Cincinnati Reds defeat Chicago Cubs, 7-1

Joe Girardi always has been a first-things-first man, concerned about today and willing to let tomorrow take its course.

So for the New York Yankees' manager, talk about what could happen next year with the Cubs is not relevant now and perhaps not relevant at all.

''You don't speculate [about the future],'' he said Friday as he again addressed the topic of possibly managing his former team. ''I've said all along my responsibility is to the Yankees. I was hired to do ...

CINCINNATI -- The last time the Cubs were here, they were only five games out of first place, just 1½ behind the second-place Reds and pulling out all the stops -- or at least shortstops -- to fix a slow start.

Since then ... well, we all know what that slow start turned into and how far into the distant horizon the Reds have charged away from the Cubs.

But the last 16 weeks for the Cubs have been as much about how far that shortstop has come since his record-setting...