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It’s Here… We are Halfway Through The Season and Just Passed July 4th!

finally-half-way I had begun this last week, Friday, but was interrupted, so didn’t get it finished. Besides, the Cubs just played their 81st and 82nd games, yesterday…a day/night double-dip win from those accursed RedTurds. So, as we’re past the 4th…and I’m gonna say at the season’s midpoint…here are  my views as I used to just share with T-Brewski.

Holy Crap on a Cracker! Don’t worry. I’m not going all “IT’S GONNA HAPPEN” on them. However, they are a far, far cry from the BOHICAs of the past, several years. They won both games, yesterday; scoring 12-runs in the process. Time was, the BOHICAs would have given up 17 and lost both, in excruciatingly painful fashion. They did not. I missed the afternoon game as I’d had some other matters to attend to but watched the entire night-cap. (I apologized to MBH, telling her that I have not been this eager to watch this team in I did not know how long!) Rather than dwell on yesterday, I’m going to review the season; the players; Theo & Co. and even the ballpark, thus far…the good…the not-so, and whatever.

The Good.

1. Was it merely serendipitous that allowed Joe Maddon to become a free agent, last fall? Is what we are seeing at 1060 W. Addison some Fata Morgana; an ethereal or surreal out-of-body-experience occurring simultaneously to some 30,000 people at one time, not to mention those across the country watching them on the Tube? We are seeing aggressive baseball being plaed; da in and day out. It’s fun.

I disdain hypothetical questions and while this may be, it may not. Here goes. Would the Cubs, as currently constituted, be playing at a .554-clip with Ricky Renteria managing them? This works out to 89.748-wins, which I’ll just round up to 90.(More onthat later.) Again, would Ricky have them playing as they have? After Monday’s lousy-loss, I think most would have been OK with a split. After all, these are the RedTurds. But they did not. They did not lose their discipline; they did not give up. They displayed what my old coach called “MTXE”: Mental Toughness Xtra Effort”. I don’t think so. I’m not referring to the sideshow stuff like the magician in New York. He just has them playing tough, gritty, baseball. The last game I attended was the 1-0, 10th inning win in which Grenke and Hammel were the starters. The crowd was on fire. It was fun to have been there.

2. Pitching. I’d had a hate on for the bullpen, especially Rootie Kazootie, aka, Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon. (Whenever Hector would enter a game, I’d mentally recall Achilles threat to kill him and eat his liver outside the walls of Troy, he’d make me so angry) But it seems they’ve reconstituted “The Applesauce Man”, Jason Mott, as their closer; relegating each of the others back an inning. So far; so good. Getting Ramirez back…talk about the ‘redheaded step-child”…should help their middle relief.

As far as the starters are concerned, whodathunk that at this time, Lester the Jester’d be #3, while Arrieta and Hammel were 1 & 2? It seems “The Perfesser”, Hendricks, has pulled his egg-head outta his heinie and is pitching more as he had last year. If he keeps this up, they are solid through 4-starters. (I’ll address the negs later.)

Speaking of this..and I’ve asked it before…is Chris Bosio that good of a pitching coach? Recall how good Smarj was, here. But since he’s been away, he’s been, well, ordinary. Others have come through when they were “flipping”; improved here; were traded; got big contracts and are, well, mostly, ordinary elsewhere.

3. Hitting. I’ve finally bought into Maddon’s hitting the pitcher 8th. Yes. I thought LaRussa was a butthole with it. However, in seeing the positives of it once the line-up turns over, with the #9-hitter, becoming a 2nd-leadoff man, so to speak, I may not be a big fan but I’m not agin it, neither..

Fowler. I’m wondering if that ankle injury’s a bit more serious than what’s been said. He’s really fallen down, B/A-wise. JD’s been talking about how he needs to be more “Willie Mays Hayes”. Well, it’s up to Maddon to have that talk with him. Love his “D”.

Willy Mays Hayes

Rizzo’s  a studly-stud. He’s as solid a hitter as they have had in a long time. He never gives in. He doesn’t give away at-bats and I haftasay, has some stones, crowding the plate as he does, with no padding. Love his approach with 2-strikes on him.

Bryant. We now are seeing what all those baseball-geeky-publications were talking about with him. What I like about him…Rizzo, too…is that while he has power…awesomely so, at times…he’s also a solid hitter. He’s been in the process of being “booked” by the scouts. It will be interesting to see who teams adjust to him and he to them.

