Milton Bradley. Aramis Ramirez. Carlos Marmol. Derrek Lee.
Four big time pieces to the 2009 Cubs team. Four necessary pieces to the Cubs' chances of winning the NL Central for the third year in a row. Each one is hurt, but not hurt enough to warrant a stint on the disabled list. Now the Cubs are trying to get through a stretch of games with a shortened bench and bullpen. Injuries are part of the game, but this is somewhat puzzling.
If one of them needed to go on the DL, the Cubs could call up someone from AAA (preferably Jake Fox who is hitting nearly .500 right now). However, all of the injuries seem to be of the 3-5 day stretch (except for Bradley who is available in a pinch hitting capacity). Putting someone on the DL only to find out that they are good to go a few days later would not be good. So Lou Pinella has decided to ride this stretch out as long as he can. Let's hope it works.
The Cardinals are 13-6 to start the season. Get out the World Series banners. Someone please tell Cardinal fans that the season runs through September. If I recall correctly, April 2008 was also dominated by St. Louis, so let's not surrender the crown just yet.
If nothing else, the Cardinals have given the Cubs enough fits to last all season. They are now 3-3 against their #1 rivals, having avoided the sweep in St. Louis by bringing out the big bats for the first time in nearly a week. Fukudome has been outstanding so far, and I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll continue to be productive as the season wears on. He had 10 home runs all of last year and already has four in the month of April. That, my friends, is a good sign.
The offensive woes that the Cubs experienced during the four-game losing streak concerned me a bit, although every team will go through it. I just wish that someone would tell Mr. Soriano that if a pitcher makes you swing and miss at two straight breaking balls in the dirt, that a third (and possibly fourth) is probably coming. At least the "experiment" with having him bat down in the lineup is over. The people who complain and criticize Pinella for batting him leadoff are obviously not Cub fans. His production at the top of the lineup is needed. I don't care if he doesn't meet the prototypical definition of a leadoff hitter. Who the hell really cares??? If batting him leadoff is what is best for the team, then bat the guy leadoff! Plus, his legs are the best they've been since he's been a Cub, so it looks like the base stealing part of his game may be creeping back.
Some Little Tidbits:
Are the Pittsburgh Pirates really in second place with the best pitching ERA in baseball????? Are the Toronto Blue Jays really the best team in the AL East right now??? At least the Washington Nationals are doing what I expected!
Note to David Patton: When you load the bases for Albert Pujols and then throw him a first pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate, he might just hit it out of the country. Food for thought.
I guess Luis Vizcaino learned the hard way not to be late for games and then "half-ass" it when you're on the mound.
Why do I get the feeling that Soriano will see time at second base at some point this year?
Game winning home runs are so fun to watch.
In any event, it's still April - but not for much longer.
Just my opinion.