You keep running for another place. To find that saving grace. Cubs 12 Sox 5.

In a game that was part baseball, part Lord of the Rings trilogy, and part Horner little league flashback, the Cubs finally broke out the bats and took advantage of some sloppy White Sox play to win the last game of the Four game series. It would be the White Sox who, as usual, got out to a 2-0 lead off a shaky Jake Arrieta. But these Cubs, maybe a tad pissed over their play the last couple of days, would answer right back. Anthony Rizzo mashed a two run home run in the next inning to tie the game and would take the lead on, of all things, a Junior Lake walk. The Cubs would put the game away for good with a Starlin Castro bomb to left field. ( Actually the ball landed in the fourth row of the bleachers but since the camera never picked it up it felt like it landed in the Old Taylor Homes.) And that was pretty much your ball game even though it was only the 4th inning. The Cubs pitching constantly looked in trouble but held off the White Sox attack. And when Moises Sierra misplayed an Anthony Rizzo fly ball, the Cubs would capitalize and turn it into a Mike Olt Grand Slam. In the end it was a tally for the North siders. Let's see if Ann Sather is open.

BARK AT THE MOON

Jake Arrieta might be the biggest enigma the Cubs have. He certainly looks the part. 6'4" 220. Chisled. Throws mid 90's and looks absolutely terrified to throw the ball. All game he looked like the kid who was having the naked dream on the mound. Especially when it came to throwing a curve ball. It was like he owed his off speed pitch money or something. You always knew when a curve was coming because Arrieta would stand on the mound, turn blue, close his eyes and hope for the best. Thus, the majority of his pitches were 93-95 fastballs, which, when eventually located for strikes, were hit hard. Ricky Ticky and Bosio tried to coax 5 innings out of Jake but it wasn't to be. 4 IP, 9 hits and 4 runs (3 earned) while striking out 1. Reggie Le Doux (Brian Schlitter) came on in relief for almost 2 innings to get the win.

THE GARZA STRIP.

The pitching highlight was definitely brought by the three pitchers acquired in Matt Garza trades. Zac Rossrup- acquired in the Hendry Garza deal, along with Neil Ramirez and Everyday Grimmy Jason Grimm threw 3 innings of 1 run ball while striking out 7. Rosscup is a tad wild for my liking but Grimm and Ramirez look like at the least they can be solid bullpen arms-and possibly more. Grimm has talked about taking the Samardzija route from bullpen to starter down the road. I'm sure we'd be all for it.

H TO THE HIZZO

Anthony Rizzo has not only taken a step forward, he's excelling. Three for five today with the two run bomb and some excellent play at 1B too. No longer is Rizzo adjusting to situations- left or righty, shift or no shift, power baller or rag arm pitcher, Rizzo has taken a consistent approach. Still wish he had a "big brother" on the bench…. A Giambi type to just talk baseball with. But Rizzo is maturing right before us and will probably be "one of those veterans" that helps the Baez's and Bryant's.

So, thankfully, the crosstown series is over. I actually enjoy the games. I could do without all the Comcast hype and drivel surrounding it. But, that's their job I suppose. Anyway, On to NL baseball and the dirty South. The Cubs travel to Atlanta ( Where, coincidentally, I just was….) for three against the Braves. Jason Hammel takes on fireballer Julio Teheran. When last playing an NL team, the Cubs were looking fairly respectable. Let's see more of that team. Onwards.

Boxscore

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  • Think Rizzo was 3 for 4 with a walk, but hey, same result! His OBP is really climbing!

    They have to let Olt play about 7-8 games in a row and see what kind of comfort zone he can get into. Nice approach on the GS, especially since he had 2-strikes on him.

    Finally, a-somewhat enjoyable game to watch.

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    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    He was 3/5 and had a walk, grounded out in the top of the 9th.

  • Olt is starting to look comfortable at last - and here's hoping he gets a chance to push that batting average up over 0.220 ASAP. Still think he is going to be an ~0.250-0.260 hitter in the long run, as he just Ks too much.

    I think most of us would take a season from Olt with a >0.240 BA +25HR, 75-80 RBI.

    Castro's power has also really started to materialize this season as well.

    Oh well,..... onward!

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Olt absolutely needs to just keep playing in every single game for the next month. I wonder if him being DH helped at all. Like I know he's a little inside his own head right now so I wonder if having to only focus on the hitting and not the defense (like focusing on the importing and giving up the exporting) helped him at all

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    I'm pretty sure his BABIP is low too, so he should "regress" to better averages as the season goes on.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    I'll take Mark Reynolds-light at this point (with a better glove).

