Cubs spoiling another NL West foe’s hopes
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org August 30, 2011 10:18PM
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:30AM
SAN FRANCISCO — As last season came to a close, the Cubs might have been the San Francisco Giants’ second-favorite team, all but knocking the San Diego Padres out of the playoffs in the final week of the season as the Giants won the National League West by two games.
Promises of a case of wine and other gifts were made, and eventually Giants manager Bruce Bochy put Cubs manager Mike Quade on his All-Star Game coaching staff.
Now that the Cubs are trying to spoil the Giants’ playoff hopes, Quade isn’t counting on anymore perks from them.
‘‘I doubt it,’’ Quade said before Matt Garza (7-10) made it back-to-back impressive pitching performances in a 5-2 victory to clinch a road series win against the Giants on Tuesday night.
One night after Randy Wells beat Giants ace Tim Lincecum, Garza went 62/3 innings to put a potential sweep of the fading Giants in the hands of Rodrigo Lopez today.
With four home runs in the 7-0 victory against the Giants on Monday, the Cubs entered the final two days of August leading the majors with 38 homers this month. That’s a big reason they clinched their first winning month of the season Monday (15-12).
‘‘Better late than never,’’ Quade said. ‘‘I do tend to look back once in awhile at how tough April and May can be for hitters conditions-wise at home sometimes. I think of some of the balls that [Carlos] Pena hit that would have been gone in a lot of places. That’s part of the deal.’’
Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with six homers this month, but one unexpected power source has been Starlin Castro, who has five of his eight this month. Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto also have five each.
The Cubs’ top prospect, Class AAA Iowa outfielder Brett Jackson, might not join the big club when rosters expand, but he’ll join five other key Cubs prospects in the Arizona Fall League after the season: right-handed pitchers Chris Carpenter, Andrew Cashner and Trey McNutt and infielders DJ LeMahieu and Junior Lake.
In the running
Ron Santo and Pat Hughes are among 75 candidates on the fan ballot for the 2012 Frick Award, the baseball Hall of Fame honor for broadcasters. Three finalists from the fan voting will be included on a final 10-name ballot. Votes can be cast at www.facebook.com/baseballhall.