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Some Blog I Wrote

stuff i think about and then type on a keyboard

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Crosstown Series 2005, Round Five

The final: Cubs: 6, White Sox: 2

That Loaiza/Contreras trade last year benefitted neither the White Sox nor the Yankees.

Contreras never recovered from a 1st inning grand slam, and Maddux settled after a potentially nasty 2nd inning to reach 312 wins.

The highlight reel for this game shows only two plays: Aramis Ramirez's grand slam in the 1st, and Todd Hollinsworth's 2-run denial in the 2nd that allowed Maddux to settle down. (The reel may be stretched to show back-to-back White Sox jacks that preceded Hollinsworth's play.) One highlight no one has mentioned is the first pitch bunt single in the 1st by Corey Patterson, recently returned to the leadoff spot following what some insiders have characterized as a tough heart-to-heart between CoPat and his manager. The hit was as critical to the Cubs' early lead Saturday as Ramirez's slam.

It's no secret the young center fielder has underperformed since returning to the roster at the start of the 2004 season. He's come through on a few occasions, but he's generally found himself on long hitless streaks and has choked in the outfield more than a few times. Many feel CoPat is on the short list with Dusty Baker and GM Jim Hendry. Such a list isn't hard to compile. Most of the Cub hitters have shown some degree of consistency this season, but CoPat has been a sore spot. He spent much of his time toward the bottom of the order, a placement he didn't seem to mind according to one locker room interview.

With Prior and Wood coming back -- Prior pitches in the Crosstown finale and Wood returns Wednesday -- fans hope they are healthy enough to restabilize their pitching game. Unfortunately, while Dempster seems to be very comfortable as the closer, the biggest hole for the Cubs' pitching staff is middle relief. None of the relievers have been consistent, be it Novoa, Wuertz, Wellemeyer, Remlinger, the unfortunately named Ohman, or Bartosh. The Cubs desperately need to find a compliment to Dempster, and perhaps they already have one in their staff.

CoPat is likely the most attractive player they can dangle for a trade. His speed would be attractive to any team, and he has respectable numbers. Whether they trade for middle relief or a better hitter is anyone's guess. The Cubs aren't alone with middle relief problems. If they trade him for pitching, they'd be forced to choose between Dubois and Hairston for a permanent CF. Given recent overall performance, Hairston's my pick. He could easily replace CoPat speed-for-speed, though I wouldn't give him the leadoff spot just yet. He needs to earn it.

Of course, this is all academic. CoPat could have decided to turn things around for himself with the Cubs. Maybe he'll become a consistent leadoff hitter and allow the Cubs to look for other players to trade. He should realize that his increased performance will have ripple effects that could extend to a better bullpen after the trade deadline, which is looming.

Posted by GiromiDe @ 11:05 AM
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