Cubs-Pirates: Harden Sharp in Streak-Busting Win

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 15: Starting pitcher Rich Harden #40 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Colorado Rockies on April 15, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Rockies defeated the Cubs 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Quick, uneventful, and successful.

That is how I prefer all games against the Pirates and exactly what the Cubs delivered Monday, winning 3-1 in an unofficial two hours and 18 minutes.

Thank you, Rich Harden.

After some very shaky starts since his return from the disabled list (0-2, 5.67 ERA), we got to see some vintage Harden in this game; hard fastball, change-ups down and in the dirt, and out in front of hitters most of the night. He went seven innings, striking out nine along the way.

Actually, there were no complaints about the pitching, as both Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg were equally effective in relief, with the Cubs staff walking only one Pirate on the night.

But the highlight belonged to Ryan Theriot, who again went gonzo. He drove a solo shot to right off of starter Zack Duke in the third, his seventh of the season.

Sometimes I miss the old slap-hitting, opposite-field driving Theriot, but given the Cubs problems scoring right now, I'll happily take the new version.

In some off-field news, Aaron Miles has gone on the 15-day DL with an elbow injury, with Sam Fuld being called up from AAA to replace him on the roster.

I think this injury is legit. I happened to get some photos from the Twins game a few weeks back, and think I caught where he injured it. 

After a play behind second that he had to elevate and throw off balance, he appeared to grimace and favor it for a while. I guess it was a little worse than initially thought.

I wish him well in his recovery, but I would suggest the Cubs think about leaving him there for a few months; he won't be missed.

It would leave a roster spot open in case, you know, a trade comes up. There's nothing on his swing right now, so if a couple of quiet months allows him to get his right side well, I say do it.

A healthy Miles is at least useful. Injured, he isn't worth the spot.

And congratulations to ex-Cub Casey McGehee, who hit a grand slam Tuesday in the Brewers 10-6 win over the Mets.

I could have done without a Brewer victory, but it does my heart well to see old Cub farmhands doing well around the league. Kind of quiets the argument that they can't produce MLB-ready positional talent.