What a glorious day! What a glorious weekend. Crawly Senior and I had the pleasure of wattching the Cubs pound Pittsburgh 13-3 on Sunday, completing their second straight sweep of the Buccos. Not only that, but St. Louis got crushed and Eric Gagne blew a save for Milwaukee, putting the Cubs in first place!!! Hey Hey!! The Cubs offense is just clicking on all cylanders, as the Cubs hit 29 runs in the weekend series with the Pirates. The starting pitching is still not where it needs to be, but I am sure enjoying this April a ton more than I did last season. Listening to sports talk radio, I heard people wondering if this team is real or not, claiming that they are just beating teams with losing records. Look, the Cubs didn’t make their schedule and not only that, they are winning the games they are supposed to, something that hasn’t happened over the last few years. All I am saying is that I am happy that the Cubs are in first place.
There are many things that excite me about this team. I love the 1-2 punch of Reed Johnson and Ryan Theriot. In the bottom of the fourth inning in Sunday’s game, Johnson was hit by a
pitch. Theriot was up next, showed bunt, but the pitcher threw two pitches out of the strike zone. With a 2-0 count, Johnson was running, Threriot hit the ball to the right side of the infield, and Johnson scored from first with Theriot advancing to second when Nady’s throw to home plate was late. The Cubs are also a more patient team and that is allowing them to score more runs. Do you realize the Cubs are second in MLB in runs scored, third in hits, fourth in total bases, have the fifth highest in average, second in on base percentage, and second in on base plug slugging percentage? How about the Cubs being fourth in the amount of walks drawn? Still feel like that clogs the bases Dusty? The Cubs are also seventh in stolen bases. Lou Pinella and hitting coach Gerald Perry have turn this team from a bunch of hackers into a disciplined hitting team.
Do I think all is well in the world of the Cubs? No. Are starters are struggling to get past the fifth. Are bullpen is again giving up too many walks. Questions remain on where to bat Soriano when he comes back from his injury. Will our left handed starters begin pitching
better? Is Kerry Wood going to stay healthy? These are all areas of concern for the Cubs,
but at the end of the day, there is only one stat in baseball that matters most: Wins, and right now, the Cubs keep racking them up. Now, the real test comes for the Cubs. Starting Monday, the Cubs have a two game series with the Mets, then fly to Colorado for another two game series. They travel to Washington for three (that one shouldn’t be difficult), then they play three with Milwaukee at home, travel to St Louis for three, Cincy for three, and then come back to Wrigley to fave the hottest team in baseball in the Diamondbacks and one of the toughest pitching staffs in San Diego, who will play in a four game series. The Cubs then have three more games at Wrigley, than go to Houston and Pittsburgh. When the dust clears on May 22, I believe this will really tell if the Cubs are for real or not. If they can stay close to the top of the division after this schedule, I like our chances.
Us Against The World
So, apparently Cubs fans are the most hated, obnoxious, and racist fans in baseball. All week, Cubs fans have heard how horrible they are from all sides.From old man Marty Brennaman’s crabby rant, to ironically the most hated and obnoxious columnist in Chicago, to jealous Brewer’s bloggers , people have been taking shots at us from all sides. That’s fine that we’re the target of all their jealousy and rage. Real Cubs fans know that there are no better fans in baseball. Are there idiot Cubs fans? Absolutely. Are there obnoxious Cubs fans? Of course. Are there racist Cubs fans? Unfortunately. Just like their are idiotic, obnoxious, racist fans in every ballpark in every city in the United States. Are there no drunk stupid fans in Milwaukee? OOOOhh, of course not. Everybody goes to Brewers games in suit and ties and keeps score. In fact, they don’t even sell beer at Miller Park. And there is absolutely nooooooo racist fans in Cincinnati. Everyone knows that Cincinnati is the most tolerant city in the US. So to all those haters out there, keep hatin’. Cubs fans piss people off because we will go anywhere to cheer our team on, including other teams’ ballparks. Then we really get them mad when our cheers are louder than the cheers from the home team. They hate us because we have fun, we love our ballpark, and we love our team. Do we do
stupid thing? Yeah. Are we going to do stupid things in the future? For certain. But we’re going to keep doing what we’ve always done; root, root, root for the Cubbies! And most importantly, we will follow this team anywhere in the world, and if you don’t like it, learn to deal with it.
