It’s really good to see the improvement in the Cubs pitching as a whole. Including the 7-0 win today against the Dodgers, the Cubs have allowed only six runs in their last five games. In fact, going back 19 games to May 10th, the Cubs have only allowed more than three runs in a game four times. If you hold a team to three or fewer runs, you should win.
What was going on in Lou Piniella’s mind?
This was a game the Cubs needed to win. Having already lost the opening game of a four game series with the first place Marlins due to their imploding bullpen, the Cubs found themselves five games behind the Cardinals. This weekend, the Cardinals are padding their stats against the Nationals. So when the Cubs fell behind 5-1 to the Marlins Friday, the prospect of digging a huge hole in the division for them loomed large.
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009
Velasquez/Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2009
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.
My father and I have finally agreed to a wager! It was a long, drawn out summit meeting today, but we have finally agreed to the terms of our Cubs vs. Cardinals wager. I wagered my father that the Cubs would have a better head to head record against the Cardinals this year. The Cubs and Cardinals play each other 16 times, so 9 wins by either team will win the bet for one of us. If each team wins 8 games, then it is a wash. So far, the Cubs lead 2-1 with the next round of three games coming this weekend. The terms of the wager are as follows. If the Cubs win 9 or more games, then I win and my father will wear a Chicago Cubs replica road jersey in front of Wrigley Field and pose for a photograph to appear on this blog. If the Cardinals win 9 or more games, then I will wear a Cardinals T-shirt or jersey and hat in front of Wrigley Field and pose for a photograph to appear on this blog. There was much negotiating in coming up with these terms. Originally, I wanted to have my father wear a Cubs floppy hat. He completely refused. We finally settled on the Cubs road jersey, because there is no Cubs logo on it. It only says “Chicago” across the chest. I accepted this. My father also requested he wear a Cardinals t-shirt under the jersey, so the jersey would never have to touch his skin. I agreed to this as well. This concession on my part reminded me of a bet I made with my Packer fan friend at the school we teach at. I bet him once the Bears would finish ahead of the Packers and when they did, he had to wear a Brian Urlacher jersey all day at school. Under the jersey, he wore a Packers turtleneck so he wouldn’t get any Bears cooties from the jersey. The funny thing about this was he didn’t realize it was yearbook pictures the day he wore the jersey. He had to have his yearbook picture taken wearing a Brian Urlacher jersey. So, the wager with my father is on! Go Cubbies!
Tonight the Cubs used productive fifth and sixth innings to topple the Reds 7-2 in a showdown for first place. The win pushes the Cubs to a game and a half over the Reds. Of course, the Cardinals won so the Cubs are still tied with them atop the division. All in all it was a good win for the Cubbies. Rich Harden went six strong innings, striking out eight. Micah Hoffpauir continues to produce when given the chance. Hoffpauir hit a homer and delivered a sacrifice fly. Even though Hoffpauir did not make it to the majors until last season when he was twenty-eight, I believe that he will be a valuable member of this team as the season rolls on. He always seems to deliver when given the chance. Aramis Ramirez was the other hitting star with his three RBIs.
This is such a great time for me to be a sports fan! My Blackhawks are up 2-0 in their series against the Flames, my Lakers start their road back to finals tomorrow, Jimmie Johnson is creeping closer to the Nascar points lead, and my Cubbies just took care of the Cardinals for the second straight day with their dramatic 11th inning win today! Aramis Ramirez got the job done today with a two run blast with two out in the bottom of the 11th. The Cubs are developing a penchant for the two out rallies this year. Let’s hope they keep it up.