Cubs and Sox go into the break on a high note and T. O. won't go

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Both the Cubs and White Sox put up a win on their last game before the all star break.  For the Cubs, it completed a three game sweep of the Padres.  The final score was 7-4 as Jon Lester picked up the win, upping his record to 12-2.  The Cubs scored five runs in the first two innings and that was pretty much that.

Lester went 5.1 innings, giving up three earned runs.  After he departed, the Cubs pen was solid, as usual.  Brandon Morrow pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 21st save in 23 attempts.  Jason Heyward had the big hit, a big two-out two RBI single in the second inning to put the Cubs up 5-0.

Back in the saddle again

The Cubs are now up 2.5 games over the Brewers despite the fact they really haven’t hit on all cylinders this season.  Anthony Rizzo has had a rough first half and Kris Bryant hasn’t been his former-MVP self.  The free agent signings of Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood could be called something from disastrous to just very bad and still the Cubs finished the first half at 55-38.  That means some things have had to have gone right.

It's Javy, again

Foremost on that list is the emergence of Javy Baez has an MVP candidate. Baez’s stats are impressive, but more than any other player in baseball, he makes things happen.  Mostly good things.  Addison Russell has upped his play recently and has been one of the best defensive players in baseball.

A signing that panned out

The Cubs pen has been very good.  While the signings of Darvish and Chatwood haven’t panned out yet, the signing of Steve Cishek has been great.  Justin Wilson has also come around and Brandon Morrow has been a capable replacement for Wade Davis as the Cubs closer.

Royals have become jesters

The White Sox won a rare laugher Sunday, defeating the Kansas City Royals 10-1.  The Sox are a bad team, but the Royals are abysmal.  Some of the reasons the Sox are optimistic about their future were on display Sunday.  Yoan Moncada had three hits, including a double and a homer, while Lucas Giolito was outstanding in picking up his sixth win.  His record now stands at 6-8 and his ERA is still at 6.18, but it’s going down steadily.

For starters....

Giolito went 6.1innings, allowing no runs on two hits while walking three.  He struck out six. Giolito, along with Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and James Shields give the Sox the basis of a decent starting rotation.  We’ll see if Shields gets traded.  I doubt the Sox would get enough in return to justify moving him.

Palka party?

Dan Palka also had three hits, including his 12th home run.  Palka may be useful when the Sox are good.  One guy I’m even higher on is Leury Garcia.  Garcia also had three hits and stole a base.  His speed, versatility and power should make him a useful part, even on a good team.

Brewers have gone flat

While the Cubs finished on a high note, the Brewers lost their sixth game in a row.  Sunday’s 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Pirates completed a five game series sweep of the Brewers.  It was a particularly excruciating loss for the Brewers as they had a 5-2 lead going into the bottom eighth.  The Pirates tied in the bottom of the ninth off Brewers closer, Corey Knebel.

The Brewers took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th, before the Pirates came back on a two-out, two run double by Josh Bell off Dan Jennings.  The Brewers have a nice bullpen, but they’ve pitched over their heads, a regression to the norm should be expected.

Was that a speedbump?  No just another one of T. O.s quarterbacks

In a NFL note, Terrell Owens will not attend his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  T. O. said he was not going to attend in behalf of other guys, like Jerry Kramer, who had to wait too long to get into the Hall.  Initially T. O. thought it was Cosmo Kramer, but quickly got that straightened out.

Owens is among the NFL all-time leaders in receptions, and touchdown receptions.  He’s the all-time leader in quarterbacks thrown under the bus.

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