I remember watching Carlos Pena hit when he was with Tampa Bay, and I would marvel at the moonshots that would come rocketing off his bat. It always seemed impossible that the ball could avoid the very hittable roof at Tropicana Field. After a while, the ball would finally come down in the stands, quite possibly leaving a dent in an empty seat or a small child's leg.
Cubs duo doubles home run pleasure
The memory of those home runs made Pena's first month in a Cubs uniform that much more frustrating. Why were his mammoth fly balls landing softly in fielders' gloves as they stood on the warning track? Where was the guy who led the AL in home runs in 2009?
Well, we found him. After a homerless April, Pena hit seven in May and--after two yesterday--nine this month, the latter of which ties him for third in the majors. He also has seven in his last 11 games. In fact, don't look now--actually, go ahead and look, it's one of the few exciting things we can still follow this season--but Pena is seven round-trippers away from the major league lead and just five off the pace in the NL.
Not to be outdone, Aramis Ramirez hit two home runs of his own yesterday. (Carlos Gonzalez did the same thing--was there some sort of two-for-one sale?) Watch out for A-Ram: you'll recall that after hitting just six home runs through June last year, Ramirez belted 25 the rest of the way. After one in April and one in May this season, Ramirez now has six in June. As a team, the Cubs have moved up to the middle of the pack on the NL home run leaderboard. Now if they could just do the same with regard to their average with runners in scoring position ...
With the help of Matt Garza, who did not issue a walk and struck out six, the Cubs technically avoided a sweep with the 7-3 win as they had lost the first two games of the series back in April. Next up will be four against the Giants, who have won five in a row but are under .500 on the road this season.