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Finally, a good week. Was it any coincidence that as soon as the Cubs announced The Riz was coming to town their season turned upward? I think not.
It was a sigh of relief for this team to finally get their guy here and slotted into the 3-hole. The rest of the lineup could breathe a little bit easier with the lineup-for-the-future suddenly taking shape.
And with Travis Wood recovering from an awful spring training to become a rotation mainstay just as Ryan Dempster and maybe Matt Garza are about to depart, well, it's been a good week for Theo too. This thing just might work, except for one inescapable fact:
They are still the Cubs.
And in some mysterious way we may never understand, the Cub essence shall remain for all of eternity. Since 1908, it has been impossible for humans to destroy.
Thought I was getting a bit hopeful there, didn't you?
Week in Review: The Cubs went 5-1 this week, winning two of three from the Mets and sweeping the Astros. In total Cub manner, though, they actually only scored the same number of runs as their opponents in this stretch despite the overwhelmingly winning record. Why? Their one loss was by a very Cub-like score of 17-1. So in a way, the week was a push.
The Week in Preview: The Cubs head to Atlanta for four and then back to New York for three more with the Mets. I have to admit, I still like that apple. Maybe this will happen again. Get back, Jojo.
The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started every game this week and got six hits with no walks. He just continues to be Darwin Barney. I still expect a solid week soon for Barney, just to throw everyone off of his mediocrity. Which is just like the ghost of Jim Hendry would have wanted.
In former second basemen news, Ronny Cedeno has been starting for the Mets this year. He is currently batting .268. It amazes me that so few people in this world can play second base. "He keeps finding a job," Bob Brenly said with a bit of astonishment last week. This country has a severe second-basemen shortage. Oh, and he is missed.
Crazy Corners: I guess being named to the All-Star team, as Bryan LaHR has been, means you still can't take at-bats away from Jeff Baker against lefties. Although this is essentially a right field issue now. With the Riz as a fixture at first for the next 20 years, unless he turns into Anthony Sop Choi, all that is up for grabs now is third base. With Ian Stewart and his Mendoza-like average heading for surgery and Josh Vitters still not ready, Luis Valbuena has that spot locked up for now, but everyone knows the combination of that lock, so it's not very secure.
Weekly Bunting Report: The addition of the Riz combined with the continuing presence of Alfonso Soriano means former major-league steals leader Tony Campana has fallen behind the Dodgers' Dee Gordon in that category, having been relegated to mostly pinch-running duties. Which really puts a cramp on all the bunting that used to happen. Only the Cubs can't figure out how to get a league leader on the playing field.
The Zam Bomb: Big Z gave up five unearned runs in a loss to the Cardinals. He is Getting Angry.
Similarly, the telltale signs of a Mount Oz eruption are on display for all to see. Residents of South Florida are urged to stock up on supplies and take cover.
Endorsement No-Brainer: Anthony Rizzo for anything he wants to sell in Chicago right now.
Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares in Victor Conte's company (whatever he calls it now) fell sharply as his only major league client just got caught and his performance was so bad he wasn't even on a team.
Sink or Sveum: 30% Analytical, 70% Emotional. Sveum jumps 10 points on the crazy meter this week due to actually winning for a change. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is Thinking Clearly for the first time in a while.
And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale was asked the time and said it was 2:35, which was right, but his watch was actually broken, he just got lucky with the whole timing thing.
Over/Under: The number of times we see that big apple this week: +/- 1.5. I'm honestly hoping for the Over.
Don't Hassle The Hoff: Micah Hoffpauir apparently weighs 97kg. Metric weight values? What a hassle!
Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that I'm rooting for the guy, but LaHR is a weak All-Star selection.
The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano, you can catch 'em all!
The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.
Fantasy Fix: Spare Part Or New Start?.
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