I know what you did last night….you looked at the standings, didn’t you? You glanced at the local paper around dinner time, crunched a few numbers and realized that if the Reds lost to the Cardinals, that the Cubs are only 9 games out of the wild card. NINE GAMES! Then you got excited, the lemon chicken tasted much better than usual, the white rice had an extra kick to it, the green beans were especially buttery and all was right with the world.
I am not here to bring you down or to make you look at the situation realistically, I am here to talk this through with you. The next three are against the Cardinals, our own doormat this year, we have seven left against the Pirates, six with the Phillies, three more in St. Louis, three at home against the Rockies, four with Atlanta, three against the Giants, three with L.A., two with Milwaukee and seven against CINCINNATI! Basically all of these teams are ahead of us, with more to lose, more pressure and greater expectations.
My buddy Craig asked me the other day if I would be disappointed if the Cubs made the playoffs because it felt like such a bad year for so long and that in some way we were cheated out of that great feeling all summer. Are you KIDDING me?! No way, I do not care, if they make it they do, but seriously, they are not going to, are they? No, I do not think they will. I think the mountain is too big to climb; I think that the starting pitching is too skeptical and I do not think the bench is deep enough. However, I am really looking forward to the last 42 games for a few reasons.
The Big Murt! I cannot take credit for that nickname, but Murton is coming around. His clutch performance on Tuesday brought back many memories of the man I have compared him to all season, Mark Grace. Like Grace, Murton is playing a power position and has not shown a great deal of power. Like Grace, Murton is patient and can flat out hit. He goes with the pitch, drives the ball to the power alleys and respects the game. The only difference is that Grace was a Gold Glove first-bagger, and well….you know. One year is not enough, he deserves more time.
RC Cola will have time to show his worth and he seems to be adjusting nicely to second base, though I would not mind seeing Ryan Theriot in the line-up some more. The kid has speed, he can field, and he can definitely hit. While I may still be on the Marcus Giles bandwagon, one of these two kids might save us some money when it comes to solidifying better pitching.
Izturis has already been fun to watch play SS, in person it truly looks like he is gliding around the field, he is so smooth. Ramirez’ bat has caught fire lately and his defense is, well it almost seems like he is a different person. Let us all hope that Mr. Ramirez’ representation and Hendry have been working to lock down his future in Cubbie blue. JP is just energetic and exciting to watch on the ball field, talk about respecting a game and respecting your teammates, as they say in the ‘Old Milwaukee’ slogan, “Boys, it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Finally we have the rookie-go-round on the mound. The Cubs should have a very good idea of what they have going into next year. On Tuesday night Angel Guzman pitched better than he ever has before. Rich Hill had that aura of confidence and was just snapping off those curve balls. Yesterday, Ryan O’Malley made me stand up and clap. I believe ‘david’ posted a comment on Jeff Pico and that was the first thing I thought of as well, though I believe Pico only gave up four hits and it was a complete game. We can only wait until his next start to see what happens. Juan Mateo made me pump my fist when he threw at Clemens and you know the dugout loved it, major points for him that evening. Marmol has been shaky, but if anyone can harness that talent, who knows what will happen. The funny thing about it all is that the most forgotten rookie was the biggest rookie in April. Sean Marshall has been brilliant at times this season and will come back and have one more month to pitch. I firmly believe that of Marshall, Hill, Marmol and Mateo, two of them will have rather fruitful Major League careers, hopefully with the Cubs.
There is a lot to look forward to over the final 42 games of the season, there will be a reason to watch every game. While I may have glanced at the standings last night, I have been fooled too many times before to buy this nonsense. It will not happen, that is my prediction, the Cubs will not make the playoffs, there, you have it. Do you remember my last prediction?
I said that Derrek Lee’s injury would not adversely affect the Cubs!!
Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at [email protected], and until next time….
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!