The Cubs beat the Pirates 3-1 Monday night, thanks to some strong pitching by Rich Harden. Harden went 7 strong innings allowing only 1 run on 9 hits and a walk. Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg each pitched one uneventful inning apiece to close out the victory.
Ryan Theriot helped spark the offense with his 7th homerun. Milton Bradley and Jake Fox had two hits apiece. The Cubs have two games remaining against PIttsburgh on this road trip before returning home for an eleven game homestand before the All Star Break, including 4 games each against division leaders St. Louis and Milwaukee.
In addition, Aramis Ramirez is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Thursday. If all goes well, he could be back right around the All Star Break.
So, they next 13 games could be crucial to the Cubs chances this season. If they can win the series' against the Cardinals and Brewers, they can give themselves some momentum heading into the All Star break and Ramirez' return. If they should lose the series' against the Brewers and Cardinals, then even Ramirez may not be enough to salvage the season.