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Sometimes, Monotony Is Good
by Phil Bencomo
Two out of three, two out of three.
It seems the Cubs have proclaimed their mantra, focusing on winning one series, and then another, and another. And for the last few weeks, they've done just that. Sounds like a good strategy to me; at that pace the Cubs will finish out the season with 18 wins in 27 games, for an 88-win season.
And keeping that pace hardly seems out of the question. The Cubs only have two series remaining against contending teams, the first beginning this afternoon with Los Angeles, the second mid-month against St. Louis. The rest of the season unfolds nicely, with a total of six games against Pittsburgh, six against Cincinnati, three against Houston, and three against Florida.
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On the acquisition of Steve Trachsel, and the displacement of Sean Marshall: Trachsel has pitched better in August than Marshall, and in September, Trachsel has historically out-pitched his career numbers for an ERA a shade under four. Trachsel is not an outstanding pitcher, but he is a serviceable arm, and I'd rather see the Cubs with too many capable starters, instead of too few.
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Jacque Jones is a far better center fielder than most give him credit for. His .920 Revised Zone Rating in center would rank second in the NL, if Jones had enough innings to qualify.
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Ryan Dempster must feel more comfortable pitching with a one-run lead. He entered the Thursday's game up by two, but gave up a run before closing it out. The same thing happened Saturday.
But yesterday, Dempster went 1-2-3 after the Derrek Lee gave him the slimmest of margins to work with -- a one-run lead.