Monday, July 30, 2007
-The Chicago Cubs. The Phillies journey to Chicago for a four-game set in the Windy City to take on the surging Cubs. The Cubs are playing good baseball behind their imposing pitching staff, so the question is whether the Phillies offense can score some runs, or will the Cubs shut the Phillies down.
-The Milwaukee Brewers. The Phillies leave Chicago to go up Lake Superior to take on the Brewers on Friday and into the weekend. The Brewers have been holding onto the N.L. Central despite the assault of the Cubbies for a little while. Can they continue?
Meanwhile, the trade deadline approaches. Thus far the Phillies have made one deal, sending Mike Dubee to the Chicago White Sox for Tadahito Iguchi. Simply put, I think Pat Gillick picked Chicago’s pocket (unlike in the Freddy Garcia deal) and stole a terrific player for a pitcher with marginal value. Nothing against Dubee, but he’s not one of the Phillies core minor leaguers (Matt Carpenter, Josh Outman, Matt Maloney, Kyle Drabek, Carlos Carrasco).
Iguchi will replace Utley at second base and add needed depth in the Phillies bench when Utley returns in late August or September. As a member of the White Sox, Iguchi had a .340 OBP to go along with 17 doubles, 6 Home Runs and 4 triples. He had 44 Runs Created, or 4.9 per 27 Outs. Defensively, Iguchi is a solid presence at the pivot. Nice deal.
The next thirty-six hours will see a lot of wheeling and dealing for teams. I’ve read that the Atlanta Braves are a near-lock to acquire Mark Teixeira from the Rangers, which hardly makes the Braves a lock in the N.L. race because I think that position players impact pennant races a lot less than pitchers do. I’m curious to see how active the Phillies will be.
Just to be sure - Chicago is ALSO on Lake Michigan.