While most of you were watching the Bears' 27-20 win over the Cowboys, there was quite a bit of news made today in Cub World.
First, one thing that ought to get quite a bit of attention was the shattered bat that hit Tyler Colvin in the chest while he was on third base, apparently missing his heart by only a few inches. The Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer tweeted that there was "minimal" bleeding and he's in stable condition undergoing tests; that's good news, although I suppose with only 13 games remaining, Colvin will likely be shut down. What I hope this will do is start a real debate about the easily-shattered maple bats and what to do to prevent a future incident like this from being more serious.
Next, let's make one thing completely clear. Mike Quade's lineup this afternoon was emphatically not "playing the kids". You can't really call them "kids" when two of them are over 30 and one of them (Bobby Scales) was born in 1977.
The average age of the starting eight this afternoon -- six of whom spent most of the year playing for Triple-A Iowa -- was 27 years, 243 days. That would give that "average" player a birth date of January 16, 1983.
Guess which major league veteran has an actual birthdate closest to that date? Geovany Soto, who was born January 20, 1983. Geo will miss the rest of this season and have arthroscopic shoulder surgery tomorrow:
The debridement procedure, basically a cleaning out of the joint, will be performed Monday in Chicago.
Soto is expected to be able to resume full baseball activities by January 1.
"I tried to play as long as I could," Soto said before Sunday's series finale against the Marlins. "I can rehab all I want, but it's bone on bone in there and it's going to be there and it's prone to flare up. It makes sense to take care of it now."
Soto had a fine season and worked hard to get back to his rookie year level and should be at full strength for next year. Bruce Miles has more information on Geo's rehab:
Cubs people were kind enough to e-mail me and say the Cubs are doing the surgery tomorrow for a couple reasons: "Rehab and recovery time is approximately three months, so doing it now will have him completely ready to go by the first of the year, which would give him a strong six-week, completely-healthy training period leading up to spring training. Also, it allows Geo to spend the first two weeks of his rehab under the guidance of our training and medical staffs before he goes home to Puerto Rico. Geo also mentioned that he would have periodic trips to Chicago during his rehab/recovery for check-ups."
Sounds good to me.
Meanwhile, kids or not, the replacement lineup -- which actually more resembled a lineup you'd put on the field the day after a team clinched a division title -- drew eight walks in scoring eight times in the first two innings and blew out the Marlins 13-3. It's their sixth win in a row, and the first time they have swept two consecutive series of at least three games on the same road trip since July 1945, when they swept a four-game series at Boston (Braves) and a five-game set at Philadelphia (Phillies), part of a club-record 12 straight road wins.
Incidentally, other veteran major leaguers who are the approximate age of today's starting lineup: Gavin Floyd, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, Michael Bourn and David Wright. Playing these guys today gave them an "attaboy" for their good service to the organization; of the starting eight, only Colvin, Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo actually have a chance of contributing next year. The rest, I don't expect to be wearing Cubs uniforms -- well, maybe Sam Fuld, but even he may have to move on.
In any case, today was fun; the 12 walks drawn was a season high and the most a Cubs team had drawn in a game since they also walked 12 times on September 15, 2009 at Wrigley against the Brewers. Castillo and Brad Snyder both got their first MLB RBI's and Castillo hit his first major league home run; congratulations to them. Snyder's RBI came on his first major league hit, a two-run single in the Cubs' six-run second. And, Jeff Samardzija threw pretty well when he wasn't giving up home runs (a pair of them); he wound up with a quality start, the Cubs' 86th, only two short of the NL lead. Shark still walked too many, but he is definitely improved.
It's always more fun to see your team winning, no matter who's playing or what it means. When the Giants come to Wrigley on Tuesday, the Cubs will get at least a taste of a pennant race, as the Giants are in a tight battle with the Padres and Rockies in the NL West. Keep the winning going!