Which of these events that occurred Monday night is least believable?
- Carlos Silva throws five good innings and registers his 10th win of 2010, twice his win total of the last two years combined.
- Ryan Theriot hits his first home run since June 29, 2009 at Pittsburgh. (It was also his first HR in 700 at-bats, via tweet from Carrie, and only his 13th extra-base hit of the year. Thanks to Harry Pavlidis for this tweet which came before the Theriot HR for the reminder that Starlin Castro had, at the time the tweet was sent, double Theriot's XBH total in nearly 140 fewer at-bats.)
- The Cubs beat the Astros 5-2, only the fourth victory in 10 tries this season over the team from Houston.
OK, maybe those three events are all equally unbelievable, but they all happened last night in Minute Maid Park. The win also evened up the all-time record of the Cubs in the park formerly known as Enron Field, since it opened in 2000, at 41-41.
Theriot improved his July numbers to .286/.310/.393 (OK, not outstanding, but better than his May and June combined, when he hit .249/.293/.264), and he's had seven of his XBH this month (four doubles, a triple, and the dinger last night). The home run was off Nelson Figueroa, who tied the Cubs in knots last August 30 at Wrigley Field while a member of the Mets, and who had allowed only one home run in 29 innings this season prior to last night.
The rest of the Cubs offense had a good night against Figueroa, starter Wesley Wright and two other Astros relievers, pounding out 13 total hits, seven of which went for extra bases. This is the sort of thing the Cubs should have been doing against teams like the Astros all season. Regardless of the standing position, it's always nice to win games like this.
Which makes tonight's scheduled start by Ted Lilly even more interesting. If you watch closely, you should see quite a number of scouts sitting in the seats behind the plate watching Lilly's appearance. It's no surprise to me that Ted is still a Cub and is making this start, despite several breathless rumors like this one in last Friday's Sun-Times that said:
interest in Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly has stepped up dramatically and a trade could be completed by the end of the weekend, major-league sources said Friday.
Didn't happen, and unless the Cubs get the right return in the deal, I think it's possible that Ted will remain a Cub for the rest of the season. In this column penned by George Castle for SB Nation Chicago, which is about White Sox trading possibilities, I found this quote from Kenny Williams quite illuminating:
"I'm going to get all the information and all the possibilities," he said. "I'm going to sit down with my staff and my scouts. Sit down with everyone and get everyone's ideas. I'm going to tell them what the real possibilities are, not what the 'rumor central' possibilities are."
And that's absolutely right. Regardless of what's said here, on MLB Trade Rumors or other sites, trading -- any trading, not just Cubs possible deals -- come down to the GM's discussion with his own staff, and whether the trade will benefit his club in both financial and baseball ways.
Maybe the Cubs will find the right trading partner for Lilly and make a trade that benefits the team -- but they won't trade him just to do so. The same goes for Kosuke Fukudome. Ken Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that such a deal might be easier to make now:
Attention, Fukudome shoppers: Source says #Cubs would pay part of $4M-plus left this year and "quite a bit" of $13.5M salary next year. #MLB
But then again, Rosenthal occasionally says things that just aren't true, as shown in this information that I sent to Tim Dierkes at MLBTR. It's the silly season in baseball pundit land; the only thing we know for sure is that the non-waiver baseball trading deadline passes at 3 pm CDT this Saturday.