There were scouts from several teams at Thursday's Cubs/Brewers game in Milwaukee. How do I know this?
#Nats, #Dodgers, #Orioles, #BlueJays, #Phillies have scouts at #Cubs game. Matt Garza is starting— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) June 27, 2013
Some of these teams have not been previously linked with Cubs trade rumors, though, to be fair, some of them might have been there to watch Brewers players as well. If they were there to scout Matt Garza's start, it would seem likely that several general managers might be on the phone with Theo Epstein tonight. I think it's still kind of early for trades of major players, but (and consider the source):
Ned Colletti told me "There have been far more serious trade discussions five weeks away from July 31st deadline than I can ever recall"— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 27, 2013
So maybe Matt Garza will be in another uniform before he starts again. Thursday afternoon, he was dominant, striking out 10 in seven solid innings, and the Cubs won a series from the Brewers for the first time since September 2010, eight series ago, with a 7-2 victory in front of 31,792, some of whom got rained on even though they closed the Miller Park roof when heavy thunderstorms entered the area. The roof was leaking right in front of Len and JD's press box position. It was one of the smallest Cubs/Brewers summer weekday afternoon crowds I can remember, with entire empty sections down the lines and in the upper deck.
Meanwhile, the Cubs were raining runs on the Brewers, four of them in the third, inning where Milwaukee fielders almost literally couldn't catch the ball at all. Left fielder Caleb Gindl whiffed on a running catch, allowing Ryan Sweeney to reach second and a run to score. One out later, Brewers first baseman Juan Francisco missed a catch on a Brian Bogusevic grounder and that left two runners on base for Dioner Navarro, who launched his seventh home run of the season into the right-field seats. All four runs in the inning were unearned.
Navarro has just 89 at-bats, but is two short of tying his career high for home runs. His defense is a bit suspect at times, but he's hitting far better than any of us could have expected. 14 catchers have hit more homers than Navarro this year, but all of them have at least 60 more at-bats.
The rest of the offense produced as well; nine hits and three walks helped produce the seven runs, and even though the Cubs were just 3-for-15 with RISP, at least they got those three hits, and at least they produced that many RISP opportunities. Starlin Castro, after his day off, has come out hitting, with his second straight two-hit game. This is quite encouraging. Even Garza, who swings the bat like he's up there with his eyes closed, had a pair of hits. That raised his batting average to .188, tied a career high, and he scored his first run since 2011 on Navarro's homer. Blake Parker gave up a home run to Francisco in the eighth inning for a consolation run for the Brewers.
So the Cubs have now won back-to-back series as they head to Seattle and Oakland for a weeklong dip into the DH-laden waters of interleague play. The Mariners, as do the Cubs, come into the series 11 games under .500, and mostly because of poor offense -- Seattle ranks 14th in the A.L. in runs with 283. Perhaps the solid Cubs rotation can keep that going over the weekend.