We are everywhere!!
If I told you that the heart of the Cubs lineup, Lee, Ramirez, and Fukudome went a combined 0-12, you would think the Cubs probably lost the game. If I told you that Rich Hill’s pitch count was 72 after three innings, you could assume the Cubs got beat. But hey, we were playing the Pirates, so we were able to get the win, sweep the Pirates, and win our fifth game in a row! What a wacky series of bad baseball games.
After burning up all the arms in the first two games of the series, we needed a good long start from Hill, and he was abysmal. He couldn’t find the strike zone to save his life. After the Cubs got one run in the first inning, Hill came to the mound and gave up a double, threw a wild pitch, gave up a single that scored a run, walked the next two batters, gave up a run scoring sac fly, gave up another single, and gave up another run scoring sac fly before finally getting out of the inning. Hill managed to work a 1-2-3 inning in the second, but in the third he gave two more waks, but escaped any further damage, but by that time Lou had had enough.
Your Bus Tickets To Iowa Mr. Hill and Mr. Pie
Lou was fuming in the dugout. After the first, he had some words for Hill, and Hill slammed
his helmet. Lou was barking at Larry Rothchild every second that Hill was pitching. Jon Lieber was up in the first inning. Lou also had it with Felix Pie. With one out and runners at first and second, Pirates pitcher Matt Morris made Pie look silly, striking him out. Then in the third, with a runner on second, Morris again made Pie look foolish, striking him out for the second time. After the third inning, Hill was replaced by Lieber and Pie was replaced by Reed Johnson. After hitting the game winning hit last night, Pie was given the start and looked bad. He just can’t figure out major league pitching.
Lieber to the Rescue
Jon Lieber came out of the bullpen and pitched quickly and efficiently. Lieber pitched 4.1 innings and gave up no runs, five hits, and didn’t walk a single batter. This allowed the Cubs to start their comeback. Fukudome led off the sixth inning with a walk, and Geovany Soto, who had four hits in the game, hit a monster home run to center field, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. Theriot followed the home run with a bunt single, and moved to second on a Lieber sac bunt. Then Theriot tried to steal third, and was easily thrown out, but third baseman Jose Bautista dropped the ball. Reed Johnson hit a single to knock in Theriot, and then Mike Fontenot, batting second tonight, hit a home run, giving the Cubs a 7-3 lead. Bob Howry pitched 2/3 of an inning and Kerry Wood pitched the ninth.
This was one ugly series, but we walked away with three wins. The good news is that unlike
last year, we are actually winning some close games. The Cubs offense is cooking, scoring at least six runs in all three games of the series and scoring 35 runs in their last five games. The Cubs have also tied the amount of extra-inning victories (2) that they had off of last season, when they were 2-8 when playing more than nine innings. The bad news is the pitching looks suspect. Our number two starter, Ted Lilly, has been terrible in his two starts. Our number 3 pitcher, Rich Hill, looks even worse. (Hill was considered the third started, but Lou didn’t want two lefties pitching back to back so he put Dempster in the third spot to split them). The bullpen has given up 20 runs in 9 games. Not good at all. Howry and Kevin Hart have given up 5 runs, Wood has given up 4 and had his first blown save Wednesday night. Lieber and Marmol have given up two runs, and Wuertz has given up one. (Piggy gave up one but was sent to the minors).
The Cubs travel to Phildelphia next, with Big Z taking the start againt Brett Myers. The Phillies just lost the series to the Mets 2 games to 1, losing the rubber match in extra innings on Thursday night. Jimmy Rollins, last seasons MVP, has been out with an ankle injury. Hopefully he will stay out of the lineup a few more days and the Cubs bats can keep rolling.
Let’s make it six in a row!
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