Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Spread the Wealth
by alex ciepley
After five games of feebleness from the hitters, the bats woke up; every one of the Cubs' starting nine got a hit last night, and the 8-4 victory may have kept the Cubs within reach -- however long that reach -- of the division title. Seven games out at the All-Star break is no picnic, but it does sound better than nine out.
Lots of stuff has being written about how Wood's return is just what the Cubs have needed:
"He was such a huge part of last year. I wasn't there but I can sort of sense what he means to this team. It's nice to have him back and it kind of rubbed off on everybody."
- Michael Barrett
"The last time the Cubs could count on both Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, the ivy at Wrigley Field was red. That it's still in its brightest green might be the best reason for the Cubs to celebrate Wood's return."
- Phil Rogers
"[Wood's] return to the mound, for the first time in two months, had a therapeutic effect on a stumbling club that was poised to hire Dr. Phil. ... [N]othing comforts these guys quite like the vision of a healthy Wood, who shut down baseball's most potent lineup and turned what could have been a nine-game hole in the National League Central to a slightly less panicky seven."
- Jay Mariotti
"I was happy with the way Woody pitched. That's something we need right now."
- Sammy Sosa
Now, I don't really disagree with any of this stuff. A healthy, effective Wood in the Cubs rotation is nothing but a good thing. But during the Cubs losing streaks this year, the pitching hasn't been the problem. It's great to get five innings of one-run ball from Kerry Wood, but what the Cubs have really been needing is more three-run homers from Sosa.
More. Three-run. Homers.
Adding offense: there's also a bit of chatter today about a rumored Orlando Cabrera-for-A Gonz swap. Cabrera has been having a mighty awful year (237/293/319), and his career numbers are no great shakes (266/315/405), but his averages from the past three years (279/331/424) would be a nice improvement over what the Cubs have been throwing out at shortstop so far. If Cabrera were to give a .750 OPS (let alone 2003's .807 OPS) the remainder of the season for the Cubs, that would be a nice boost over the .700 OPS that could be expected from A-Gonz.