I'll write a few notes on today's highly entertaining 15-11 Cub win over the White Sox in a moment.
First, I want to tell you of a trade rumor I heard today, and you're going to dismiss it, but I heard this from a source I trust, and it makes sense on a number of different levels.
The Cubs are reportedly "in discussions" with the Yankees for a deal in which the principals would be Aramis Ramirez... and Alex Rodriguez.
Yes, that's right, A-Rod could become a Cub.
Don't laugh. It does make sense; apparently the Yankees are maxed out enough on their payroll and luxury tax that they are looking to cut; they seem somewhat disappointed in A-Rod's performance so far this year, which, although very good (.279/.390/.502), is below his career norms, and they apparently feel that Ramirez, once he gets to a place where he doesn't have to be the main guy (and also would have a large Dominican community to support him), would blossom.
The Cubs, of course, can well afford the remaining years on A-Rod's contract (four more years plus a buyout), and would be making two statements by acquiring him:
- he's acknowledged as one of the best hitters in the game;
- he is a marketable star, something the Cubs have lacked since Sammy Sosa left.
This deal, if it happens, might also include Jacque Jones, and other lesser players including prospects on both sides.
I know, I know, you think I'm out of my mind. But if this happens, remember where you heard it first.
This same source told me that the White Sox are "close" to acquiring Andruw Jones from the Braves; the price would be Brian Anderson and young pitching. That deal would also make sense for both sides.
If the A-Rod to the Cubs deal happens, also expect Todd Walker to be moved (maybe to the Tigers), and at that point A-Rod moves back to SS, Ronny Cedeno to 2B, and the Cubs get a placeholder 3B until they can either sign one or trade for one in the offseason.
There! That's some food for thought for you, while you digest today's win. How this team scored 15 runs, I'll never know, especially with the lineup they fielded today. Angel Pagan, who has just about as bad an arm in RF as Jones, hit his first two major league homers today, both off Cliff Politte (some of the Sox fans around us today can't figure out why he was activated from the DL, since he seems as if he might still be hurt). Neifi also homered -- off Mark Buehrle. Carlos Zambrano homered off Buehrle. Neifi hit a two-run double off Buehrle.
Are you getting the idea that Buehrle had nothing today? He gave up ten earned runs, and it's not often that a starting pitcher is left in to take a beating like that (although the Sox gave such a beating to the Cardinals just last week, with Jason Marquis giving up thirteen earned runs).
Incidentally, that was Z's third HR of the season, at the halfway point. The last Cub pitcher to have as many or more in a single year was Fergie Jenkins, who had six in 1971, his Cy Young year, when he also won 24 games, and had 20 RBI to boot. Since Z hit his HR righthanded off the LH-hitting Buehrle, we were hoping he'd get an at-bat against a RHP reliever, so he'd have a shot at switch-hitting HR in a game, something no pitcher has ever done.
It was that kind of day. It rained hard before the game started for about half an hour, but cleared out and just sprinkled briefly during the game. Jesus The Nice Sox Fan, who I have sat next to at the Cubs/Sox games at the Cell the last couple of years, showed up and sat in front of us today, along with a couple of Cub fan friends of his, one of whom wore a 2004 Zambrano All-Star jersey from Houston's game that year.
The Sox made it interesting a couple of times, even after the seven-run Cub first; Juan Uribe, who had a fabulous series, hit a three-run HR in the 5th (none of us could understand this -- with two out and Buehrle due up next, why even pitch to him? Pitch AROUND him) to make it 7-5, and after Neifi's HR made it 11-5, the Sox cuffed around Scott Williamson (who, as noted in the game thread, went on local sports talk radio to slam the Cubs today, making it likely he'll be traded soon -- if anyone wants him after he sucked bigtime this afternoon), making it 11-7, and the two teams traded home runs by Joe Crede, Tadahito Iguchi, and Pagan, before Bob Howry finally finished it off with a forceout -- and 2B umpire Mike Reilly called that last out as if he had to THINK about it before he called it.
Howry was credited with a save, his second. I think this is incorrectly credited. A pitcher gets a save for one of three conditions:
a) coming in with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck;
b) pitching at least one full inning with no more than a three-run lead;
c) pitching three full innings with ANY lead.
Howry came into the game with a three-run lead and no one on base after Iguchi's HR. He registered an out on one pitch. After that the Cubs extended the lead to five runs; Howry DID pitch a full inning (plus), but doesn't seem to qualify under ANY of the above conditions. His full inning came AFTER the Cubs had made the lead more than three runs.
Anyway, it really doesn't matter since the Cubs did salvage one game out of this series (better than the Cardinals did against the White Sox!), and at least head on the road with a win over a very, very good team.
Sign seen: outside the park at Waveland and Kenmore, where the ballhawks sit during the game in folding chairs, a cardboard sign headed on top "DUMB QUESTIONS" with some tally marks; then the bottom of the sign "DUMB QUESTIONS FROM SOX FANS" with some more tally marks. The count of each seemed about equal.
Enjoy this juicy scoop I got today. It may never happen. But if it does, remember who told you.