Bullets (8/2/11)

I’m in a state of apathy right now when it comes to the Cubs. I know that’s a bad thing to confess on a blog that’s solely geared toward the team, but I’m just struggling to get enthusiastic. I think part of the problem is that most of my energy is being geared toward my move next Wednesday. It’s not a huge move- just 30 some miles- but I forgot how draining it can be! There are so many little details to take care of, which is fine. However, it’s making focusing on other things (such as blogging about the Cubs) difficult. So today’s post is just more bullets and general musings.

  • Derrek Lee is a class act. Sure he hit two home runs in his Pirates debut last night, but as you may recall, I have always been a huge D-Lee fan and I honestly only want to see him do well. If his bat and Gold Glove worthy defense can help the Pirates catch the Cardinals and become post-season contenders, I’m all for it. Lee also said he sympathizes with the team’s struggles this year: “I’m really close to those guys. It’s hard to see them struggle,” Lee said. “I thought they would have a good year this year, especially because of that rotation. But we all know baseball’s a crazy game. They had some tough injuries right out of the gate. You hate to see them struggle like that, but hopefully they can finish strong like they did last year.” cubs.com
  • Despite Jim Hendry citing more playing time for Tyler Colvin as one of the benefits of the Fukudome trade, the youngster has only played in two games since the trade. Reed Johnson has been doing a passable job filling in, and I wonder if the Cubs front office is trying to boost his appeal by showing that he’s a healthy, reliable, utility player in order to boost his trade prospects. Mike Quade was quoted as saying “He [Reed Johnon] has got stupid numbers against this guy” referring to Monday’s Pirates starter, Paul Maholm. I’m not entirely sure what that comment is supposed to mean, but Johnson managed a hit, a run and an RBI in yesterday’s game, so I guess it’s a positive thing?
  • I’m very happy that Carlos Pena was not involved in a trade before the July 31 deadline. To me it signals that maybe the Cubs aren’t going to drop big money during the off-season on a ridiculous long-term contract with Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. Or maybe it just means that they weren’t going to get a return that they felt was worth parting with Pena. Regardless of the front office’s reasons, I’m not the only one that was happy to see Pena stay. The first basemen had heaps of praise for Jim Hendry, saying he trusts Hendry’s vision for the team and the direction that the GM seems to be taking the organization in. This is the part where I want to cite the Cubs’ record, criticize their lack of movement at the trade deadline, and theorize that Hendry will be filing for unemployment in two months time, but ya know what: the last two wins totally prove that Hendry did the very wise thing in not moving anyone or trying to get prospects at the deadline. … Like I said, I’m glad that Pena is sticking around for the time being.
  • Carlos Zambrano continues to show that he is still a viable pitcher who can contribute to a team’s roster. While he allowed more base-runners than is ideal, he managed to not lose his cool after walking two batters in a row and having words with the home plate umpire after a call he felt should have gone his way. WGN radio reported that his velocity increased after that. To me that’s a signal that rather than blowing his top, Carlos took control of the situation (and his emotions) and put more intention into his pitches. It was the 11th quality start in 17 games since the All-Star break and another chance for Zambrano to prove that regardless of whether he stays in Chicago next season or is traded for prospects, he’s anything but irrelevant. It was good to see the controlled fire. I’ve missed that side of Z.
  • Last but not least, Brett over at Bleacher Nation has a thought-provoking, fair rebuttal to Marlon Byrd’s blog post about the questionable Matt Holliday slide from last week’s game against the (Dirty Red Birds) Cardinals. Brett points out how inaccurate Byrd’s comments are and how the Cubs inadvertently (intentionally?) threw Starlin Castro under the bus. It’s good stuff.