“Fidel”. OK, I don’t know how long I have been saying I won’t be surprised if they trade Castro, but I still won’t. Mainly because of his inconsistencies. I don’t know how many times he and Coghlan…or someone else…have come through with clutch hits to win games. Still, he’s been in a rut lately, though he did get a key hit last night.

Soler/Cerrano. He’s just back and hit into some bad luck yesterday. I thought he was done playing “chase” with curve balls low and away, but alas,. Anyway, he reminds me so much pf Pedro, I couldn’t resist this link. Maybe if I send it to him, who knows? If he gets his scheiss together, he’ll hit them out of the Grand Canyon.

Major League: F*** you Jobu, I do it myself

More on the hitters in the “Not so…”.

Defense.

1. Holy moley! They have a CF who is a for-real ballhawk, who can -just about – run down most an flyballs hit his way. I like that Fowler wears #24. Soler, as big and strong as he is, has some agility and ability  in right, with a cannon for an arm. He got to a ball in the gap last night and the ‘Turds’ baserunner held at 2nd. Nice. Coghlan is solid in left.

The infield is pretty solid. Bryant’s OK at 3rd; Fidel needs to be more consistent on routine grounders. While playing out of position, Russell’s been really good at 2nd. Hell, it’s like Ryno moving from 3rd..he was a SS and Russell a SS’s arm at 2nd. Nice. Rizzo’s a freakin’ stud. I love this kid. Ross and Montero are doing well. The catcher is the most important man on defense. Whatever they hit over “ordinary” is gravy. These guys are fine.

Bench.

I’m going to transition into “Not so”, now, as I do not understand why the carry 12-pitchers. that only leaves them with 4-guys, as the back-up catcher has to be kept available. Now…

NOT SO…

1. Pitching. They need another solid starter. Not a #1 but one who can win as often as he loses. Of course, that’s based on the Perfesser, (Hendricks) keeping what he found from last year.

The bullpen seems to be gelling, so we’ll have to wait and see.

2. Hitting. The have had timely hitting. They have worked deep counts. Thety are winning close games. es. But the need a thumper. One with the ona fides to sacre the pitcher into messing his pants, instead of breathing a sigh of relief after Rizzo, Bryant and – maybe – Soler. Watchi9ng these games with the “urds, I’ve fantasized about Justin Heyward in right for the Cubs, with Soler moving over to left; leave Fowler where he is. YOWZAH! Of course, that’s a post-season move, as he’s in his “walk year. I like Coghlan. He’s a “nice plaer” but who’d you rather have? yeah. Thought so. They do, ahem, “miss a lot of pitches” as Theo and Jed say.

I’m wondering if Castro will stay? Am almost certain the Baez injury will have an effect on that. Whatever I’ve read/heard/seen reported as to what MLB scouts have said, it’s that Baez is their best SS. Period.

Speaking of shortstops, Russell seems a bit lost lately. Maybe he needs the break. Again, he’s being scouted and he has to learn to adjust. That pitch he chased in the idrt or strike-three last night was terrible. We’re talking defense, here.

3. Defense. Some inconsistencies. Making routine plays. (That wild throw form the ‘Turds’ pitcher to 2nd, made me think hat that’d have been something the BOHICAs would have done.) It could be better but it’s bee kjuch, much, worse.

THE BALLPARK.

I’ve been to two games. 1, with only the left-field board and the other with both. I like them. There’s info on the pitches, pitchers, hitters, etc.

I also am of the opinion that their architects took the rooftops into account when they designed the new bleachers, as it seems they mimic the rooftops, so when looking out, they, the rooftops, seem like the are part of the park. Look, I don’t care about nostalgia. I want to see an NL pennant flying over that ballpark. If they get the World Series, too, no problemo.

So, what to do? You may not believe me but I think they should keep on doing what they’ve been doing. Unless there is some kind of crazy-assed trade is offered for a for-real stud-muffin, keep those prospects. We’ve come too far, waded though waist-deep crap for too long to get here, to just toss it all away. What I’m saying is, while I am edgy and want them to win, I don’t want them giving away their future, for a shot at the Wild Card, only to get bounced in the first round.. Yes. I know. The Giants were the Wild Card last year. After all, we go back to m first assertion. If Ricky Renteria were still their manager, would we be having this conversation? I doubt it. The’d be right around .500 but not here. Not yet. They are a year early.

I’m going to leave the Sox to the ABDN, crew; theMutts to Joe and whomever else wants to toss in their two-cents on their teams or the Cubs. Next time, should be Labor Day.

BFW


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