Soriano Powers Cubs Past Houston, into Second Place


The Cubs have seemingly already endured a season’s worth of trials and tribulations, and yet, for all the injuries, controversies and stretches of spotty play, the team is 16-12 and just 2 1/2 games out of first.  If the mark of a good team is being able to weather the bad periods and make hay when things start going right…well, the Cubs seem to fit the first half of that bill; now we’ll see if, with the weather warming and guys getting into a groove, they can get hot and stay that way for a bit.

They may not be officially hot as of right now, but they are definitely warming up, having won 2 straight and 6 of their previous 7.  The last two wins came at the expense of the Houston Astros who are having a dismal season.  The Cubs took game 1 behind Rich Harden‘s arm and Aramis Ramirez‘s bat – isn’t it nice to have Rammy back in the fold – and then prevailed handily in game two, thanks largely to a pair of bombs by Alfonso Soriano who, if the past is any indication, is about to go off on one of his absurd torrid streaks.

Speaking of torrid: Ted Lilly is now having himself an All-Star first half, with a 4-2 record and a 3.11 ERA.  He handcuffed Houston Thursday night, allowing only 4 hits over 6 innings, though his control was spotty and he allowed 5 walks.  The bullpen then came on and did a solid job, except for the recently recalled Chad Fox who gave up 3 earned in 1/3 of an inning – a somewhat big deal given that the Cubs had a large lead at that point, and I’m sure Lou Piniella would’ve preferred to save Kevin Gregg for another night, rather than use him to clean up Fox’s mess in the 9th.

The Cubs now embark on a three game trip to Milwaukee to kick the tar out of the Beersuckers.