Filed:July 3, 2009
Koyie Hill awaits the throw home, before tagging out Jeff Suppan at the plate. (Cubbie Nation)
Click here for the photo gallery from Friday's game
It was yet more walk-off magic for the Cubs Friday, when a bases-loaded walk to Jake Fox sent Ryan Theriot home, and gave the Cubs a 2-1 win in 10 innings. With the win, the Cubs have now closed in to within 2.5 games of the division lead.
Two-and-one-half games. For all the offensive woes, bad personnel choices, shaky bullpen efforts, defensive foibles, and collection of outburst and tirades, the Cubs are 2.5 out to start July and have some reason to be hopeful.
Aramis Ramirez and Reed Johnson are due back on Monday. Angel Guzman the following day. Guys like Soto and Lee are hitting—or at least starting to. Guys like Kevin Gregg, who saved this game, in my opinion, with two innings of stellar bullpen work in relief of Carlos Zambrano, are at least beginning to perform to expectations.
And I suspect most importantly, manager Lou Piniella is finally starting to clear the clubhouse of the bad ju-ju that has been over the club like a fog this season.
And that includes you Ryan Freel, designed for assignment Friday, to free up a spot for newly acquired Jeff Baker. With such quotables as this during his minor-league stint:
“I’d like to think that I can help the team, but apparently they don’t think that. That’s pretty much a conversation I had with somebody up top. Maybe I’ll be designated, traded or released.”
I would have released you that day buddy.
With moves like this, and clearing the air with Milton Bradley, perhaps we can at least look forward to a club that looks a little less tight in the second half, or as Ken Rosenthal put it recently, maybe they'll get over themselves.
Finally, watch for Soriano drama in the coming days, as Piniella suggests shake-ups in the lineup affecting him. Says Piniella:
"I can tell you I have confidence in the young man [Soriano], and I feel he's going to hit. But we are going to make some adjustments with the lineup."
Say what you will about Lou, but he's earning his check this season, if only in having to manage the personalities and egos of this fragile team.