned them when on the field.

        • Whiteflag

          Yeah, but you can’t exclude the years. That’s part of the reason they are a bad bet, in my opinion. Not to mention, when they fail you can’t easily unload them. I just don’t think the risk is worth the reward, personally.

          • Bacboris

            You recognize right, that nothing you are saying is ‘logical’ or ‘reasonable’? Its just, “big contracts don’t sit well with me.”

            Marquee Players will earn big contracts. The sheer money rolling into the sport guaranteed that along time ago. Your weird thing about “100 million” dollars as a benchmark is just like the “why are all these players bitching about being paid millions to play a game.” Its inherently irrational and not worth the 5-6 comments defending it.

            • Whiteflag

              Yep. I do. I didn’t mean for $100 million dollars to be a bench mark. My point was I don’t think the mega contracts are worth the risk. Too many of them flounder and then you are stuck with the contract for years to come. I am sorry, I offended you with my opinion.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                I think that Bacboris’ point is that your argument is not based on logic, in that you are not offering conclusions that necessarily follow from some set assumption and the data.

                Insofar as you do have a premise, then it seems to be that a contract is not worth it if, at any time, the player does not perform up to that contract. However, if a player turns up and produces huge numbers in the early years, then the contract might well be worth it *just for those seasons alone.* Now, obviously it offends you that the guy still gets huge dollars in is declining years, but in many ways, the guy earned *all* of the money during the early years: the team is just distributing the payments over time.

                Now, you might say that it was never worth it: but what (usually) makes it worth it is that *another* team was willing to pay almost as much.

                • Whiteflag

                  I understand what you are saying. Some of them workout, and I shouldn’t have made such a blanket statement. I didn’t think it would cause such a argument. However, I personally would shy away from the huge contract.

            • Hansman1982

              Actually, marquee players often fail to live up to it. For every Soriano there’s Barry Zito and Carl Crawford and Albert Pujols.

  • splatstrike

    Hey, you think we’ll get to see Arrieta over here before Sept. call-ups?

    • daveyrosello

      Not if he pitches like he did tonite. Not good.

    • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

      Not sure about that. Go check Iowa’s box score for today’s game. He’s got a lot to clean up.

      • willis

        Yep he blows. But I’ll take Strop’s performance so far for Feldman. Strop looks great in relief. Be great if he can keep it up because having a flame thrower like that is a huge for the pen now and going forward.

        • caryatid62

          Lots of hits against Arrieta; at least there weren’t many walks…I guess…

      • hansman1982

        At least it was only 1 BB and 3 K’s in 3.2 IP. Something positive, I suppose.

      • another JP

        Arrieta had a bad night, but the PCL can be that way. If I remember correctly, Wood scuffled a bit went sent down to Iowa last year after ST and he’s really come along. A lot of pitchers come in with bad initial results and improve, so if Arrieta can gain any type of control we have a good one. Strop has done quite well so far.

        • andoalex

          Also, the coaching staff is probably playing with his mechanics some so the results might not be there for awhile. If he was a finished project we wouldn’t have gotten him for Feldman.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    And really nice to see both Castro and Rizzo go deep. They both needed that.

  • willis

    Great game. Wood was on, Castro and Rizzo had bombs, Soriano was off the chain and the pen held it with nice performances.

    And whenever Gregg does get traded, you slide Parker into that closer role. He’s got it.

  • mudge

    Sori consistently puts up good seasons with inconsistent hitting. Bipolar offense. Glad for him. & Rizzo & Castro & Barney.

  • Rebuilding

    Webster is getting pounded for the Red Sox again. Doesn’t hurt our situation

    • YourResidentJag

      Come on Red Sox. Be bidders!

  • Tim

    Beginning to absolutely fall in love with Guerrier and Strop. Completely diggin that trade.
    And FINALLY a multi-hit game from Rizzo.
    Now if we can stop blowing out teams, maybe we can continue to build value from Lights Out Gregg

    • hansman1982

      Guerrier for Marmol, right now, unequivocal win for the Cubs. Hands down.

      • mudge

        Spectacular.

        • hansman1982

          Ya, it’s awesome.

      • Cyranojoe

        Not a small sample size issue?

        • Hansman1982

          Nope, the fact we got 5 amazing innings so far is enough.

  • Ralph

    Soriano!!!

  • 3fingers more than I

    Who are these guys and what have you done to my Cubs

  • IndyCubsFan

    Think Strop is saying “I told you so” to the Orioles. Not half-bad! Wonder if Lincecum could reinvent himself with the Cubs…

    • SenorGato

      The interesting thing about Lincecum is that he has not been injured, its just the natural decline in velocity from ageing. He still strikes guys out because his secondary pitches have always been strong.