  • Reggie Le Doux? Nice!

    But, hey Felzz, what about that Olt GS? Now has 6 HRs and 16 RBI, just one less HR and two less RBI than Rizzo in about half as many starts. Yes, he has 28 SOs in 76 ABs, but I notice he's hitting .267 with a .421 OBP this month. More please! Let's make him Everyday Mikey!

    "You'll do this again . . . Time is a flat circle."

  • In reply to TTP:

    I thought about giving Olt a bullet. But I recently just did one where I said I thought he has too much swing and miss in his game. Going back on that after one home run seems reckless. I still would rather see him play than Luis V. And since Christian Villanueva obviously still has work to do down in the corn, I'd rather see Olt. But, despite the nice blast, there's still a lot of work to be done with Olt's swing.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Interesting TTP - didn't realize that Olt was doing that well the last week. I think we could live with that BA, and definately could live with that OBP, even IF he continues to strike out a third of the time.

    A '3 outcome' guy with his potential power and the potential to be a good defensive 3B is OK by me.

  • I agree on the big brother thing. Nate the Below Average is not the answer. Perhaps a solid veteran leader will be made available this summer - Cubs would be wise to sneak in a Get this trading season, along with their dumps.

  • Jr Lake looked like Cirque du Soleil out in left field last night.

    I unserstand the calls for Olt to play every day - he may actually be something when he settles down. Same with Kalish. These guys have both been injured and out of the game for two years. Possible core players, you can see it.

    But Lake? Junior does not look polished in any way, shape or form, and I'm not sure he's any kind of building block. His approach at the plate is like a fledgling grasshopper learning to wield the samurai sword. I don't get it.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    Junior is a tease for sure. I love the comparison on this site a while back to the raw skills of Carlos Gomez without the range in outfield. I like the approach to just throw him to the fire and work it out as you go. He doesn't look out of place, but he just looks a bit unpolished. If they're not going to spend money on players, then you might as well shoot for the lottery ticket.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Someone also made a Soriano comparison, basically that when he's hot he really helps the team. I won't say he carries the team like Sori did, nor does Lake stay hot for as long as Sori did, but there's something to it.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Lake is still on the 25-man roster mainly because we don't have anything better at AAA to replace him.

    He really needs more development time at AAA to benefit him and the Cubs, but it is what it is right now.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    Lake is strong, but has never hit for power. He's fast, but doesn't steal many bases. He has amazing bat speed, and swings at just about everything. He's the definition of "Toolsy", in a bad way.

    I am about ready to end the Junior Lake experiment, except we have nothing available in the minors. As soon as we do, Junior shouldn't be on our roster, and IMO shouldn't be on anyone's ML roster. It's fine for now until we have an option.

    Lake is 24 years old. Development is pretty much over. The hacker you see is the hacker you get. I don't think he'll make it.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    Before I start, I want to say I don't think Lake will ever be more than a fringe-average starter/ 4th OF utility guy. But, to say development is over at 24 is silly, we have a couple of other 24 yo guys who beg to differ. In 347 big league PAs, Junior has a slash line of .272/.316/.424, hard to call him a failed experiment at this point. He has a lot of holes in his game, and probably will always be a hacker, but I think your assessment is a little over the top.

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    Bill Mueller is Rizzo's big brother on the bench. It's paying off, too.

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    I think this could be a "Breakout" year for Rizzo; improved approach, sustainable results. He is wearing out the National League.

    For Castro, I think this is a "Bounceback" year. He's hitting almost identical to 2012. I don't think he'll develop the plate discipline necessary to be an elite hitter, but he is back to being "pretty good", and that's good enough for me

  • The Cubs played like they had a chip on their shoulder last night. Wish they could play like that every day.
    Can't say enough good things about Rizzo this year. Seems like he could become a team captain at some point.

  • In reply to couch:

    Maybe like J. Toews is for the Hawks. BTW Go Hawks tonight.

  • In reply to couch:

    The camera caught Rizzo stepping into that role several times last night. He is mature for his age and knows what it is like to struggle at the big league level. He greeted Olt with a hug after the gs and then spoke to him again in the dugout. The coaching staff is playing the part of veteran leadership.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Yeah I noticed them hugging too. I think Rizzo would be very happy with Olt batting behind him in the lineup. Giving the protection he used to get from Soriano. Castro is doing a good job but he is not your typical clean up hitter.

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