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Cubs Occupy 1st

By: Mitch Heun

Granted, four of those five road wins came at the hands of the struggling Washington Nationals, and a clean sweep of the skidding Reds  but it's imperative to take advantage of those teams. Anything other than a sweep may have been looked at as the icing on the cake to what has been a struggle so far this season. Instead the Cubs were given strong pitching performances and a jolt from their offense. 

However, the first two games against the Phillies were a much different story. The Cubs appeared to return to their first half form. Two runs in two games was quickly erased after they put up 10 in the series finale. As the Cubs head into a central division showdown with the Astros, they hope to keep their stellar pitching and resurgent offense alive. Much concern was centered around how Aramis Ramirez would return after the shoulder injury. What was a struggle at first to find his timing against live pitching, has turned into the old Ramirez we all know. Along with that Soriano is getting hits, Bradley is getting on base, Fukudome is controlling the lead off spot and Lee continues to flourish.

The 8-2 second half start has given new life to the North Siders, even as the rival Cardinals make big trade acquisitions before the deadline. It's a very cliche statement, but getting a healthy Ramirez and Soto or resurgent Soriano and Bradley, becomes similar to acquiring new players. Especially for those four guys, who have been virtually non existent throughout the season. Will the Cubs attempt to add a player or two before Friday's deadline?? I think so.... The upgrade won't be as significant as a Matt Holliday, but small additions to the bullpen and bench are likely. 

As for my trade deadline desire... Freddy Sanchez and John Grabow from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have said already they won't trade Freddy Sanchez, but if the price is right I don't see how they could turn it down. This may stir flashbacks of a certain famous 2003 deal, which brought Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton from the Pirates.   

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