We were without baseball for the majority of the week, which was pretty painful to say the least. When the baseball season is over we at least have football to talk about, but this past week was pretty boring. Unless you find the homerun derby to be exciting, I personally am upset I will never get those three hours of my life back. But I will have to say I was pretty impressed with the All-Star game this year. Our two representatives did everything they could to bring home a “W” for the NL, but Tony LaRussa had other plans. He must have owed his good friend Jim Leyland a favor. That’s the only explanation he could have for not pulling Aaron Rowand and giving the bat to the only Cardinal on the NL roster Albert Pujols. I mean c’mon, who do you want in that situation? Fly ball to center and there is a chance for a face changing moment, I will take Rowand. Bases juiced and the chance to win a game in the bottom of the ninth, I might take Pujols over anybody in the game. But hey what do I know. With that being said Friday could not get here any quicker, I was going through withdraw, I needed some Cubs Baseball. This is the weekend that was, Cubs vs. Astros…. Friday was here and the Cubs were looking to pick up where they left off in early July. With the exception of losing two out of there against the Bucs, this team figured out how to win in bunches. With Z on the mound Friday, we had a real nice shot to take game one and start the second half off right, with a “W”. The Big Z did just that, pitching 6.2 innings and striking out 7, you really can’t ask for much more. Zambrano gave up three hits on the day, and walked three. The duo of Marmol and Howry took care of the rest. Howry tried to make it interesting giving up two hits in the ninth, but got himself out of a jam and completed the shutout. The Cubs banged out 12 hits and scored six runs, but did leave 14 stranded on base. Granted we are much better getting the base runners home, but 14 is quite a few and there were some wasted opportunities. The Cubs scored three in the fourth, and tacked on a few more later in the game. One would of been sufficient in this contest, but 6 makes the Faithful a little more confident going into the ninth….cough cough Colorado.
Saturday was a beautiful day at the Friendly Confines, and even better in the bleachers. There is a feeling of confidence within Wrigley these days. Every fan walks into the stadium and expects to walk out singing, “Go Cubs Go! Hey Chicago what ya say Cubs are gonna win today!” And that is exactly what we did on Saturday. The wind was howling out of Wrigley at a reported 18mph. With the power bats in both lineups I thought we were in store for a long high scoring afternoon. Not the case as Ted Lilly, in my opinion, threw the best game of his Cub career. He kept the ball down and stayed out of trouble all afternoon. A routine pop up on Saturday would have been a homer, it was that windy. During BP Hunter Pence was doing his best Glenallen Hill impression and hit some monster bombs. Lilly pitched a great game; he struck out seven and walked only one batter all afternoon. He also got into the action with the bat. Lilly hit a soft liner to right which set up the end of the drought. The Fonz hit a shot to left that would have left the yard even with a stiff wind at his face. That put the game out of reach. Start the music; we left the bleachers singing once again.
I was hoping Sunday wouldn’t be any different. My Dad and I headed to the game around 12:15 and once again I felt that confidence in the air. I saw a guy that had old ratty broom positioned appropriately over his shoulder, he was really confident. I always wonder about those people that bring a broom to the game, what happens when their team takes a loss in the final game? Do they ditch the broom in the bathroom? Or do they take the broom back home with them? I don’t know. I usually don’t carry a broom to the ball yard. That guy didn’t have that dilemma on this afternoon as the Cubs brought out the lumber and scored seven runs, six of them in the 2nd inning. It is a good feeling that the Cubs can win with or without the long ball, on Sunday they decided to win with the long ball. Marquis was awful on Sunday, he was getting hit hard all afternoon. I knew in the top of the 1st it was going to be a long day for him. He was wild and when the ‘Stros made contact it was solid. With the Cubs down by five in the second I said to my Dad, “I can’t believe they are down 5 to nil in the second.” He said, “Don’t worry, it is early.” The moment the words left his mouth DeRosa hit a liner to left that started the onslaught. Wrigley was on its feet the whole inning and the place was rockin’, rockin’ with confidence. The bullpen did its job on Sunday, granted it was a little rough at times but they got themselves out of their own trouble. Marmol is the real deal. His emotion is incredible and everyone in that stadium hangs on every pitch. Oh, and I think Lou Pinella has a strong dislike for Scott Eyre. The way he rips that ball out of his hand after walks yet another batter. I don’t know what his problem is, but something needs to be fixed. He is a wasted spot in the pen. Start the music, Howry pitched a perfect ninth and the Cubs completed the sweep. The crowd stayed in their seats a little longer today. The atmosphere at Wrigley is different these days….almost scary.
While I am on the subject of scary, this weekend at Wrigley I had a conversation with a woman that was a Wrigley Field virgin. She was an older lady, maybe in her late 50’s early 60’s. She was a sweetheart and was having the time of her life. She was from Virginia and was in Chicago for a short vacation. Here comes the scary part, as we were saying our good byes she grabbed my hand and told me I was going to have a wonderful summer. I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Shaun I can tell how much you love the Cubs, and because of that you are going to have a wonderful summer.” I again asked her, “Why are the Cubs going to bring me so much joy this summer?” She said, “Because they are going to win, they are going to win it all.” I then asked her how she would be privy to such awesome information. She then told me she was a witch. For real, no joke she said she was a practicing witch!!!! I wish I could tell you that she borrowed that guys broom stick and flew out of the place, but she didn’t. She walked. Take it for what it’s worth….this has been and episode of TWILIGHT ZONE.
Until Next Time….But Always GO CUBBIES!!!!!