Some assorted Thoughts and Rancour
1. Rafael Palmeiro is a really big jackass.
Sorry Kid Havana, I did like the style of play over yr career, not to mention the passion with which you attacked the whole Steroids Congress shenanigans. Compared to Sosa (who sat blithely behind his translator), and the teary, pathetic McGwire (who was so moved to tears he could only plead the 5th in his speech), you really showed a roomful of politicians and a nation full of believers that maybe we shouldn't be so cynical. Fingers waving, mustache ruffling, you gave the speech all 5 ballplayers should have given. Sure, you did become a Viagra spokesman, like Bob Dole before you, but the acclaim and accomplishments you reached in yr career have now become a little less glossy. And that kind of fall-from-grace really pisses me off.
Normally, I enjoy falls from grace. The two Coreys, Messrs. Feldman and Haim, C. Thomas Howell, Ice-T, Paula Poundstone (although I wouldn't call where she fell from "grace" necessarily), Macaulay Culkin, Brady Anderson, Lars Ullrich (that f*ck), the Spice Girls, Sting (post-Police), New Coke, Jerry Bruckheimer, Newt Gingrich..... the list goes on.
Palmeiro's, however, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Selig assured the country that his testing policies would work, and now they've snagged perhaps the biggest fish of all. Maybe if Mark McGuff would just 'fess up, maybe Raffy could still get on with his career. But until then, RP is the biggest stain on baseball. Kiss goodbye to that first-ballot HOF selection - you might still make it yet, but it'll take some time (or further steroid-outed players).
2. I'm still a touch skeptical about our lineup.
Yesterday (or the day before) I was blindly optimistic, like Bukowski at Oktoberfest. However, the trade is sinking in, and while it was arguably the most significant move of the trading period thanks to tight-ass GMs still clinging to delusions of the postseason (San Francisco -- a full Bonds-less year and a shitty season so far doth not a Wild Card make), it still leaves us with a few holes that have to be filled, and in-house at that.
Sorry to anyone who thinks otherwise (I'll get to this in a minute), but Corey Patterson's staying down for a while. This means that unless we do snare Damon as a Free Agent, a rumor I've bathed in since first hearing it, the other 3 OFs we use regularly will have to form one super-player. Murton, Hairston Jr, Hollandsworth -- fight to the death.
Honestly, that's not as much of a concern as our bullpen. Sure, I know, we have K-Err-y Wood and Scott "Tommy John Surgery" Williamson coming back, but that still doesn't address the problem. Over the last month, the bullpen has, for the most part, not been as tight as they were over the first 2 months or so.
*WARNING: SERIOUS STATS LAY AHEAD. NOT FOR THE WEAK OF NUMBERS*
Last 7 Days:
18 IP, 23 H, 14 ER, 14 BB, 24 K
Last 30 Days:
68 2/3 IP, 72 H, 44 ER, 44 BB, 64 K
That has to change. Currently, we have a reasonable mix in the 'pen:
(last 30 days)
Dumpster: 3-0, 2 SV, 2.31 ERA
Novoahh: 1-2, SV, 3.18
Remlingering: 0-0, 3.86
Bum Rusch: 0-1, 5.73
Bad to Wuertz: 0-0, 6.14
Meat Tray: 0-2, 6.30
Oh Man: 0-0, 6.35
When Williamson and Wood enter the fray, who will get the chop? Personally, I think Rusch should be one of those to get the midseason demotion. He's been struggling since leaving the rotation, perhaps acting more in line with his career stats than he was before (the expectations, always sky high in Chi-town). Who else? Maybe Mitre -- he's not a reliever, he's a starter, and I think he's suffering from the same shellshock as Glendon. Good in the rotation, not good in relief. It's understandable, as both situations require completely different mentalities and thinking. As a starter, you have a bit more room for error as yr the horse who drags yr team through the game. In a relief role, yr there to do a specific job. You're either a LOOGY or a 2-out, bases-loaded, relieving-the-struggling-starter-because-I-can-get-the-easy-groundout, or yr the closer. You don't have the same luxury, and that's why I'll be watching Kerry closely to see if he can muscle his way through the 7th or 8th inning.
3. Corey Patterson still sucks.
Sent down to AAA-Iowa for some R n' R, some time to visit a few Midwestern Renaissance Fairs and perhaps catch up with his watercolour painting, C-Pat has not seen the return of his swing, the resurgence of his patience, or the re-energizing of his batteries.
His batting is flaccid: 15-70 (.214, the lowest of any Iowa Cubs), 3 solo HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 5 BB and 15 K. From what I understand, he has been getting regular playing time against the gargantuan likes of Cha Seung Baek (7-6, 6.60 ERA) and Justin Hampson (3-11, 6.55 ERA), and has yet to show why he should be right back at Wrigley.
4. Things to Come.
a. a look at most of the prominent minor-league prospects in the Cubs' farm system.
b. Today's Game: Cubs @ Phillies, 7.05pm ET.
c. More discussion of Matt Lawton?