Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Do not sit there and tell me you do not know what I am talking about. I know you sat there and watched Paula Abdul dance around the screen with a cartoon cat belting out the following lyrics, “I take two steps forward, I take two steps back, we come together because Opposites Attract.” Well, that is exactly how I feel about the Cubs, and I will take full advantage of any opportunity to use an egregious Paula Abdul reference in the process.

Over the weekend the Cubs showed promise. The improvement was obvious, the emotion palpable and the drive evident. Marquis pitched another sparkling gem against his ex-mates and Z followed that up with a “Z-like” performance, Cubs’ fans were finally privy to the type of domination Carlos has shown in the past. Felix Pie hit his first major league homerun that proved to be the crucial play in the Cubs 5-3 victory. Saturday was a hit parade as Jacque Jones had two in one inning, and though marveling at his fly ball a bit too long in the batter’s box, he still managed a triple. However, the brightest spot of the weekend was Ryan Dempster’s performance on Friday night. Lou brought him in during the 8th inning to attempt a five out save. The bases were loaded and the pressure was on. I stood there, watched him throw a ball and then turned away from the TV as I have seen how this story ends before. Even though he only blew 9 saves last year, it seemed like 30. Though normally positive, I had lost all hope in “Demp” so when he executed pitch after pitch and secured the game for the Cubs, I was more than just pleasantly surprised.

The bullpen has been the weakest link this year and Michael Wuertz proved that again on Monday night. He had been off to a hot start, but Jason Bay cooled the flame rather quickly with his game winning blast over Clemente’s wall. With Eyre and Howry struggling, Cotts’ ineptitude to throw strikes and the roller coaster that is Will Ohman, it is more important than ever that Dempster perform at a high level. After Pujols hit a ball into Lake Michigan off of Dempster 10 days ago, I was very nervous for his psyche. Heck, Brad Lidge was the most dominant closer in the game and since Pujols hit his fastball into the Gulf of Mexico, Lidge fell apart and is now being shopped around the league. As I mentioned above, I have seen this movie before, so when Dempster saved the game, not only did he execute a five out save, he proved what he made of along the way. Last season he reiterated multiple times that he was fine and would recover, but nobody believed him, including myself. Friday night he finally ‘walked the walk.’

Even though the Cubs are 10-14, the last two weeks have been full of positive strides. Lou is striving to put a consistent lineup on the field day after day and for the most part, the bats are coming alive. Zambrano returned to form and Soriano’s bat is heating up to the point where his first at bat of the month was a home run to centerfield. Derrek Lee has recaptured his 2005 form and A-Ram quelled worries of another slow start. With Lilly, Marquis and Hill keeping hitters at bay, the next five months could get real interesting. Yes, the Cubs may be six games out, but there is so much more baseball to be played. Heck before the season ends I plan to turn 28, fall in and out of love no less than 3 times and will watch 5 different friends get married.

If the Cubs cannot get it turned around in that amount of time, I will have to start getting much more enjoyment out of the bad 90′s music that I cannot get out of my head.

Feel free to contact me at brian@chicagocubsonline.com and until next time….

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!!

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting and just have faith that things will work out." - Steve Jobs
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