Game & Series Recap: Cubs 4 (1), Brewers 2 (2) - "break out the blue kool-aid"
There are Cub fans out there who want you to know that if you haven't given up on the team as of today - May 10th, 2009, with 132 games remaining on the season - then you're swilling the blue kool-aid. (heimiedog, I'm not saying that that's your take on it, I'm just borrowing from your venacular)
But back here in reality, where there are 132 games remaining and it's only the 10th of May, a Chicago Cubs team with two key players on the DL and with 4 more key players struggling to heat up their bats are 17-14, 2.5 games out of first place. They've won 7 of their last 10 and exit their most recent road trip with a 3-2 record.
Anybody who wants to quit on a team that's 2.5 games out of first place in the early part of May can leave. Here's the door.
But let's be fair. This team has problems that they need to work on which can thankfully be fixed. I'd say that the offensive woes, for example - which are a bit overrated anyway* - will fix themselves for the most part when the Cub regulars get healthy. It's easy to jump to conclusions but so far most of the key guys who have been tanking have been playing with sore necks, shoulders, and groins.
(*since the start of May, the Cubs have scored 52 runs ... that's an average of 5.2 runs per game which probably won't be much off their pace anyway once this ugly spot is behind them)
The bullpen woes - which were very clearly exploited this series, especially yesterday - will require a little more help. Chad Fox is done for as he has hurt his elbow again. Neal Cotts and Dave Patton need to go. There are thankfully players in the system who might be able to step in and replace them admirably - including a couple of the talented young arms acquired for Mark DeRosa - and the Cubs need to turn to them immediately. Meanwhile Jim Hendry needs to consider pursuing another setup guy at first opportunity.
Offensively, the Cubs had just enough today to get the positive result. Soriano selfishly hit his 10th homerun of the season, Kosuke Fukudome collected 2 hits (including a triple), and Bobby Scales! went 2 for 3 - he's gotten at least one hit in every game he's played in so far.
The result is that the Cubs are now returning to Wrigley having gone - as previously mentioned - 3-2 on a difficult road trip including 3 games against a team that's been on fire. (Raise the white flags, they only went 3-2!)
They now have a day off tomorrow before they begin a 6 game homestand against the Padres and Astros. Neither San Diego nor Houston are world beaters and I'd expect the Cubs to continue to win in the face of controversy and injuries.
But since I've taken the time to note their winning road trip and their .700 winning perecentage in May, then I must be swilling the blue kool-aid. Sorry about that everybody.
Current Record: A white-flag-raising 17-14
Position in the NL Central: A loserish 3rd place, 2.5 games out of first
Best Possible Record: An impossibly unlikely 148-14
Worst Possible Record: A much likelier 17-145
Record needed to win 110: A won't-happen 93-38
On Pace For: A swill-the-kool-aid-if-you-think-it's-gonna-happen 89-73