Well, for the Cubs, anyway. They scored in the first when wild pitch third strike put a runner on first; he was doubled in by Starlin Castro. An error and a single was followed by a Darwin Barney homer in the fourth. In the fifth, a walk and a knock was followed by another homer, this time by Anthony Rizzo. Three straight singles brought in another Cubbie run. And hey, this was just in the 4-1/3 innings Erik Bedard worked.
Chris Resop came in (finally) and gave up another single and run. A bunt and an infield single off the first base bag scored two more (it took a big kick). That was followed by another homer, this one from Castro's bat. When the fifth inning ended, the Cubs had touched home nine times to take a 13-2 lead.
A triple and double off Tony Watson in the seventh added another run to the Chicago board.
The bigger problem was having enough guys to finish the game. In the span of an inning, the Cubs traded Reed Johnson/Paul Maholm to the Braves (the Pirates were one of the finalists for Johnson) and Geovany Soto to the Rangers. You had to keep a sharp eye on the dugout; Dale Sveum emptied his bench during the blowout, so the hugs goodbye were the only way to figure out who was traded and who was getting a blow.
The Bucs had few shining moments. In the third, Starling Marte's two out knock brought in a run. Mike McKenry's bases loaded grounder sent home another in the fourth when the second baseman dropped the ball while making the potentially inning-ending DP turn. Two infield singles and a walk loaded the bases in the sixth. McKenry's knock scored one and Clint Barmes' walk another before a Casey McGehee DP killed the rally, swinging at the first pitch which was below the knees.
But there was a bright spot - Marte collected 3 hits from the leadoff spot, and so far hasn't shown any real plates issues other than he's aggressive at the dish and so probably won't be a big OBP guy. He's still looking for his first big league walk and only took them at a 5% rate in the minors
The Bucs had their Lasting Milledge moments, too. Marte was doubled off first, either on a straight steal or hit-and-run, on a fly to center after sliding into second and heading to third before he noticed the ball had been caught. Alex Presley was caught stealing in the seventh with Cutch up - and down by nine runs.
Hopefully it's all out of their system now. The good news on the night is that the Reds finally lost 11-5 to SD, so the Pirates at least didn't lose any ground. The bad news is that their post season competitor, Atlanta, just pulled even with Pittsburgh in the wild card race, and made themselves a little bit deeper down the stretch.
AJ Burnett faces off against Ryan Dempster, if he's still with the Cubs - at least we know he's not going to Atlanta now - tomorrow night. It'd be a good time for AJ to step up as the stopper for the staff.
- Ryan Dempster’s turn in the rotation was scheduled for tonight, but was pushed back to tomorrow so that if he's moved by the trade deadline, he's good to go for his new team.
- Eddie Matz of ESPN The Magazine jumped on the Cutch bandwagon.
- When Ben Badler of Baseball America was asked if Tony Sanchez still profiled as a starting MLB catcher, his reply was "Backup more likely." That sure muddies the position, both in the long and short term.
- At 67-43 the AAA
Indy Indians are off to their best start through 110 games since going 68-42 in 1996.
- 1B Alex Dickerson of Bradenton was named the Florida State League Player of the Week after batting .462 with two home runs, seven RBI, four doubles and 10 runs scored.
- Bradenton's Jameson Taillon threw seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and three walks with four K. The Marauders lost in ten, 1-0.
- Lyle Overbay was just DFA'ed by Arizona. He was hitting .292, but only appeared in 45 games as a platoon option. Buster Olney of ESPN tweets "Guessing where Overbay might fit as a PH/backup 1B --just guessing--and coming up with CIN."