Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Cubs' first half: 10 moments to remember
By Bruce Levine
|Carlos Zambrano figures prominently in the Cubs' memorable moments from the first half.|
The Cubs' record may be forgettable at 39-50, but the first half was not without notable moments for the North Siders. Here are 10 to remember:
April 22: Due to an excessive amount of starting pitching, and a floundering bullpen, Lou Piniella designates Carlos Zambrano from the rotation into the primary set-up role. A month later, Zambrano returns to the rotation, but he's scheduled to go back to the pen when he returns from the restricted list.
May 7: Top prospect Starlin Castro makes his major-league debut in Cincinnati. The 20-year-old shortstop hits a home run and triple in his first two at-bats, driving in a record six runs.
June 13: Left-hander Ted Lilly and White Sox righty Gavin Floyd match each other with no-hit baseball through six innings. Lilly takes his no-hit bid into the ninth before yielding a lead-off single to Juan Pierre.
June 18: Piniella responds to criticism from Steve Stone, who said Piniella should be playing Tyler Colvin regularly. Piniella soon inserts Colvin as an everyday outfielder. Despite 76 fewer at-bats than Atlanta's Jason Heyward, who was touted as the preseason rookie of the year favorite, Colvin has one more home run than Heyward's 11 at the break.
June 25: Carlos Zambrano explodes in the visitors dugout in U.S. Cellular Field. After surrendering four first-inning runs to the White Sox, Zambrano berated his teammates and challenged Derrek Lee in front of a national TV audience. Manager Lou Piniella sends him home, and he's suspended indefinitely. He's later moved from the suspended list to the restricted list in a negotiated deal with the Cubs, Major League Baseball, the players union and Zambrano's agent. Zambrano agrees to see anger management counselors as part of the deal.
June 29: Left-handed set-up man John Grabow, who was signed to a two-year, $7 million before the 2010 season, goes on the DL for the second time after reinjuring his left knee.
July 4: Outfielder Marlon Byrd is named the team's lone All-Star. Byrd was the most consistent performer for the 2010 Cubs in the first half.
July 6: After slumping all season, and suffering through a thumb injury, Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez has his first two-home run game in almost two years, against the Diamondbacks.
July 10: Lou Piniella receives his first ejection of the season after he perceived close calls continuously being given to the Los Angeles Dodgers during a four-game series. Umpire Brian Runge throws out Piniella for arguing a play at first.
July 11: New owner Tom Ricketts is asked if he'll assess Jim Hendry's job after the season. He didn't say yes or no, but he did say: "The fact is, right now, Jim is our general manager. I support him, and I think he does a great job. After that, we'll take it one day at a time."