Cubs 65-60; +1/-2
Giants 55-72; -16.5/-13.0
POTG: SP Rich Hill (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, BB, 10 K- ZERO HR!)
Runner Up: RP Carlos Marmol (2 IP, H, 2 BB, 4 K), LF Cliff Floyd (2B), 2B/RF Mark DeRosa (2 H, R), 3B A Ram (2B, 2 RBI)
This game was completely different, because the fourth on felt like a Cubs win, we were just waiting to find to out how. The last inning felt completely the same, with Floyd making a big hit, and the Cubs putting together a big rally. Either of these games really could’ve gone the other way, and the Cubs are up by 2 because they took advantage of things late. It was really great.
Hill was super great – 10 strikeouts and the rotation is looking like it’ll steam roll over everyone. Marmol was unstoppable in his two innings, and Dempster didn’t walk anyone. The Blanco squeeze was perfectly done, and it was his first ML plate appearance in months. Outside of Theriot’s error, this was just an exceptionally well played game by the Cubs. Even the Aurilla error in the 9th, it was hard hit Fonenot ball, which just happened to go to the wrong place at the right angle.
Jake Fox has been really pressing the whole time out, looking over anxious to Make Something Happening. It peaked in this game, only because it’s barely possible for him to be more impatient: 3 at bats, 5 pitches seen. That’s not going to help anyone out. Fox needs more time in the minors, but he also needs to feel more comfortable when he’s up in the majors next time (in September?) or he won’t be much use.
I’m talking like Fox is already sent down, because I’m writing this after the Craig Monroe deal has been announced, and it’s pretty obvious which spot he’s taking. I need to think about this deal some more before I come up with an opinion. I mean, it’s basically a free player – Tigers are paying the salary, and the Cubs will surely be giving back a non-prospect since Detroit was about to release him anyway – and with Pagan and Soriano out of action, they could actually use an outfielder. Monroe has never played second base, which is a point in his favor. The upside is he becomes a right handed version of Floyd and/or Ward down the stretch (and maybe into the playoffs if they went with 11 pitchers.) This requires a big bounce back form where Monroe has been hitting all season, and normally I’d just heavily dismiss that (because he also wasn’t so good to begin with), but then Kendall’s worked out okay so far and I felt the same way there.
There are two sets of numbers that make this look promising
Vs LHP: 302/317/545
Monroe’s hyped as a guy who can play all three spots. If that was accurate, you’d just have him take over the Pagan platoon with Jacque. I’m not sure it is, though, because Monroe’s only played 70 career CF games, and not much over the last few years. Granderson’s been pretty much an every day guy in that spot for them for the last few years. I think a corner platoon with Floyd, leaving Murton in the lurch again, is more likely.