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COLUMN

This Week in Baseball: Good news (finally) for Cubs

Chicago rookie on hot hitting streak

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 8:29 pm

There hasn't been a lot to cheer for on the north side of Chicago this summer. However, Cub fans were happy to see Junior Lake get four hits in a game again recently, as he became the first Cub to do that twice in his first 16 games since 1916.

The rookie left fielder has 24 hits since July 19, which is the second most in Major League Baseball, trailing Atlanta's Chris Johnson, who has 26.

Chicago General Manager Jed Hoyer recently told Cubs.com that he expects the waiver trade period (later this month) to be more active than the non-waiver period that expired last Wednesday. His reasoning was that it is more a matter of luck than negotiation.

"I think it will be [more active]," Hoyer said. “But there's a lot of luck involved with the waiver part. If the wrong team claims a guy and won't give up any talent, you're kind of stuck, so waiver deals can work out, but you can also get stuck and not be able to make a deal. So you never know, and that's why you want deals in July."

The Cubs will visit Philadelphia on Tuesday through Thursday, and then head to division rival St. Louis for a three-game series over the weekend.

The strong get even stronger in Detroit

Detroit has been strong regardless of where it plays this season, and the Tigers will try to maintain their road presence with a four-game series (opening tonight) in Cleveland before travelling to face the Yankees in New York over the weekend.

Detroit recently acquired young infielder Jose Iglesias in the three-team trade involving Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy (now with Boston) and also involving prospect Avisail Garcia (now playing in Class AAA Charlotte for the ChiSox).

Iglesias took uniform No. 1, which was once worn by the great Tiger infielder Lou Whitaker. He's expected to be the Detroit shortstop of the future, with Jhonny Peralta facing a possible suspension due to use of performance enhancing drugs as soon as possibly today.

The Tigers also addressed their struggling bullpen by picking up Jose Veras from Houston.

Veras closed games for the Astros, but the Tigers have Joaquin Benoit for that, so Veras is now being used as a setup man, and adds bullpen depth.

Now may be the red-hot Tigers best chance to put some distance between themselves and that pesky team in second place, Cleveland.

Little moves in Cleveland

The Tribe's only move was to add a lefty reliever with a longer, more-confusing-to-spell last name than mine, as Marc Rzepczynski came over from St. Louis.

“Just call me Zep,'' he told his new teammates before coach Sandy Alomar struggled with his last name.

“We chose not to make a bad deal,” Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said of why the Tribe made no more trades.

After the Tigers series, the Tribe will host the Los Angeles Angels for three games this weekend.

The Tribe did send former set-up closer Vinnie Pestano to Class AAA Columbus, in the hope he can be straightened out before September arrives.

Cleveland earned a MLB-leading 15th shutout on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Miami.

No moves in Cincinnati

One team which did nothing on the trade front was Cincinnati, which ended a five-game road losing streak Wednesday by beating the Padres.

The Reds are hoping Ryan Ludwick, who has been out since getting hurt on Opening Day, may be coming back soon. However, early indications are that he's going to need to shake off a lot of rust before he's ready to play.

The Reds have today off, before hosting Oakland for a pair of mid-week games and battle San Diego over the weekend.

Souring on the south side

Similar to the north side of Chicago, the White Sox haven't enjoyed the 2013 season on the south side.

They have now lost 10 games in a row and are 14-25 in one-run games. Chicago will host the Yankees tonight through Wednesday, and then Minnesota over the weekend.

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