Mmmm.... Donuts!

Before I tell you what the title of this post means, and a little about how it felt at the ballpark, on a day when rainshowers dotted the Chicago area seemingly everywhere except on Wrigley Field (where it just sprinkled for a few minutes), during tonight's exciting comeback Cubs 3-2 win over the Giants, a couple of quick comments about the Cubs' acquisition of catcher Jason Kendall from the A's.

First, don't worry. Sean Marshall is still a Cub, and will start tomorrow, despite ESPN's pronoucement on Baseball Tonight that he had been included in the deal. That's pretty embarrassing for ESPN, considering this is the first high-profile deal of the deadline trading season; the deal is for Rob Bowen, who spent just a bit less than four weeks as a Cub, and Jerry Blevins, a left-handed pitcher who had a 1.02 ERA in splitting time between Daytona and Tennessee this year, but who had not really been on the prospect radar.

Kendall's an experienced catcher who, until this year, had been a good hitter -- hit .295 with a .367 OBA last season. This year he's hitting .226; perhaps a change of scenery will help him. He used to hit with a bit of power and had some speed (stole 20+ bases three years in a row when he was younger), but injuries have robbed him of both of those skills. If he can handle the pitching staff and hit better than the combination of Rob Bowen and Koyie Hill (that, despite Hill's second HR of the year tonight), it's a worthwhile deal. Kendall's a free agent after the end of this season, and according to this there ought to be a little less than $6 million left on his contract.

Well done, Jim Hendry. Billy Petrick was recalled when Bowen was designated for assignment just before the game (I assumed a deal was coming because you don't DFA a guy you just traded for, unless you're trading him again), and I suspect that Geovany Soto, who has options left, will be returned to Iowa soon, with Kendall and K. Hill picking up the catching duties, and a 12th pitcher added. Who that'd be, I'm not sure -- Rocky Cherry's due off the DL soon, or perhaps Clay Rapada will be recalled. Kendall's expected in uniform tomorrow; his uniform number throughout his career has been #18. That's taken now by coach Mike Quade, and it's traditional for coaches to give up numbers to players, especially veteran players, who want them. Kendall's already listed on the active roster.

Now, about those donuts.

Jeff came to the game on Friday bearing a couple of the Official Simpsons Movie Donuts. The Cubs won Friday. He brought them back Saturday, and Sunday, and today... winners all. Now, he says, he's going to have to buy about 60 of them and freeze them for the rest of the season, to keep this going, because the promotion at 7-11's, selling these donuts, ends on July 27.

Was that the reason the Cubs won? Of course not; but can't we be superstitious? Why not?

The Cubs won because Rich Hill threw a terrific game after 12 days off, making only one real mistake -- Pedro Feliz's HR in the 5th, after Feliz had hit a freaky ball that bounced away from Aramis Ramirez and hit third base for the first hit of the game. Ramirez made a couple of really nice picks at 3B; I can't say enough about how he's improved his defense this year. Ryan Theriot made a terrific diving grab on an Omar Vizquel line drive in the 4th, a Web Gem for sure.

The game stayed tied into the 8th, when one of those "innocent little walks" led to a run after a sacrifice, and a pinch-single by .170-hitting backup catcher Guillermo Rodriguez, giving the Giants a brief 2-1 lead.

But this resilient Cub team came back -- and with two out and nobody on in the last of the 8th, and after singles by Theriot and D-Lee, Ramirez hit a ball that nearly left the yard for a 3-run HR. No worries, as it settled onto the grass for a two-run double, as the crowd of 40,282 started rocking; the place began shaking with near-playoff intensity as Bob Howry set the Giants down easily, throwing only eight pitches for his sixth save.

A team. That's what we have, fellow Cub fans. Everyone picks each other up; new heroes (the Hills, today) emerge in each game; and with each victory, you can feel the confidence level grow. Does winning breed chemistry, or does chemistry breed winning? Maybe it's a little of both. Sixteen out of twenty, and a new catcher coming tomorrow. (And note, not a single mention of a certain Giant, who didn't play tonight.)

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