Rain Can’t Cool Off Cubs

Judging by today’s performance I’m going out on a limb and saying the four-day all-star break was the most beneficial for Alfonso Soriano.  Soriano led the charge for the Cubs as they opened the second half much like they finished the first half, blowing out an opponent.  The Diamondbacks jumped on top of the Cubs in the first inning after a three-hour and forty minute rain delay, plating a single run on two hits off of Maholm, that was the only run Maholm would surrender as he was stellar again.  After the Cubs tied the game at one in the second they went off against starter Ian Kennedy while dodging rain drops.  The Cubs scored in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh inning on their way to an 8-1 blow out.  As I mentioned, Soriano led the way, he finished the day 4-for-4 with two doubles, two home runs, five RBI’s and three runs scored, probably Soriano’s best game since the 2007-2008 seasons.  He wasn’t alone in his destruction of D-Backs pitching as Anthony Rizzo also had a good day finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.  The offense didn’t need eight runs, though it was nice to see, because Maholm was on top of his game.  Maholm secured his seventh victory of the season by going seven strong innings giving up one run on six hits while walking one and striking out five.  After today’s effort Maholm’s ERA dropped to 4.33 on the season.  The Cubs are putting it all together right now, they are 7-3 in their last ten, and have raised their home record to .500 on the season.  Full box score and highlights after the jump.

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Cubs Players of the Month: June 2012

June didn’t feature a horrific losing streak like May did but the Cubs still managed to lose 17 games.  The Cubs did get a shot in the arm when Anthony Rizzo was called up near the end of June, I almost selected him as the player of the month but I thought better of it.  Here are the players of the month for June.

Alfonso Soriano

 Everyone is expecting Alfonso Soriano to slow down, and to his credit he hasn’t.  A very productive month for Soriano as he hit eight home runs, and had 18 RBI’s, probably would have had more if he was in a better lineup.  Soriano’s effort hasn’t really helped the Cubs add up wins, but it might help the Cubs future tremendously.  If Soriano continues to hit the way he has he will be a sought after bat at the trade deadling at the end of July.  The Cubs will pick up most of Soriano’s salary, but the better he performs the better chance the Cubs have of getting something of value in return.

Alfonso Soriano June Highlights:


Travis Wood

Not many people predicted this one at the beginning of the month, but Travis Wood is my selection for the Cubs best pitcher of June.  Wood was outstanding in the five starts that he made in June, and he had to be given the opponents he was facing.  Justin Verlander, Barry Zito, Jake Peavy, and Johan Santana matched up against Wood, and Wood delivered going 2-2.  Wood gave up 26 hits over 31.2 innings, and he only allowed 12 walks over those innings, he really did a great job limiting the base runners.  Wood, who was acquired in the “Sean Marshall Trade” is really giving Cubs fans a taste of what Theo and Jed were thinking when they agreed to the deal with the Reds.  He is performing much like he did in 2010, if he continues to improve that deal could turn out to be a steal.

Travis Wood June Highlights:

Wood’s Lead-Off Double 
Wood’s Outstanding Performance

Special tip of the cap to Ryan Dempster as he went all of June without giving up a single run.  Dempster only made three appearances because of injury, but went 22.0 innings only giving up 12 hits while walking three and striking out 12.

Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
– George