      It will not be easy BUT the good thing is that hes been trying to adjust for two years and did get better. I really would not mind pursuing him as its a pretty safe bet he will not break the bank. I think its as good an idea as pursuing Phil Hughes or Johan Chamberlain, the only other interesting FA arms I can think of after Garza.

      • Rebuilding

        I agree that he’s the kind of guy that you could buy low on much like our pickups last offseason. Man was he fun to watch when he had the velocity. Lincecum is one of those guys 6’0″ and under starters that are so rare. The extra “oomph” they have to generate, just based on biomechanics, seems to cause them to lose velocity/get injured sooner. He does seem to be learning to be a different pitcher

      • Cyranojoe

        Decline in velocity from aging? Dude is 29. Isn’t that a little early?

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Soriano’s July so far 31AB, .355 avg, 6 HR, 12 RBI 1.350 OPS.

    Watch out Puig.

  • Chrisfchi

    W.T.F! Stuck working w/o radio or t.v. Seems like these guys are really lighting it up. We’re what, 8 games under .500 now? Where was this a month ago? Idk but I hope it keeps rolling, maybe extending Garza and Shark isn’t a bad idea. (Just my opinion)

  • ssckelley

    We seen something today that I am not sure we will ever see again. Any guesses?

    • Falselife

      As many homers as strike outs?

      • ssckelley

        No, although I am not sure we have seen that to many times either.

    • Rebuilding

      Castro and Rizzo homering in the same game?

      • ssckelley

        Gosh I hope we see that again, a bunch of times.

        Getting closer though, it was something that happened between 2 players.

        • Matt D

          sori and castro walking in the same inning.

          • ssckelley

            Nailed it.

    • cubchymyst

      Castro and Soriano both walking

      • ssckelley

        In the same inning, I was stunned when it happened. Unfortunately it did not result in any runs.

  • dying cubs fan’s last request

    If Fonz can play in hot weather and DH most of the season thats it. Other teams should be like shut up and take my money.

  • mudge

    Cubs have same record as the Giants. On the South Side, Alex Rios went 6 for 6, including vs Verlander for 7 innings. Crazy times in Chi-town.

    • http://vdcinc.biz 70’scub

      On the Southside, please find another sight to troll!

  • Rebuilding

    Sveum sounds like a giddy schoolgirl on the postgame. I know I give him a lot of guff for in game decisions, but I’m happy for him. All of the losing and bad baseball over the last two years has had to wear on him

    • Rebuilding

      One other thing Sveum said on the postgame that makes me love Travis Wood even more. He said he though Wood got tired in the 7th because in the previous inning he busted his ass down the line on a routine ground ball. Dale just laughed and said “that’s Travis Wood”

      • waittilthisyear

        “some people, you can talk to em til your blue in the face, but you can’t talk the baseball out of em.” dale said about travis. dude is the man

  • Fastball

    We got us a winning streak. If they can win out til the break… woo hoo … bullpen pitchers why oh why did it take so long.

  • Clark Addison

    Soriano’s contract doesn’t look quite so bad now.

    Thanks, Jim Hendry.

  • Kyle

    Give us back 4 blown saves out of 18 this year, and your looking at .500 club. Besides a few awful relievers, it has not been a bad season

    • hansman1982

      Amazing what a win streak does for the comments section.

      • Rebuilding

        Well, I think Sveum should have brought in…nah, not tonight

      • King Jeff

        Don’t worry, it will be back to fire Dale and trade Castro every other post in a few days.

      • Whiteflag

        Haha…don’t get to giddy. I’m sure the downers have something negative to say.

  • Drinkin Blue Kool-Aid

    If not for a largely inept offense & sporadic pen most of the early part of the season, this team isn’t all bad (which Brett has correctly documented a few times this season). For a rebuilding year, this is a marked improvement with a nice influx of young talent in the minors. We’re getting there!!

  • Paul AssenmachWAR

    I’m gonna miss Soriano when he is gone. He was that puppy you got, and you were so excited to have him, and then he grew into a big, ugly dog, and for a few years, you couldn’t stand him, but time made him endearing to you, and now you can’t imagine life without him.

    • Scott

      Even though he shat all over the floor you are still attached to him. I get you.

  • Kyle

    To be honest I don’t get why people dislike Sori. Yes he makes alot of money but he has been productive all the years he has been here

    • cubbie blue thru n thru

      I couldnt agree more people act as if its Sori’s fault the cubs gave him that ridiculous contract

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