Cubs-Nationals: Rich Harden Was Hardly Hittable as Cubs Cruise

Christopher BremnerCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2008

The Cubs claimed the rubber game against the lowly Washington Nationals on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. It seems that someone forgot to tell Cubs hitters that the wind was blowing straight in, as the long ball carried them to victory behind stud pitcher Rich Harden.

Harden tossed seven innings of two-hit ball, giving him his fourth win while wearing Cubbie blue. Harden punched out 11 batters—tying his career high—and rendered no free passes.

The way Rich is pitching and being managed, you have to believe that the Cubs are in a much better situation than Milwaukee is with CC Sabathia. I am sorry to say it Brewer fans, but at the rate Ned Yost is using your ace, I would not be surprised to see his arm fall right off with his next fastball.

Maybe a tad dramatic, but reference Mark Prior and Kerry Wood's 2004 season after they were overworked for a combined seven complete games and over 422 innings. You can even reference the rest of Prior’s career. Thanks Dusty.

Mark "Home Run" DeRosa hit his fourth dinger in as many days. He has proven one thing to baseball this year: He belongs in the everyday lineup. DeRosa, 33, has been used as a super-utility guy for the majority of his career, yet this year, he is proving he belongs in an everyday role.

DeRo is hitting 287. with 18 HRs and 77 RBI. Mark has looked natural in every defensive spot he's been asked to play this year, and if he can keep his bat, he will be a vital component on this club for the next few years.

Catcher Geovany Soto blasted his 19th home run of the season, tying a club record for rookie home runs. Soto, a possible Rookie of the Year candidate, has done nothing but impressed this year, on and off the field. This is great news for the Cubs’ organization, as they seem to have found a gem in a traditionally shallow-producing position.

Kosuke Fukudome has been struggling as of late, and you have to expect that. After cruising through the first half of the season hitting .296, it seems pitchers have finally figured Fuks (f-oo-ks) out. But I wouldn't count on that for too long; he is a professional hitter and will adapt as needed.

Kosuke proved that in the seventh inning, with a pinch hit, two-run homer. Look for him to return to early season form. 

The Chicago Cubs are still a long way from making any kind of history, as the second and third-best teams in the N.L. are right in the division race, including the very impressive Brew Crew.

Their work is definitely cut out for them. Watch for some exciting baseball to be played here down the stretch.