A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines for Monday, July 27


(Chicago Tribune photo by Nancy Stone)

As you may have heard, the Cubs managed to slip past the Cardinals into first place, even after the Cards got Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa. It's still early, but it's the first time the Cubs have been alone in first place all season.  And we have mostly one person to thank for the win on Sunday: Rich Harden.  He finally overcame his fear of the daytime at Wrigley Field, pitching six innings of one-hit ball:

"It's pretty ridiculous," he said. "I don't have much to say (about day vs. night). It's not like they were going to try and really change the rotation around to have me start all these night games.

"They were originally planning to start me Monday, but we have a five-day rotation, and we had a day off. So it's regular rest, regular rotation. It's the way it worked out."

Harden gave up his only run in the first inning when Joey Votto connected for his 15th homer. After that he retired 16 in a row.

And after all the weeping and gnashing of teeth, the move to sixth in the batting order seems to be working miracles for the Fonz:

Soriano went 2-for-4 on Sunday with an RBI double in the third, improving to .444 since the All-Star break. He has raised his average from .233 to .253.

Having Aramis Ramirez back takes some pressure off Soriano, who foresees a more consistent second half for the entire Cubs offense.


"We're going to be a very good team when ( Milton) Bradley starts hitting the ball better and now that Aramis is back and ( Derrek) Lee is hitting the ball well," he said. "We've got to stay hot for the last two months."

Soriano's on the upswing, Bradley seems a bit better (.269/.465/.869 in July) and Fukudome has a nine-game hit streak going. Any chance that Kosuke can keep it up now that his Japanese hitting coach is gone?

Kosuke Fukudome's Japanese hitting coach, Kyosuke Sasaki, departed Sunday after spending a week with Fukudome and working out some mechanics in his swing.

''He did a really nice job, and I told him that,'' Piniella said. ''We thank him for being here, and we were very appreciative and grateful to him and invited him back. He'll be back in September.''

Piniella noted the coach incorporated a slight knee turn that has helped Fukudome from spinning after an at-bat.

Could this be the end of the corkscrew? Tune in and find out!


With all this rah-rah enthusiasm, could anything be wrong at the moment? Well, Derrek Lee's still got a pain in the neck:

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee's nagging neck problem isn't serious, but he will have to be mindful of it, especially when he slides. Lee aggravated the problem Saturday sliding into second base and didn't play Sunday. He's expected to be available tonight, when the Houston Astros open a four-game series at Wrigley Field.

''I've never seen that where a player has that problem,'' manager Lou Piniella said. ''He's going to have to be careful with that the whole year. He plays the game the way it should be played and he knows what he has to do, but when he slides a certain way, he jars it.''

And Sully answers Kiwibob's question about Aaron Miles:

Aaron Miles is hitting .205 in the first nine games of his rehab stint at Iowa. "I think Jim (Hendry) is waiting for Aaron to start swinging the bat a little better," Piniella said.

DFA! DFA!

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26 Comments

thisyearcub said:

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For anyone who listened to the podcast or listens today, I need to correct myself. When I was talking about "the Cubs shouldn't make a trade just to be active," I meant to say Matt Lawton. Why I said Derrick May is beyond me.

But they both suck.

gravedigger said:

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i havent thought about derrick may in a long time.

and i was kinda hoping to keep it that way.

jerk.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ha! I didn't remember the Cubs ever trading for Derrick May, but I trusted that you knew more about it than I did.

Doc said:

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Miles makes me laugh. Nine rehab games are about 5 more than a normal player has recovering from an injury. He needs to rehab more than just an injury I guess.

Punk.

millertime said:

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Have fun waiting, Jim.

gravedigger said:

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wait, you guys aren't joking?

the cubs are in first?

Rich Beckman said:

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Besides the corkscrew, Fukudome has (had?) another distinctive habit when batting. When he hits the ball, he releases his bat in such a way that it spins away like a windmill. I noticed a day or two ago on a highlight of a Fukudome single that the bat was released in a conventional manner.

Wast that a fluke? Or part of the needed change? Or just a coincidental change that affects nothing?

JulieDiCaro said:

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I just think it's ridiculous that we have to coddle Fukudome like this. He has his own entourage, he has his batting coach flown in, blah blah blah. Just hit the damn ball.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Continuing my exposition on 'Torchwood' from last night--the last two episodes were SOOOOOOO disturbing. And hard to watch if you're a parent. But mostly really creepy and disturbing. I can't get some of those images out of my head. EEK.

baturkey said:

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Creepiest aliens ever.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ugh--and the kid with the alien. And Jack's grandson. The whole thing was just. . . . scary.

flyball said:

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you are seriously obsessed with that show

is it the one on SyFy that I see commercials for on BBC?

JulieDiCaro said:

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that's the one.

the mini-series is over. i'm done being obsessed now.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I wish I knew these people, they seem fabulous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

flyball said:

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haha, I find it hilarious that Harden is now having to defend playing during the day, that is absolutely one of those random stories that just take on a life of their own, like Alou's anti-callous regimen or the boom box incident

JulieDiCaro said:

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I could see Rich being a sexy-sensitive vampire, like Edward Cullen.

flyball said:

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is he the one from True Blood or Twilight?

I'm so behind in my vampire stories, I'm still on Angel and Spike

JulieDiCaro said:

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Edward is from Twilight.

jtbwriter said:

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Morning all!

As long as were ot-I'm old school-Barnabas Collins (original Dark Shadows)-although Ben Cross made a hot Barnabas in the ill-fated remake.

As for on topic-1st Place! Yes! Beat the 'tros!

baturkey said:

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I tip my hat to you sir, on your old schoolness.

Also, don't be afraid to go OT on this blog.

flyball said:

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we're good multi taskers

jtbwriter said:

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Thank you much-it's ms to you! LOL!
And Karen-Harden does have a nice backside!

thisyearcub said:

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There is Blade and there is True Blood. And the Lost Boys. Bad-ass vampires.

gravedigger said:

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you guys are killing me

baturkey said:

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2G3QfII9bo

Vampire baseball. A lot of special effects, sure, but I had never realized before how hot a woman pitching overhand is.

Blade is the best male vampire, although 2nd-season (and only 2nd-season) Spike comes close. Selene from Underworld is the best female vampire.

Karen said:

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I finally noticed Harden's ass...

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