The news going into today's Cubs vs. Pirates game was the roster moves made before the game. The Cubs added another player to increasingly expanding disabled list and sent down Neal Cotts and Bobby Scales.
To fill the void, they called up lefty reliever Jason Waddell, whose AAA stats aren't that impressive, 0-1 5.40 ERA 12 SO in 16.2 innings, but he is really the only lefty decent enough to call up.
Andres Blanco takes the place of Aaron Miles/Mike Fontenot, if Jake Fox plays third—which is really the only place for him until the Cubs play in an American League park, where the DH will be in effect. Blanco is a switch hitter with a .342 BA against right handers and .231 against left handers.
Jake Fox's minor league numbers are well known to disgruntled Derek Lee fans. But for those who may not be familiar with his numbers, they are as follows: .423 BA, 17 HRs 50 RBI's in just 40 games. He's leading the Pacific Coast League for the triple crown.
The two biggest questions surrounding Jake Fox are can he hit in the big leagues, and where will he play? The at-bat he had today during the eighth was promising, as he whiffed on some breaking balls, but worked a full count and hit a double to the right field gap.
The news after the game was the highlight eruption from Big Z. It looked like the ump made the right call, but did the wrong thing when it looked like he initiated contact with Big Z. Zambrano responded with a brush of his elbow to the ump.
Umpires are supposed to have the cooler heads and distance themselves from the player in that type of situation. Zambrano has a temper and is the veteran of the team, so hopefully this sparks the Cubs like it did when Lou erupted a couple of years ago.
I didn't have a problem with him venting on the Gatorade machine because of his position as a leader on the team. When Zambrano comes back for his next start, depending on whether he is suspended or not, personally I think a fine will suffice for punishment.
The next two weeks will be both trying and telling of the rest of the 2009 season. The next four home games will be played against the Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball—33-15.
After that, the Cubs go on a nine game, 10 day road trip. They're 9-14 on the road this year, including a recent abysmal road trip. Will the Cubs rebound against the best team in baseball, at the moment, or on the road? Or will they crumble and fail to make a push to the top of the division? Only time will tell.