Game & Series Recap: Padres 7 (3), Cubs 2 (0); oh noooos
If the Cubs are the team we follow then we are Ron Santo forever living that horrible moment in 1998 when Brant Brown dropped the lazy fly ball. We moan, we lament our torturous lives, and there is such despair in our fandom that any clinical observer would look upon us and see living proof of a contradiction. Maybe that's why we so fiercely defend him against his detractors. For good or bad he's us.
Tonight -- and lately -- Ron Santo has not been alone. This isn't the way it was supposed to be. 42 games into the season -- just over a full quarter of the campaign -- and the Cubs are a .500 ball team riding a 7 game losing streak in which they averaged 1.43 runs per game during that time.
Everybody but one man has gone cold, and that one man is playing with something you can't really get by on scott free -- a damaged neck. But I suppose that I remain shockingly calm and amazingly unworried because looking at the Cubs lineup I see a team that is way, way, way better than 1.43 runs per game.
So if your plan is to go cliff-jumping based on the past week of play, based on basically an anomoly of team-wide offensive slumber, then you must also be the kind of person to assume that significant others are dumping you just because they didn't call you when they usually do. (Or worse, perhaps they're dead. That's the kind of worry train that you're rolling on.)
That isn't to say that there aren't reasons to be concerned. There are reasons. We'll talk about that on Monday or Tuesday. But before I actually, y'know, recap the loss, I'll leave you with this one thought.
We spent 2007 with butterflies and damaged nerves because they played down to the wire and snuck in at the end of the season. The entire time, we -- or at least I -- complained loudly about how the Cubs never make it easy.
Then we watched in awe in 2008 when they locked it up basically in August as they surged toward the best team record since 1945. Finally, we had our easy season. Still, they were swept in October.
There is no mathematical formula to winning in the playoffs and there is no such thing as a superlative season. I don't know if teams need rough patches in order to know how to win under pressure later on, but that idea is ludicrous and implies that 25 grown men who've all been there before 2009 somehow forgot between past seasons and this one. But I do know that rough patches are a part of the game and it seems like the best team rarely wins the World Series. So let the Cubs be underdogs, scrambling, fighting, and climbing their way up. Let them scrap for it.
Subtract the "s" from "scrap" and that's what we had on Sunday. Ted Lilly got hammered, Aaron Heilman helped, the Cubs offense walked not once and nobody had more than 1 hit.
Maybe it's time for a classic Lou Piniella Wake Up! moment. I suspect it's coming.
The New Recap Logo
I'm just tinkering, in case you were wondering. I frankly like the previous logo better but I've got big plans and if they turn out to be possible then the Cubs scoreboard as we've been 'chopping it would look confusing on the site. You'll see what I mean soon enough.
Current Record: 21-21
Position in the NL Central: 4th place, 4 games out
Best Possible Record: 141-21
Worst Possible Record: 21-141
Record needed to win 110: 89-31
On Pace For: 81-81