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This week in baseball: Good news on the north side

Cubs enjoying brief respite from another poor season

Monday, May 13, 2013 - 8:40 pm

The last-place Chicago Cubs have finally established Kevin Gregg as their closer, which is good news for their fans, as manager Dale Sveum has proven to be no dummy.

In addition, the Cubs must also be happy that Matt Garza had a good rehab start in the minors on Saturday. That wasn't the only positive over the weekend for Chicago, as it beat the Nationals' Steven Strasburg to make his record 1-5, while Edwin "$52 million" Jackson won his first game as a Cub.

The Cubs host the Rockies for three games beginning today and going through Wednesday, before leaving Wrigley for three games with the Mets in New York.

ChiSox struggles continue

The news wasn't as good on the south side of Chicago.

The White Sox are still in the American League Central basement, after losing eight of their last 12 games.

The team still has issues with poor fielding and injured pitchers, but Dayan Viciedo has come off of the disabled list, so he may add some punch to the sluggish offensive lineup.

The White Sox play at Minnesota today through Wednesday, before going to California to play four with the underachieving Angels over the weekend.

It's hot in Cleveland

Cleveland had another great week, as it swept the A's in four games and then took two of three from Detroit after suffering a 10-4 blowout loss on Friday.

The Tribe is 9-3 in one-run games, and on Sunday they did it without closer Chris Perez, who got the difficult save Saturday night.

In Sunday's win, the Indians were down to their last strike twice, before Michael Brantley singled with two outs to tie the game (ruining Jose Valverde's perfect 2013 save record), before Mark Reynolds (a career .118 pinch hitter) singled to put the Indians ahead 4-3 in the 10th inning.

The Tribe also showed its bullpen depth with the first career save for Cody Allen.

This week, Cleveland hosts the Yankees in a traditional doubleheader today, before going to Philadelphia to play its "Ex-Managers Week." The club will face Charlie Manual's Phillies on Tuesday and Wednesday before going back to Cleveland for four with the Mariners, and Fort Wayne native Eric Wedge, on Friday through next Monday.

Have a Coke and a smile

The Tigers will host Houston today through Wednesday, before hitting the road for four games in Texas.

Detroit is exhibiting its power on the mound, as the team leads the majors in pitchers' having 19 games of 10 or more strikeouts. With Phil Coke being back from the disabled list, life may be even better for skipper Jim Leyland.

Cincy is 'Red' hot

The Reds continue to play well, as Jay Bruce homered and doubled (twice) in a win over Atlanta on Saturday. Cincinnati swept the Brewers over the weekend, and have won seven of its last nine games.

The club now travels to Miami Tuesday through Thursday, before heading to Philadelphia for a weekend series.

Catcher Ryan Hanigan is back from the disabled list, while Johnny Cueto and Chris Heisey are on rehab assignments. Dusty Baker's club really needs better production from its starters, who have failed to produce a quality start in their last nine games.

Baker said he hadn't noticed the lack of quality starts, but he's surely noticed how well the bullpen and hitters have done during this challenging stretch.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. E-mail Rick Rimelspach at rrimelspach@news-sentinel.com.