Goatriders of the Apocalypse

(Shortened) Series (Belated) Rrecap: Cubs 1, Braves 1

Two games, twenty-three innings of baseball, two blown leads, one eventual victory.  This affair in Atlanta had a bit of everything, didn't it?  Mostly though the split series has left Cub fans feeling nauseous -- after all, the Cubs had the first game in hand before turning to their two "most reliable" relievers only to watch them squander and then blow the lead.

The team is at a cross-roads, whether they admit it or not.  Some people may blame the immature acts of some of the players -- Carlos, Milton, Lilly, Dempster.  Others might attribute this year's woes to the mass-slumps -- Lee, Soto, Fontenot, Bradley.  Still more might call to blame the series of injuries that have plagued the team -- Zambrano, Harden, Bradley.

Our Rob wants to blame Geo Soto, the QB of the defense.  I don't buy it for a bunch of reasons.  He hasn't been the offensive stud that he once was, but he's hardly an automatic out.  He isn't being the gun behind the plate that the Cubs probably need, but he never really was and I still believe he's nursing a shoulder injury.  I don't believe he's responsible and I'm not even particularly worried about his performance.  But I will say this: Rob has garnered himself a bit of a reputation for being the kind of Cubs fan (and blogger) that another kind of Cubs fan (and blogger) detest.  Apparently I'm forbidden from defending Rob to these people because I am always criticized by them when I do so, but that won't stop me from defending Rob now. 

I've spoken with some very intelligent, unbiased individuals who read this blog (read: they aren't Cub fans per se so they lack the pretty rose-colored glasses that the rest of us wear and they do not swill from the blue koolaid) and the general take I've gotten about Rob is that 1) he's a good writer and 2) his points aren't usually far off.  I happen to agree with those people; it just so happens that Rob's stance on the team is 100% of the time stiffer than mine, regardless of whether things are going good or badly.  Maybe this blog would be better if it was run by like-minded individuals and read by others who share many of the same opinions, but I disagree with that emphatically.  I happen to think that forums in general and GROTA in particular are never better than when people are heatedly disagreeing because it organically drives content and gives people something to read ... even if it's the rubber-neck effect and they just want to see how bad the wreck is. 

That said, let's go back and look at this paragraph:

The team is at a cross-roads, whether they admit it or not.  Some people may blame the immature acts of some of the players -- Carlos, Milton, Lilly, Dempster.  Others might attribute this year's woes to the mass-slumps -- Lee, Soto, Fontenot, Bradley.  Still more might call to blame the series of injuries that have plagued the team -- Zambrano, Harden, Bradley.

It seems to me that Milton Bradley is the only one who fits into all those categories of concern, but I don't really think he's to blame.  As Rob himself would point out, it's Lou Piniella.

Much, much earlier this season I prepped this blog for a Jump The Piniella moment. I think that moment is getting decisively closer.  

I'm not expecting Lou to come storming out of the dugout, spittle a-flyin', in order to rally the troops onward toward victory.  No, what Lou needs to do is something a lot simpler:

Fix the frickin' lineup and the goddamn bullpen.  He won't even need to get out of his chair to do it!

I believe - nay, I insist - that the Cubs already have the components they need to win.  They just have to tinker a bit.  But until that moment occurs we will be victims of offensive blackouts and late-inning blow-outs.  This series with the Braves gave us a little bit of both -- the team's reputed set-up man and especially its closer dropped dookie in their drawers.  Then the next night they slipped away with victory despite their inability to score lots of runs.

It's not too late.  Lou is not too old.  So what the hell is the hold up?

Current Record: 26-25
Position in the NL Central: 4th place, 3.5 games out
Best Possible Record: 137-25
Worst Possible Record: 26-136
Record needed to win 110: 84-27
On Pace For: 83-79

my name is Rob

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