Carlos Villanueva made his return to the rotation this afternoon and was good but was on a pitch limit, so the Cubs needed a real big effort from their pitchers, and they got it. Villanueva and Hector Rondon each gave up a run today, but other than that the Cubs pitchers were spotless, all seven of them. Oh, except for Kevin Gregg, leading 3-2 in the ninth the Pirates were down to their last strike when Starling Marte launched a game tying solo shot, gut punch. Matt Guerrier came on in relief and gave the Cubs a chance to win and the Cubs did just that. After loading the bases with nobody out Dioner Navarro hit a game winning sacrifice fly to right field, and just like that the Cubs had a series win, their fourth in their last five. Sure this season is lost, but it is nice to see some positive results on the North Side, finally.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
July 31st is awfully close, here come the Soriano bombs! Alfonso Soriano padded his trade value today while also helping the Cubs dispatch a team they haven’t been able to buy a win against, the Pirates. Soriano blasted two, two-run homers in back to back innings, one in the fourth and another in the fifth. That was all the Cubs needed as Edwin Jackson was stellar, again. Jackson went 5.2 innings giving up one run on four hits while walking two and striking out three to earn his fifth win of the season. The Cubs pen was outstanding today, try to contain your shock and enthusiasm, actually let it run wild, this is a rare occurrence. James Russell, Matt Guerrier, and Kevin Gregg all had scoreless appearances with Gregg picking up his fifteenth save of the year, speaking of trade value.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Fast and Furious 11… sorry. The Cubs have announced, well I think the Dodgers actually announced it, but anyway the Cubs have traded Carlos Marmol to the Dodgers along with international bonus money (4th slot) for relief pitcher Matt Guerrier. Clearly the Cubs had to throw money into this deal or the Dodgers would have never taken it considering they were dealing with zero leverage here. I assume that the money the Cubs just got from the Orioles in the Scott Feldman trade went to the Dodgers or at least made the money even for the Cubs so they wouldn’t feel so bad about losing it. Guerrier is not going to improve this team down the road, but he helps the Cubs get rid of Marmol and his money which is never a bad thing. Pretty impressive that Jed and Theo could move Marmol in this situation, maybe he figures it out, he wasn’t going to do so here.