Monday, July 6, 2009

How time flies: Aramis due back

I'm a little nervous for tonight's game, definitely more nervous than I should be for a Monday night game against the Braves. Aramis is due back this evening, along with Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman. The Aramis excuse was used so much that it became a safety blanket; a lot of Cub fans, myself included, kind of put off facing the reality this team is not that good.

However, Aramis returns in a great situation (great being a relative term). Here are my reasons:

1) The point has been made by a lot of people, ranging from Lou to my own father, that the Cubs are the same 2 1/2 games out of first that they were when he injured his shoulder on the Miller Park infield. The Cubs are 2 games under .500 without Aramis, so the division really missed an opportunity to bury the Cubs.

2) Jake Fox: Aramis is not going to generate the power he used to with that shoulder, at least not yet. Going against Jurjens and Vazquez in his first two games back doesn't bode well for a hot return either. However, the pressure is not on him as much as could possibly be because Jake Fox has proven he can hit big league pitching. If Aramis needs to be brought back slowly, the Cubs can probably survive that.

3) Derrek Lee: Defying all logic, D-Lee has actually taken off in the absence of Aramis. A lot of people forget that Aramis was a big enabler for D-Lee's historic 2005 season, as he was an All-Star and put up some great numbers until an injury in late August. Regardless, Derrek is looking comfortable and in quasi-2005 form in that 3 spot, so Aramis doesn't have to come back and be "they guy," at least not right away.

Angel Guzman's return should not be forgotten. The Cubs best reliever of 2009, so far, has been sorely missed. Kevin Gregg has looked really good since blowing the 5-4 game in Detroit a few weeks ago. You have to figured Marmol will right himself, like he did last year after his mid-season funk. If Guzman can keep doing what he was doing, even with a little drop-off, the team should have a decent bullpen.

It will be very interesting to see how the roster shakes out, and Lou used the word interesting to describe it as well. 3 current roster holders need to go down, and you have to figure Sam Fuld is one of them. Kevin Hart too, though it wouldn't surprise me if it was Shark. Personally, I think Mike Fontenot should go down over Blanco, but I don't know if the powers that be see it that way. Either way, you simply can't justify sending down Jake Fox based on pure performance, but with options being a factor, you never know.

As I am not a professional journalist (yet), here is a link to Bruce Miles' story on today's action. I'm excited to get back to writing and talking to everyone on Twitter after this weekend. Go Cubs.

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