Don’t call it a comeback. (Except for the comeback wins)

by Andy Paschen

Dingers and a great goatee. Thats what Derrek Lee does!

Dingers and a great goatee. That's what Derrek Lee does!

Cubs split another rain-shortened series with the White Sox, sweep the Indians: L-W, W-W-W
Cubs Series Record through Wednesday: 9-8-9 (34-31 overall, 2.5 games back of St. Louis)

Links:

Steve-Oh are you garbage: ESPN’s favorite failed GM Steve Phillips writes an article about the Cubs in which I don’t really know what his point is. But it’s not like I’m ganging up on him or anything. [ESPN.com]

Sarcasming is not becoming of you, Rick: Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrissey apparently has a problem with the love-fest that was thrown for Mark DeRosa’s return. Sure, DeRosa wasn’t a world-beater with the Cubs, but the man was a Swiss army knife of usefulness. [Chicago Tribune]

Cuuubbbbees! Mark Cuban has no plans to get involved with the messy Cubs sale. [ESPNChicago]

And the rest: Have the Cubs turned the corner? Sun-Times’ Toni Ginnetti says Lou Piniella isn’t so sure. Angel Guzman lives up to my nickname, as the poor kid lands on the DL for a non-serious injury. Rich Harden is not being as awesome as last year. Walk-offs!

Bullpen GPA:
Through intense research and analysis (guess-work) I have decided that if the Cubs are to make the playoffs the bullpen must pitch at a B average for the entire season. So, in order to determine if there is any accuracy in this statement I am chronicling the work of the Cubs’ pen.

Wednesday: B. 3 IP, 1 ER. Though El Pobrecito gave up a run on two hits and a walk, the Cubs were already down and couldn’t muster enough offense to help out the pitching staff.
Thursday: C. 2 IP, 2 ER. Carols Marmol did his best to get every Cub fan to punch his 0r herself in the face, surrendering three hits and two runs in .2 of an inning.
Friday: A. 5 IP, 0 ER. The combination of David Patton (2 IP), Aaron Heilman (1 IP), Marmol (1 IP) and Kevin Gregg (1 IP) is usually enough to guarantee a Cubs bullen implosion, but in the wors od the crazy, beatty-eyed Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!” The bullpen allowed the offense to tie it up against their old buddy Kerry Wood and win it in extras.
Saturday: A-. 7 IP, 2 ER. Sure David Patton nearly cost the Cubs the game when he gave up a Luis Valbuena dinger (who by the way, hit a ton of dingers in the series. Luis Valbuena, you just made the list of Cub-killers), but seven innings of two-run baseball is pretty damn amazing for any bullpen, especially this one.
Sunday: A. 2.1 IP, 0 ER. Sean Marshall, Luis Ascanio and Gregg finally nail one down for Randy Wells, who should have won his first major league game about 5-7 starts ago.

Bullpen season GPA: 2.88(B-) GPA through 65 games, up .04 from last week. Say what you will about the bullpen — Carlos Marmol is still giving up too many walks, Patton is playing like a Rule 5 pick that nobody wanted, El Pobrecito’s stint on the DL could really hamper the quality for the next 15 days, Kevin Hart isn’t all that good of a replacement, etc. — but the group shouldn’t be blamed for many of the Cubs losses and probably deserves more credit for many of the wins.

Hero/Goat season leaders:
When it comes to team MVP, people usually stick with the numbers. But at the end of the season, I want to know which player had a direct impact on the outcome of the game the most. To name my Cub season MVP (and LVP), I am keeping track of the game’s heroes and goats in order to determine a winner. Usually it is one game, one hero/goat, but that is by no means a written-in-stone rule.

Wednesday’s Goat: Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto. Not hits, strikeouts and men left in scoring position. “I don’t always blame the hitters, but when I do, I prefer to blame dos stinkos.”
Thursday’s Hero: Soto, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano. Lee and Soto hit 8th inning dingers to tie the game, and Soriano blooped a single to bring Ryan Theriot home.
Friday’s Hero: Lee. Dingers. So many dingers for Lee lately. He extended his hitting streak to 16 games …
Saturday’s Hero: Lee. … then 17 games … (another dinger)
Sunday’s Hero: Wells. Finally! A big league win for a man who deserves more than he’s gotten. Well done Mr. Wells, well done.

Hero Squad: Number is games chosen as hero/goat.
6 – Soriano
4 – Johnson, Lee, Lilly
3 – Theriot, Zambrano
2 – Fukudome, Ramirez, Soto
1 – Ascanio, Bradley, Dempster, Fontenot, Gregg, Guzman, Harden, Hoffpauir, Marmol, Marshall, Scales, Wells
Goat Bastards:
5 – Bradley
4 – Soto
3 – Cotts, Fontenot, Hoffpauir, Patton
2 –Gregg, Heilman
1 – Fox, Fukudome, Harden, Johnson, Lee, Marmol, Marshall, Samardzija, Scales, Soriano

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