The Cubs’ Lou Piniella knows what he’s talking about. After being beaten 6-5 and two straight by the White Sox, Lou showed way more class than the average Cub fan by admitting the Sox should win their division by “at least half a dozen games”. Relieved by the Sox pen of all duties signaling to runners in the 8th and 9th innings, Lou must have used the free time to reflect on what first-place baseball on the working side of town really means:
– The Best Bullpen In Baseball: Not since Snoop Pearson and Chris Partlow has a pair more epitomized the term “lights out” than Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks. As if that weren’t enough, Boone Logan, Nick Masset and the hammering heat of Matt Thornton (W, 4K 1 2/3) are all on call – and only made necessary today by the struggling Javy Vazquez’s (9H, 5R 4 1/3) 104 pitch performance. With a pen like this, the Sox can probably weather another Jose Contreras divorce, if not more of Vazquez’ glitching.
– Crede Got Back: Is there a better-handled hot corner in the AL? 3B Joe Crede’s back surgeon’s suture skills were on dispay in a 4th inning incredible stretching dive catch of a Derrek Lee line drive to get out of the inning. However big Trapper John’s yacht is, at least he’s earned it.
– Offense: It’s A Good Idea. The reliable power of Jermaine Dye (1 HR), the improbable power of Alexi Ramirez (1 HR), the explosive swing of Orlando Cabrera, the far-from-terrible Nick Swisher and the, uh, rich legacy of Jim Thome (1BB) are enough to stake a season-long claim to the zone.
But you’re not done until you add the incomparable All-Star write-in candidate Carlos Quentin (1 HR), who today sent a Carlos Marmol 0-2 fastball over the right field fence and into the inferior Cubs pen. The go-ahead run landing in the seated Kerry Wood’s lap is all it took to remind Wood, Piniella and the world that the Sox are number one.