What a weekend, what a series….for the Cubs that is. After losing two out of three to Sammy Sosa and the Texas Rangers, we desperately needed to take our next series. It didn’t matter who would be our opponent, we needed to win. I think we all felt that way, we were slipping and we needed to make sure we put some wins together, and fast. Could a three game series with the White Sox at US Cellular Field, “The Cell”, be just what the doctor ordered? Not usually, but this weekend had to be different and thankfully it was, this is the weekend that was….the Chicago Cubs vs. the Chicago White Sox. You had two teams facing off this weekend with the same problem. They both needed to win, and win now. The Cubs were digging themselves a pretty deep whole and without a bulldozer in sight, needed to take this series. It didn’t help that the Brewers were once again playing some incredible baseball. After being on the receiving end of a no-no, the Brew Crew went on a 9-win-to-1-loss stretch. A no-hitter will usually mess with a team’s psyche, especially a young team, but not the Brewers. They just went about their business and that is winning ballgames. Good teams have a tendency to bounce back and that is exactly what the Brewers did. After the Cubs performed the Texas Two Step in reverse, we needed to do just that, bounce back but the White Sox on the other hand needed to win for the fear of being dismantled. The Cubs did not want to be the team that jump-started the struggling Sox. For once they wanted to be the team that ended their season and possibly sent some of their big names packing. This series was not about watching the Sox fall apart and adding to the speculation that the core of ’05 would be traded away for prospects. This was about the Cubs putting together a string of W’s and getting back in the race. The Cubs did just that with three incredibly pitched games that ultimately ended in The Northsiders getting their sweep on against the pitiful White Sox.
Side Note: There is a programming genius in Chicago; the games were played on WGN and Comcast Sports Net. If I had to listen to one more “c’mon Hito“, “Mercy“, “Can o’ Corn” or “He Gone” I would have wished I was a Hawk because I would thrown myself off my roof. Thankfully we didn’t hear much of “YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD“….say it with me DJ….”YES!!”
The Sox managed a measly two runs against Cubs pitching this weekend. I know the White Sox are in the cellar when it comes to team batting average, but holding a team to two runs is pretty impressive. With runners in scoring position the White Sox were 0-14, sound familiar? Carlos Zambrano pitched 8 dominating innings and tied his career high with 12 punch outs. In game two Rich Hill got off to a slow start but rebounded nicely and pitched 5 solid innings striking out six in the process. If there ever has been a game we needed our bullpen to step up, this was the game. They responded with 4 shutout innings of no-hit ball. This is the same bullpen that blew game after game early in the season. As of late they are performing like the bullpen we thought they were going to be. And finally Sean Marshall, the kid is good and should not be packaged in any deal for anyone. Well not anyone, but you know what I mean. Marshall held the Sox scoreless over 6 1/3 innings. I was questioning his early departure after only throwing 80 pitches. But the bullpen stepped up once again shut down the Sox sluggish bats.
Oh and there was also a guy patrolling left field this weekend that went on a terror, with his bat and his arm. Alfonso Soriano went 12-25, hitting .480 during the three game series. I know I was hoping that he would have led off Sunday’s game with a long ball, this time to center. Why not, give the whole park a little taste of the Fonz….Heeeyyy!!! Soriano was also throwing people out like it was his job, oh that’s right, it is his job and he is doing it and doing it and doing it well. The toss was not only on the money to get Luis Terrero at the plate, but Koyie Hill showed his defense with a great grab. BTW….Barrett doesn’t make that play. And of course I can’t end without giving Aramis a shout out, having not played for 15 days, first at bat….Whhhhhaaaammmi. Unreal, we need his bat in the lineup, without him we could be in some trouble. He was really struggling getting around the bases on Sunday, lets hope it is something he can keep under control.
We can enjoy this sweep until 7:05 this evening, because winning three in a row is not going to cut it. We need take this series against the hot, but just got swept, Rockies and then shock the Brewers and pull within 3 1/2 of the division lead going into the final road trip before the All-Star Break. Sounds good on paper, right? It was a great weekend, thank you White Sox for being a mysteriously horrible team. On paper you also look good. I hope this article looks good on paper. Have a great week, YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE….put this on the board….CUBS SWEEP….say it with me Neil….YES!!!
Until Next Time but Always….GO CUBBIES
R.I.P ROD BECK, thanks for the memories.