I do not want to see the 2009 Cubs succeed. To do so would be to go against every baseball sensibility I have. It would be to go against any sense of justice and fairness in this world. To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would be a slap in the face of the baseball gods (sorry, Dusty Baker). To see the 2009 Cubs succeed would validate stupidity. When a G.M. takes a 97 win team and needlessly overhauls them in the offseason with head-scratching, nonsensical moves, it should not be able to win. I want to see the Cubs win a World Series, but my God, not this team. Cub fans deserve better than this ill-conceived team Jim Hendry has put together and Lou Piniella has watched over. I’ve heard people say the Cubs will actually make the playoffs because they play most of their remaining games against sub .500 teams such as the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals. Sure. I’m so glad that we have the MLB Extra Innings package on DirecTV so I can actually watch real baseball this September.
While the Cubs enjoy a day off, I decided to take a look at the state of the NL Central.
Randy Wells has had a pretty remarkable start to his career as a starter. In two starts this year, he has pitched 11 shutout innings. He actually has pitched 16 and a third shutout innings if you go back to his relief appearances last year.
e a series shortened sweep of the Astros. I’m thinking that Alfonso Soriano may be secretly hoping that Kevin Gregg gets to pitch the ninth inning again.
The Cubs traded Joey Gathright to the Orioles for Ryan Freel, a player that was scratched from playing today because he has hamstring tightness. Perfect.
Right after school yesterday, my friend Packer Pete and I headed straight up I-94 to Milwaukee to catch the Cubs vs. the Brewers. This is certainly a blossoming rivalry now that both teams are among the better teams in baseball. Since the Brewers moved to the NL in the 1990’s, these games were just another set of games on the schedule. After the Cubs near World Series appearance in 2003, tickets to Wrigley Field became harder and harder to get. So many Cub fans who could not get tickets to Wrigley, started buying up the tickets to Miller Park. This started the rivalry. The Brewers were not good at this time, but their fans began to resent the F.I.B.S. that started overrunning their stadium whenever the Cubs came to town. What’s a F.I.B.? Well, the “I” stands for Illinois. The “F” and the “B” stand for two words I can’t print here because kids may be reading this. Use your imagination. Thus, the Cubs/Brewers rivalry was based more on Wisconsinites’s disdain for people from Illinois taking over their city and stadium than it was on baseball. That has changed in the past three years. The Cubs and Brewers are now rivals in the standings and these games have taken on a real spirited atmosphere. I always saw the Cubs/Cardinals as a friendly rivalry. The Cardinal fans knew their team was superior to the Cubs and the Cub fans were just happy to be out at the game and maybe see their Cubbies embarrass the Cardinals a bit. After the game, everyone would go out together. Yeah, I don’t see that happening with the Cubs and Brewers. This rivalry is a lot more jaded.
I do have “Hells Bells” by AC/DC stuck in my head as the Brewers continue the Trevor Hoffman tradition of blasting this entire song when he comes into the game.
April has come to an end. Twenty-one games are in the books. Being a teacher, I’m used to grading my students’ performance. I’m going to take this opportunity to grade the Cubs players’ April performance.
Where to begin? The Cubs’ weaknesses came to the forefront tonight in an extra inning loss to the Marlins. Weak, inconsistent offense and a bullpen that may be the worst in the National League right now allow the Marlins to win 8-2 in 10 innings tonight at Wrigley. The Cubs led this game 2-0 until the seventh thanks to back to back homers by Milton Bradley and Mike Fontenot in the fifth. The Marlins, as they’ve done all year, chipped away with a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth to tie the score. Carlos Marmol looked terrible again in allowing the tying run in the eighth. It remained 2-2 until the top of the tenth when Aaron Heilman came in to pitch. Heilman came into the game with a 0.82 ERA. He had been the bright spot in the Cubs bullpen. No one else in the Cubs bullpen had an ERA under 4.35, so Heilman was definitely a bright spot. Well, maybe he wanted to fit in with the rest of his bullpen mates and bring that ERA up. Six runs later, five of them earned, Heilman left with an ERA of 4.91 and a 8-2 Cubs loss. The Cubs do not have a bullpen right now. Every game it seems like someone different implodes. Yesterday, it was Marmol. Today, it was Heilman. Who will it be tomorrow? Larry Rothschild has his work cut out for him.