Filed:June 28th, 2009
Well, it's official. The Cubs won't be getting the band back together, with the Cardinals instead acquiring ex-Cub Mark DeRosa in exchange for Chris Perez.
It's a great deal for the Cardinals, who are already the division front-runners. DeRosa will be a huge help to them in left and at third base, while allowing manager Tony LaRussa to mix and match lineups in a way that he likes.
Not to mention that it's the ultimate slap at the Cubs, whose fans not only love Mark, but also need him—or someone of similar production—very badly at the moment.
The Cardinals will be back in town in two weeks—Mark's second trip back to Wrigley this season—providing the sort of surreal moment sure to have Jim Edmonds smiling somewhere. Pity poor Jim Hendry if he has to watch the Cardinals take the division on the backs of a player he effectively gave away.
So why bring up DeRosa in a game recap of the Cubs 6-0 loss to the White Sox (their fifth loss in six games)?
Well, because they're awful.
And frankly, watching yet another punchless effort by the Cubs highlighted exactly why this trade should have been blocked, with Mark promptly re-routed to Chicago—even if Hendry had to overpay.
How you let a division rival get better in a playoff race—by filling the same need that you have—is beyond me.
To the game though, where Carlos Zambrano matched up against John Danks, in what I'd consider the ultimate in contrasts.
The Sox jumped out early on Zambrano, with Alexei Ramirez hitting a two-run homer in the third inning for the Sox. They'd tack on another in the fourth, when Dewayne Wise singled to second to score A.J. Pierzynski.
Zambrano tried to make a go of it, and had some success early in keeping things close. However, the sixth inning rolled around, and the Cubs had a meltdown that you wouldn't believe it if you hadn't seen it.
Chris Getz would start the inning with a leadoff double, advancing to third on a Gordon Beckham sacrifice.
Then, evidently sensing the suicide was on, Zambrano throws the ball away pitching out to Geovany Soto, allowing Getz to score. Zambrano would then hit Dewayne Wise—retribution, I suspect—and walk Scott Podsednik.
Alexei Ramirez would reach as well, loading the bases when Alfonso Soriano would yet again misplay a ball, misreading the hit that was completely catchable otherwise.
Wise would score when on an infield fly, Ryan Theriot dropped the ball out in short left, allowing him to scoot home. Mercifully, David Patton would retire Jim Thome to end the inning.
If you can find a worse inning of baseball played so far this season, let me know. Seriously. I've seen plenty of games where there's been bad pitching. Or mental mistakes. Maybe a touch of bad luck. But rarely has there game where you felt like you weren't even looking at a major-league team.
And the Cubs offense? Absent.
Even after putting leadoff runners on five times to start an inning today, they failed to capitalize. They'd finish the day 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position—yet another example of of their inability to execute and bring runners home.
Here's the bottom line:
The Cardinals are sitting five games up, and just took major strides at getting better. The Cubs have all sorts of offensive problems that the return of Aramis Ramirez just isn't going to fix. We're coming into July now, and we're unofficially at the point of getting in or out on this season.
With another week like this one, there won't even be a race to discuss.