Let us not tell half-truths: the 2012 season, so far, has been pretty fucking awful in terms of on-field product. Being 19 games under .500 isn't an accident so much as the result of a piss-poor minor league system and huge anchor contracts left by the previous regime. But dammit there have been bright spots. They come infrequently, and you kind of have to squint, and as you see above, all the pictures come out weird and blurry, like Bigfoot. I'll still take them - like this weekend's series win over the Mets, who find themselves in the unfamiliar position of contending, and the even more unfamiliar position of looking up in envy at the first-place Nationals. Who, by the way, might be printing Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza shirt-jerseys by the end of the month These are strange times indeed.
- Following yet another remote-throwing performance by Marmol on Friday, he apparently decided to do a little PR outreach with the Cubs photographer on Sunday. Either that, or the wire photos guy moonlights at Sears Portrait Studio:
Serious baseball question: How can you be mad at this face?
- Anthony Rizzo's messianic call-up has been going well so far, and his 3-run shot on Friday ended up being entirely necessary, in spite of Marmol's winning smile and easy charm. This has led to Thunder Matt's Saloon editor Mr. Funk proclaiming to me "I'm JIZZO for RIZZO!" I think that nicely encapsulates the whole situation, at least as far as we vulgar bloggy types are concerned.
- Last off-season, the team parted with WAIW favorite Sean Marshall. We got Travis Wood, who has somehow beaten Johan Santana twice so far, bested Jake Peavy in 2-1 duel, and held his own against the Tigers and Justin Verlander. They got 9 saves, some well-publicized closer issues, and innumerable questions about why the fuck anybody lets Dusty Baker manage a bullpen anymore.
- Starlin Castro's big Friday off ended with him going 1-2. Maybe don't breathlessly report it so much next time.
- Good to see Samardzija finally get back near something that approaches competent 3-hole pitching. Two homers and 3 runs on 99 pitches is a world better than the quagmire of sadness that was every single one of his June starts.
- Check out this awesome clip of Castro's Sunday homer that put the game out of reach and probably saved us a Marmol-ing. As the ball screams out of the infield, you can hear it saying "fuuuuuuck youuuuuuu, Rosenblooooom!"
- On Sunday, Darwin Barney got hit in the thigh by a pitch. Except he swung at it and struck out. Hilarious.
- Good to see Dempster's "lat tightness" didn't affect anything but his pitch count. Was that perhaps the man's last audition for a contender? I sincerely hope we get something very good back for him, then re-sign him after the season at a discount.
- I sincerely hope we don't pull a Sean Marshall and try to turn James Russell into a starter again. I will not watch that game.
- ALL STAR WEEK! I always enjoy watching the game, despite all the Selig shenaniganizing over the last handful of years. The Home Run Derby, on the other hand, can die in a fire until the day they shoot Chris Berman into space.