Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
by alex ciepley
Christian and I stay in regular contact despite living about twenty states apart. Throughout the season we'll occasional ask each other some questions about recent goings on in Cub-land, among other topics.
Alex: 1) Why did Dusty Baker take out Francis Beltran with a five-run lead, runner on second, and two outs in the ninth, no matter how poorly he had been pitching that inning?
Ruz: Man, I have no idea. Since I wasn't watching the game, I don't know how Beltran was looking, but if I'm giving Dusty the benefit of the doubt, I'd say because Beltran didn't look good & Dusty didn't want to set him up for utter failure. A less charitable view would be that Dusty is showing his impatience with young players.
Ruz: No, and I'll send the Small Sample Size Police after you if you're not careful. 333/393/833 with 3 homers and 9 RBI sounds pretty good, I'll admit, but so does 360/500/840 with 3 homers and 7 RBI. That's Henry Blanco's line so far this year.
Alex: 4) What do you look like?
Ruz: Waitaminnit, that's not a baseball question! OK, here are two photos: here and here.
The first one is old, and in the second one you can't see my face. So that ought to give you no idea of what I actually look like.
OK, questions for you:
1. If Prior misses more than two months of the season, do you think the Cubs can still win the division?
Alex: Sure, though it will be very difficult. Of course, I think the Cubs had a tough task before the Prior injury. I'm hoping for the Astros and Cards to hit some speed bumps -- if both teams play to their potential, the Cubs are in trouble.
Alex: Not really, but he will. However, I don't necessarily think it has to be one or the other: if Walker is smashing the ball all over the place and getting on base, I think Dusty will still find ways to get him in the lineup once Grudz returns, whether that be in left, at first, or by shifting Grudz to short on occasion.
Ruz: 3. The Cubs are in the middle of a ten-game stretch against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. How many of these 10 games do they have to win in order to feel good about themselves?
Alex: I think the Cubs will feel fine about themselves if they are 6-4, though I'm sure they'd like to go 7-3 or better. Unless they just have a tragic run, though, I'm not going to get too bent out of shape if they only win four games or so during this stretch. It's a long season.
Ugh. The Cubs just had a real ugly inning: Wuertz just gave up two 2-run bombs, and Wellemeyer just walked in a run with the bases loaded. Is that the third or fourth time already that the Cubs 'pen has walked in a run? Control is a big issue early with the Cubs relief corp -- hopefully they can start to turn things around with the balls and strikes. And can someone please move Wendell Kim off his third base coach gig?