“This is a long season. Let’s not get all crazy about this thing. Let’s just stay cautionary and let’s just keep playing good baseball, that’s all.”
But how could we not get crazy. We swept the PIrates, We pounded the Mets, we got win number 10,000 in Colorado, we were winning 1-run games, we were blowing teams out, we were drawing walks, hitting in the clutch, stealing, hit and runs, we were on fire. Even Ronnie Cedeno told reporters that the Cubs were thinking about the World Series!!! How could we not go crazy??!!
But no, Lou was right. After dropping two out of three against the lowly Nationals, we are r
eminded that the Cubs are still the Cubs, and we still have a long way to go. The Cubs really needed Sunday’s win, but fell short and ended up with a 2-3 record on this last road trip. Ted Lilly had another decent start, striking out seven, and giving up only two runs on four hits and two walks over six innings. He had one bad inning, the second, where he gave up back to back RBI singles to Willy Mo Pena and Will Nieves with two outs, scoring two runs for Washington. Lilly and the bullpen only gave up one hit after the second inning, but that still wasn’t good enough to win.
Washington’s starter, John Lannan, pitched seven innings, giving up four hits, four walks, three strikeouts, and zero runs. The Cubs had Lannan on the ropes a few times, but they could not get the clutch hit again. Lannan had a no hitter going untl the fifth inning until Ronnie Cedeno and Henry Blanco hit back to back singles. Cedeno stole third and Blanco advance from second when Lilly missed a bunt, but Lilly struck out, leaving runners at second and third with one out for the top of the lineup. Reed Johnson made a great play to beat out an infield single, loading the bases up for Ryan Theriot with one out, but Theriot hit into a 6-4-3 double playing, ending the threat. The Cubs had another chance to put some runs on the board in the top of the sixth, but came away empty handed. Lee led off with a walk, but Ramirez hit into a double play ball, but Aramis hustled and the Nats only got one. I have seen Aramis hustling more this first month of the season than I have since he got here in 2003. You know the Nats didn’t rush the play because they thought Ramirez wouldn’t hustle, but he beat it out. Fukudome hit a ball that Willy Mo Pena misjudged, putting runners at second and third with only one out. Then, DeRosa grounded out to the pitcher and Cedeno grounded out to second, ending the threat. The Cubs never came close again.
If the Cubs win 2 ou
t of 3, we would have been feeling could. If the Cubs would have swept the Nats, like we could have, we would have been going nuts, but now we come home with our tails between our legs. A mighty mighty Milwaukee team is coming to town Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, followed by a three game set with the surprising Cardinals, who are now 1/2 a game back of the Cubs for first place. The Brewers have much more thump then the Nationals, and their pitching is just as good. The Brewers were able to take the opening series with the Cubs, 2-1. Can the Cubs bounce back? Can they make believers of us again? We’ll find out when Jason Marquis takes the mound against Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets, who missed his last start because of tricep tightness. Zambrano faces Jeff Suppan in the second game, and Yyovani Gallardo, who missed the opening series, will face Ryan Dempster. This is not going to be easy folks, so hold on to your hats.