A special thanks first to former Cub great Greg Maddux, for winning the game that clinched the division for my beloved Chicago Cubs. How fitting, but even more sweet because I predicted it may happen, and because the Padres (and Rockies) wound up winning just enough games, but not too many games, to ensure I get to see my first Cubs playoff game ever! Yes….the Cubs will be making their way to my neck of the woods (er….mountains?), and I couldn’t be more excited about it!
How will this Wednesday, at Chase Field in sunny Arizona, turn out for the playoff-bound Chicago Cubs? Here is how I see things going down…. As I peer down from my luxurious suite, full of hotdogs, wings, and assorted beverages, I will heartily cheer as the Cubs players rejoice after Ryan Dempster saves Game 1 of the NL Division series between the Cubs and D’Backs. Dempster will have given up 1 run, but the Cubs will still have managed to win 4-2, thanks in large part to Alfonso Soriano’s 3 RBI’s. After Zambrano managed the first Cubs basehit in the 3rd inning, Soriano deposited the ball in the left-centerfield bleachers. A double by Soriano in the 5th would drive home Jason Kendall, and Jacque Jones added a solo shot insurance run in the 8th off of Brandon Lyon. D’Backs ace, Brandon Webb, would only give up 5 hits and 1 walk, but the Cubs would make the most of it, as Carlos Zambrano fist-pumps his way through 6 shutout innings. Big Z has to work his way through a high-pitch-count 7th, in which he gives up 1 run on a double by Mark Reynolds. Carlos Marmol actually strikes out 4 batters, in the 8th inning, after a strike-three pitch gets away from Kendall, allowing the runner to reach first safely. In the 9th, Dempster gives up 1-run on a double to right-center by Mark Reynolds which scores a hustling Eric Byrnes all the way from 1st base. Demp gets catcher Chris Synder to pop up, then walks pinch-hitter Tony Clark, putting runners at 1st and 2nd with only 1 out. But the baseball gods smiled upon as when “can’t miss prospect” Stephen Drew grounds sharply to Ramirez, who steps on the bag and throws to Derrek Lee for a game-ending double-play….Cubs Win, Cubs Win!!
What’s that? You aren’t as confident the game will go quite like that? Well….you know….wait!
Do You Know Better?
Normally, this is the point when I explain, as politely as I can, that I am correct and that if for some odd reason you disagree, then you really should know better. Today is a different day, as this season has deposited us in unfamiliar territory in the history of the CCO: the playoffs!
For the first time since Neil found a way to manipulate space-time and lengthen his day from 24 to 30 hours (how else do you think he manages to get all this done?!) the CCO finally has playoffs to analyze, critique, and predict….and not just to dream about.
So I am turning it over to you, CCO Readers….let’s hear your predictions. Let’s hear how you picture the Zambrano-Webb Duel in the Desert unfolding. What were the biggest factors as well: replacing Dusty with Lou, the emergence of Carlos Marmol, the 2nd-half power surge of Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano, the acquisition of Ted Lilly, or the return to form of Bobby Howry and Scott “Stevie” Eyre, etc….?
We have some time to kill today, so dust off those crystal balls, re-read those Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce excerpts and see what you believe to be in the future for the Cubs this week. I look forward to reading your thoughts, and, until next time, let’s hope our Big Three (and their nagging injuries) benefit from this additional rest, that Big Z doesn’t psyche himself out with too much time to think, and let’s go Cubs!