Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

July 2008 Archives

ESPN's Erin Andrews in the house

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Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

While losing the first two games of a key four-game series against the Cubs -- and with co-aces CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets on the mound -- the Brewers looked overmatched, writes Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Michael Hunt. Any way you slice it, the Brewers have some defensive issues at second base, whether it's Rickie Weeks starting or Ray Durham, who suffered another injury to his aging legs.

Former ace Chris Carpenter is making his first major-league start in nearly 500 days. After watching the Cubs (Rich Harden) and Brewers (Sabathia) load up on arms this month, the Cardinals need a big contribution from Carpenter to stay in the race. The bullpen remains a liability for the Cards, but they are giving the ninth inning back to Jason Isringhausen.

Looking to end further speculation before the non-waiver trade deadline Thursday, Astros general manager Ed Wade stressed that shortstop Miguel Tejada will not be dealt.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin shot down rumors he is near a deal for Orioles closer George Sherrill. Sources have told the Sun-Times the O's are not expected to move Sherrill to ANY team before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline. After their sweep of the Cardinals, the Brewers are 28-26 on the road, a major turnaround for a club that went 32-49 away from Miller Park last season, a key reason they couldn't hold off the Cubs in the division race, notes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who adds the Brewers haven't had a winning season on the road since 1999 (42-39), the last year they won at least six away games in a row until now.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, who went 0-for-2 in a loss to the Brewers on Thursday night, hasn't homered since a July 4 game against the Cubs. ''Other people can worry about it. You can worry about it. But I don't worry about it,'' Pujols said. It's a safe bet manager Tony La Russa is a little worried. If you haven't noticed, the Cardinals have a terrible bullpen. If they don't make a deal this week, there is no way they can stay in the hunt with their current group of relievers. Meanwhile, La Russa will stick with his current setup of 13 pitchers and four bench players.

Meanwhile, Jack Curry of the New York Times examines the broken-bat trend. Since July 2, all 30 teams have been instructed to save their broken bats, a span of 260 games that has produced 257 broken bats, or nearly one per game, Curry writes.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Brewers hope to finish off the Cardinals in the next two days with the one-two punch of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. Jay Gibbons, once tainted by HGH allegations and dumped by the Orioles, has been signed by the Brewers and assigned to their Class AA team.

After a 40-pitch bullpen session, former ace Adam Wainwright says he expects to return to the Cardinals' rotation in three weeks. Shrinking his strike zone and getting more familiar with opposing pitchers has helped Rick Ankiel become more consistent at the plate.

And how about this? Former Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth has become Mr. Reliable in the Yankees' bullpen.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Inside this Derrick Goold notebook in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we see the Cardinals are trying to reach a deal with the Orioles to land closer George Sherrill. If the Cardinals want to stay in the race, they must improve their bullpen.

The Brewers continue to be aggressive before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline and also are trying to secure a deal with the O's for Sherrill. Their latest acquisition, veteran second baseman Ray Durham, reported for duty Monday. Manager Ned Yost stresses that Rickie Weeks remains his starting second baseman, but tells Durham the team will ''play it by ear'' according to pitching matchups.

With ace Roy Oswalt on the disabled list, the out-of-contention Astros, according to Buster Olney, are making a hard push for Padres left-hander Randy Wolf, who was once on the Cubs' radar before they landed Rich Harden.

Hart up, Wuertz down

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Cubs made a move today, here's the official release:

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips, former GM of the Mets, says the Cubs still have the edge in the NL Central even after the Brewers landed CC Sabathia. ‘‘Right now, if I’m the Cubs, I don’t trade my starting pitching for anybody else’s starting staff in the game,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘And I don’t trade my bullpen for anybody else’s bullpen in the game.’’ Still, the Brewers feel pretty good about themselves. ‘‘This team,’’ owner Mark Attanasio said, ‘‘has become a national team.’’ Just imagine their excitement if the Brewers were in first place.

Major League Baseball gave Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols the cold shoulder when he asked to be part of the Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities next week. The NL squad is set, featuring Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, Astros first baseman Lance Berkman, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun and Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. In this same notebook, the Cards shoot down speculation Barry Bonds will be signed by the team, whih did, at one time more than a year ago, have interest in the slugger.

Reds ace Aaron Harang, who might be trade bait, is expected to return in two weeks after an MRI revealed no major issues with his sore forearm.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Starting Mark Mulder tonight gives the Cardinals a chance to gauge their pitching before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline. Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter could return to the Cardinals’ rotation by next month.

Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a closer look at the pitching deals made by the Cubs and Brewers.

