The Cubs went 18-9 in July, their best month of the season so far and best since they went 20-8 in August 2008. A repeat of that August this year would likely put the Cubs in the driver's seat going into September. The Cubs' 11-4 mark since the All-Star break is tied with the Phillies for the best record in the National League and only one game behind the Angels for the best record in baseball since that time.
And, while no one was looking, the Cubs also sneaked back into the mix for the wild card, just in case the division championship doesn't happen. As of today the Cubs are one game off the wild-card lead, and tied with the Rockies and Giants with 47 losses.
There will be some roster moves next week. Per Gordon Wittenmyer:
... the other lefty acquired Thursday from Pittsburgh, Tom Gorzelanny, will join the Cubs' rotation starting Tuesday in Cincinnati. He's scheduled to join the team in Miami today and throw a bullpen session for pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
When Gorzelanny is activated, I would expect either Jeff Stevens or Jeff Samardzija will be returned to Iowa. Personally, I'd send the Shark down and stretch him out to start again. Also:
Catcher Geovany Soto (oblique) is scheduled to start a minor-league rehab assignment today as the DH for rookie-A Mesa, then travel Sunday and play Monday through Wednesday for Class AA Tennessee. Barring a setback, he then would join the Cubs for Friday's series opener at Colorado.
When Geo is reactivated, what I'd do is send Micah Hoffpauir to Iowa for the rest of August to let him get everyday playing time. He is rusting on the bench; he had only 36 at-bats in July and hit .194/.256/.361. Get him some regular AB's, bring him back September 1, and he'd still be eligible for postseason play.
|Today's Starting Pitchers
|2009 - Carlos Zambrano
|2009 - Burke Badenhop
Burke Badenhop is making his first career start vs. the Cubs (and only his second start of the season). However, on May 1 at Wrigley Field, he came in to pitch in relief and was hammered by Cub hitters, capped by a grand slam by Ryan Theriot. A repeat of that performance would be great.
Carlos Zambrano threw five innings vs. the Marlins on May 3 at Wrigley Field, allowing two runs. Despite the bullpen's efforts to blow that game, it was enough for a win. Z is 5-1, 3.09 in 10 career starts vs. Florida; Wes Helms and Hanley Ramirez are the only current Marlins who have homered off him (once each). Current Marlins are hitting .184 (16-for-87) off Z, who seems to have settled down in his last few starts.
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