Chicago, after a week that saw them lose 6-of-7, is still only two games back in the loss column of first place in the NL Central. The Cubs are 3.5 games behind the Brewers and Cardinals, but only 1.5 games ahead of last place, perennial cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh.
Here is a quick wrap-up of last week’s results, along with a couple newsworthy happenings.
6/22: The Cubs started a ten-game, four-city road trip by playing one of the most frustrating games I have had the *privilege* to watch over the past 20+ years. Chicago hitters combined to strand 19 runners in a 2-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves in a make-up game of the June 4th rainout.
6/23: Now in Detroit, the Cubs looked like they were going to bounce back and take the first game of this series. After Brandon Inge gave Detroit a 3-2 lead via a 2-run YAK EM! in the seventh, Micah Hoffpauir promptly gave Chicago the lead back with a 2-run YAK EM! of his own in the eighth. Then Kevin Gregg came on and blew the save, issuing a lead off walk to Don Kelly and the game winning walk-off YAK EM! to pinch hitter Ryan Raburn. The Tigers won 5-4.
6/24: More of the same in Detroit as the Cubs fell 5-3 while stranding 13 more runners on base. Sweet Lou was left with this say following the game: “I might leave the couple guys that are doing their jobs in their places and draw out the rest of them. We couldn’t be any worse.”
6/25: Even Ted Lilly couldn’t end the madness as he gave up six runs on 10 hits – tying a career high – and lost for the first time in a month. Derrek Lee’s career-high 21-game hit streak was snapped and Chicago was swept out of Detroit 6-5. Jake Fox did connect for his first career YAK EM!, a three-run shot in the first inning of his 23rd game.
6/26: Geovany Soto hit a three-run YAK EM! in the seventh inning to put the Cubs up 5-2. Carlos Marmol tried to blow it in the eighth, giving up a two-run double to Jim Thome, but the Cubs held on to win it 5-4. Even on the only day Chicago won this week, there was the whole Milton Bradley ordeal, as after flying out routinely in the sixth, Bradley attacked the water cooler and was told to go home early by Piniella.
6/27: The Cubs couldn’t get a winning streak going, despite being ahead 7-6 going to the bottom of the eighth. Carlos Marmol again blew the lead (his fourth blown save this year; he had two all of 2008), giving up a two-out single to Alexi Ramirez, scoring Gordon Beckham to tie the game. Then with two-outs in the ninth, Jose Ascanio came on and promptly walked the first batter he faced, then served up the game winning hit to Beckham, who just one inning earlier had scored the tying run. The White Sox won 8-7 and the Cubs were back to their losing ways.
6/28: Today the Cubs just stunk. They were shut out 6-0 by John Danks and the ChiSox. Chicago managed just four hits all day. Pathetic. The White Sox now lead the interleague series that began in 1997 by the count of 36-35.
Bad News of The Week: Soto tested positive for marijuana during the WBC (not that anyone cares, Sweet Lou certainly doesn’t). Milton Bradley blew up in the dugout, Piniella sent him home, followed him to the clubhouse and apparently told him “You’re not a player, you’re a piece of sh*t.” The two quickly made up. And then came the worst-case scenario: Mark DeRosa, who’s abscence from this year’s team many are blaming for its ineptitude, was traded to hated St. Louis for basically a stick of baseball card bubble gum.
Good News of The Week: Not much, but Aramis Ramirez did take batting practice the past three days and could begin his rehab assignment in the next couple days.