Writing About the Chicago Cubs and Looking at the Team’s Past
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At least the Cubs own Chicago these days. And even at four games below .500, the Cubs have moved back up to the top of the scrap heap and while second place is still far away from the first place Brewers, there’s no riff raff between the Cubs and the Brew Crew. It’s just unfortunate that the Brewers caught fire and the Cubs needed three straight wins over the White Sox just to keep pace.
Pitching was the name of the game for the Cubs this weekend as their hurlers allowed just two runs over three games. My brother is pretty annoyed but that’s always a good thing because the Cubs scored just ten runs in their three games to pull off the sweep. The best outing was yesterday with Sean Marshall and three relievers combining to throw a shutout. Marshall has been a solid call up and he’s now 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA. Good stuff from a guy who struggled last year after he was forced into the musical chairs rotation the Cubs had going.
Alfonso Soriano is also starting to really heat up. His batting average is now comfortably above .300 and he’s hit homeruns in his last three games as well as four of his last five. All solo shots, but what do you expect from a guy who they have leading off. Soriano would easily have 40 RBIs if they’d just push down in the lineup. Good stuff from the leftfielder though.
Carlos Zambrano had possibly his best start of the season on Friday and he remains red hot. He struck out a season high twelve batters and he gave up just three hits and one walk. That’s three straight starts he’s gone at least eight innings and given up just one run and his last bad start is a distant memory way back on June 1.
Next up is three against a hot Rockies team who have take people by surprise. Jason Marquis will go up against a tough left hander in Jeff Francis. I like the pitching matchups in the other two games though so I wouldn’t be too sore if we lost the first one but took the final two. The Brewers play the Astros, who have been struggling so the Cubs will probably have to take two just to keep up.
Just when the Cubs look like they’re going to break out, they go on a mini-skid. And this is a tough one because they lose 1-0 on Sunday and then they get blown apart on Monday by the Padres. That Saturday game was a fun one to watch though with the brawl and everything although you wonder if it was worth the five game vacation that Derek Lee received.
Still, the Cubs are just six games back of the Brewers in the loss column and while a losing streak could push them all the way down into fifth place, a winning streak could push them into immediate contention. It’d be nice if, by the All Star Break, they could push the team’s behind them down a couple of games and maybe pull to within three or four games of the Brewers. Wishful thinking but it’s definitely realistic.
Speaking of the All Star Game, I wonder who the Cubs representative will be. Derek Lee is one choice as a reserve but there’s quite a bit of traffic at first base. For now Alfonso Soriano is entrenched as the third outfielder and there’s a pretty good chance he could be the only Cub heading to San Francisco. At least that’s what I’d put my money on if I were into sports betting.
One encouraging thing about the Cubs is that Carlos Zambrano is coming around. He’s had three great starts in a row and he looks like the Zambrano of old. Now we just have to get through the Aramis Ramirez injury and if he comes back and we’ve made up some ground, it’s all the better.
The Cubs start a three game series against one of the worst teams in baseball, the Rangers, this week so this might be a nice time for the Cubs to get back to their winning ways. Tonight it’ll be the impressive (so far) Sean Marshall going up against Robinson Tejada and his 6.49 ERA.
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