Here’s how the Brewers reacted to the Cubs’ acquisition of right-hander Rich Harden a day after CC Sabathia was acquired by Milwaukee.

Inside this Hal McCoy notebook, we see that Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman, making his first visit to Wrigley Field since calling Cubs fans the worst in baseball, had few problems on the North Side, though he did enter the ballpark with a bodyguard. Brennaman was hard to miss, wearing a bright red shirt. ‘‘If they want a piece of me, they know where to find me,’’ he said. ‘‘I asked to sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in the seventh inning, but they turned me down.’’ If you want to read more about Brennaman’s day in Chicago, the Cincinnati Enquirer details his visit to Navy Pier.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Brewers manager Ned Yost has already penciled in the one-two punch of Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia for the four-game series against the Cubs that closes July. Not waiting on making the Sabathia deal is huge. The lefty will start tonight against the Rockies, the first of five potential starts before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline. This deal is being compared to the Aug. 30 trade of Hall of Famer Don Sutton to the Brewers, an acquisition that helped them reach the World Series in 1982, which is also the last time the Brewers reached the playoffs. General manager Doug Melvin sent a message with the splashy move: ‘‘We're going for it.’’

Lost in all the hoopla in Milwaukee was the move that put starter Jeff Suppan on the disabled list.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look at the pitching powerhouse that is the NL Central. Meanwhile, pitcher Adam Wainwright could begin a throwing program this week.

The Astros are looking to get ace Roy Oswalt back Friday for a start against the Nationals.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Brewers reportedly are restructuring their offer for Indians ace C.C. Sabathia, a move that could open the field for the Cubs and other contenders in the derby for the ace left-hander. Meanwhile, there is concern struggling setup man Guillermo Mota is tipping his pitches.

The Cardinals are expected to activate shortstop Cesar Izturis before their series finale Sunday against the Cubs. St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz admits Cardinals fans at Busch Stadium made the right call be giving the Cubs’ Jim Edmonds a warm welcome-back greeting (at least, the right call by Cubs standards). Meanwhile, broadcaster Joe Buck apologized for his ill-advised shots at baseball. Fox Sports’ lead baseball voice had said on ESPN radio that he ‘‘barely’’ watched baseball on TV anymore, adding, ‘‘as far as sitting down and watching a sporting event, that’s just not part of my day, it’s not part of my night. I’ll be honest with you, watching ‘The Bachelorette’ is.’’

Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, the 2006 National League batting champion, is stuck in the worst slump of his career.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals’ biggest need before the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline is a left-handed reliever. Former Cub Matt Clement concluded his rehab stint Wednesday, but he’s not quite ready to join the Cardinals, who are mulling their next move with the right-hander.

Can’t imagine the Cubs — especially during the Sam Zell era — giving their fans a shot at such inexpensive tickets, but give credit to the Cardinals and their radio partner for selling select game-day tickets for $5.50 each.

Hey, look, the Brewers actually scored late — right when they needed to most. Hitting .186 over his last 10 games with no home runs and only three RBI, Ryan Braun was given the night off by Brewers manager Ned Yost.

News flash from Dusty Baker on his last-place Reds: ‘‘We have to play better in our division.’’

The Pirates will have to do without closer Matt Capps until at least September.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

The Cardinals have bucked the league-wide trend of thriving at home, doing about as well at Busch Stadium as they do on the road. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a close look at the Cardinals’ surprising lineup. After recent flareups in his elbow, former ace Chris Carpenter is feeling good again. He will throw for the Cardinals today before resuming his rehab in Florida.

Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia faces the White Sox tonight and there figures to be an overflow crowd of scouts watching the reigning Cy Young Award winner at U.S. Cellular Field. We all know the Cubs will be watching, but so will the Brewers. Meanwhile, the Brewers have had no problem scoring early, but they continue to come up empty late in games.

Frustrated by the exploding maple bats, Reds slugger Adam Dunn has switched to ash bats.

Check back later for updates.

Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

A year after a surprising World Series run, the Rockies are primed to be sellers before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and the Cardinals reportedly have their sights set on outfielder Matt Holliday and left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, who would be a nice fit in the Cubs’ bullpen. Meanwhile, Mark Mulder’s comeback featured some ninth-inning duty out of the bullpen.

Old pal Buster Olney at ESPN says the Brewers are the frontrunners in the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes, which made general manager Doug Melvin smile. But Melvin figures to be active before the deadline, saying: ‘‘We lost the division by two games last year. One player could make the difference in two or three games.’’

The Astros have been a remarkable second-half team in recent seasons and some in Houston believe they are primed for another late run. Their victory Monday came at the expense of an injury scare with ace Roy Oswalt.

Check back later for updates.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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