On the morning of August 6th, I woke up with the possibility that it might have been a bad dream. I could have easily had a nightmare that Soriano came up lame while heading to third on a Ryan Theriot single. Anything’s possible right? I dream about weird things all the time, but to the Faithful dreaming about the Cubs might be a common occurrence. Unfortunately as I turned on the TV to get my morning dose of SportsCenter, my fears became a reality, it wasn’t a bad dream at all, it really happened. We later found out Soriano has a one-centimeter tear in the belly of his quad muscle, more importantly a month without our $136 million dollar man. I immediately think the worst and have a hard time picturing the lineup without the Fonz. What will we do without his offense and his power at the top of the lineup? But as I am ready to call it quits, all of the columnists, local and national, feel that our deep bench and versatile ball club can live without Soriano for a month. Whew, what a relief, everything is going to be fine. Back to business chipping away at the Brewers and putting them in our rear view mirror. Makes sense right, Rosenthal, Buster and the almighty Mr. Gammons thinks we can get through this without too many hiccups. Oh man, they are all big fat liars. The Fonz stayed back in Chicago while the Cubs went on the road for their final road trip during this 20 days in 20 games marathon. But the way the Houston series came and went you would have thought the whole team stayed back in Chicago to keep Soriano company. The team played awful and looked as if they gave up on the year. As if Soriano is the life and soul of this franchise and therefore can’t hit with runners in scoring position without him in the lineup, or just hanging out in the dugout for that matter. As we all know the Cubs got swept and played in my opinion the worst baseball they have played all year. Worse than April and early May, it was hard to watch. I was surrounded by awful baseball, what to do….what to do.
Oh I forgot, I purchased the Comcast Baseball package to specifically watch the Brewers lose and sure enough they were getting rocked in the Rockies, and found themselves to be quite familiar with the broom as well. The Brew Crew was also swept to start their road trip. Going into Houston our Cubs were six games above .500 and one game behind the Crew. After the Houston series we were three games above .500 and one game behind the Crew. Getting swept and not losing any ground? And that is why it was very easy to forget that series, the ‘Stros, 8.5 back, and I don’t view them as a threat down the stretch. The series never happened. What series?
The Fonz was expected to meet the team in Denver for the opener of the Rockies series. Sure enough he was in the dugout full uniform, ready to….watch. But the bats that he held hostage while he was gone finally arrived. The Cubs piled up 16 hits, behind a solid performance by Ted Lilly and beat the Rockies to snap a four game losing streak. I think we all felt much better by a solid performance after such a miserable previous series. The Crew was off and we were within a half game.
The Cubs duplicated their efforts on Friday and again came away with a “W”. With the Crew winning in Houston we were still a half game back. The Cubs got pounded on Saturday, and I thought we were in the clear as the Crew was losing late to the ‘Stros. But Ted Williams, disguised as Ryan Braun, hit a three-run shot in the ninth to steal the victory. And to put the icing on only half of the cake (because he ate the other half), Prince Fielder hit a solo shot. Crew wins and the Cubs are now 1.5 games back. The difference remains 1.5 as the Crew and the Cubs lost yesterday.
Through the last 10 games the Cubs are 3-7 and the Crew is 4-6. And as much as I didn’t want to write about them all year, the Cards have found their way back into this race and are now 5.5 games back and only a mere 4 games behind the Cubs. The Crew has Ted Williams and the Cards now have Babe Ruth, according to ESPN. I mean you are going to compare Rick Ankiel to Babe Ruth, just because they are both converted pitchers? It’s a great story but already a little over hyped. Like Neil said, wait till teams get tape on this kid, I think there will be a different outcome. At least I hope their will be. Their will be, I am sure of it. Really, I am.
As I was ready to do a swan dive off of my roof, I called a good friend to talk me off the ledge. Teams go through slumps all the time. At the beginning of the year we went through a month and a half slump, if not longer. We then went on stretch that is not too familiar with the Faithful. Up until recently we had the best record in the MLB since early June. Pretty impressive, this allowed us to catch the Brewers and put ourselves in quite the pennant chase. This should also show you how long the Brewers have been in a downward spiral. We were destined to come back to earth before it was all said and done. Let’s just be thankful it happened at the beginning of August and not the beginning of September.
This team hopefully will be full force in the next couple of weeks. Barring any other disasters I think we are built to take this division and make a solid run in the playoffs. Our lineup is scary right now and as we have all discussed there is zero pop. But two of the biggest bats in the NL are sitting on the bench spittin’ seeds. Buckle up Faithful, take a deep breath and be thankful that baseball is meaningful on the North Side in August and September….on this date last year we were 20 games below .500 and 14.5 games out. Now that will give you Nightmares.
Until Next Time but Always….GO CACHORROS!!!!!