Baseball

Cubs Quips 4/23

Cubs Record:  7-11
NL Central Standing:  Dead Last

So I think I may try to do this as a weekly thing.  It’s really easy for me to blog about football during the season because games are once a week so it’s logical to do a football column once a week.  However, I have loads of thoughts about the Cubs too, and it’s hard to really figure out an obvious time to talk about it.  Not that anyone will necessarily read this, but I enjoy doing it, so the hell with you.

By the way, if you do enjoy my sports posts, then forget that last comment I just made, I really do love you.

So I think the most telling statistic so far for the Cubs season is that we’re 0-7 in games decided by 2 runs or less and 7-4 in the rest.  So we’re losing the close games.  To be honest, we haven’t really played all that bad overall, but we’ve played bad at exactly the wrong moments.  Whenever the bullpen sucks, our offense is great, and when our offense sucks, our bullpen is fabulous.  We need to combine those two.

So even though I’m often left at the end of each game with this thought – "well we were still in it right until the end, we just couldn’t quite pull it off" – that needs to change soon.  Teams that lose the close games are teams that lose a lot.  The Cubs need to get a sense of winning, a sense of closing the deal, and a confidence in finishing games and they need to get it soon.  The ability to close games (not just the closer but the whole team) is not something you can just turn on in the last part of the season, or at least I’m almost positive it’s not something the Cubs can turn on.

So that’s the discouraging thing.  Now the encouraging thing.  Our pitching has been far better than I thought it would be.  Rich Hill has been lights out, Ted Lilly has been surprisingly great (though he’s gotten no run support so far), and Marquis has been fine.  Zambrano has been the worst of those four, and we know that won’t stay that way.  So other than Wade Miller (who stinks, but I don’t really know what I was expecting), our pitching staff has been quite solid.  The bullpen has been pretty good, and we have a few young arms ready to come up at any point.  If our pitching can stay this solid, I have no doubt that the offense will catch up and start playing closer to where it’s capable.  However, will our pitching be good when it counts (ie not blowing games like every other day.  ie this past week).

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw that Soriano was only out for a week, but at the same time, I was really excited to see Pie.  Though his hitting wasn’t spectacular (but it wasn’t bad either), his fielding most certainly was.  I can’t even remember the last time I saw a Cubs outfielder throw someone out at home off a grounder.  However, we have a plethora of outfielders at the moment, and it’s hard to really pick who else you would send down to keep him in the majors.  So I think it really has to be just a matter of time before Jacque Jones is dealt.  We could probably get a minor league prospect pitcher or two with his value at this point.  With Pie’s fielding ability and his pure speed, it’s hard to imagine this team winning a championship without him in Center.  Had Soriano go down, we probably would not have realized that.  So, silver lining.


Is Pie the last piece of the puzzle?  Thanks to Soriano’s hamstring for at least bringing up the question

We’re only 7-11 and it’s still quite early, but we need to stop losing close games, and we need to do it now.  How about against Milwaukee?

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