GameCast: August 9th at Colorado
"Can the Cubs play well enough against the good teams to win in the playoffs?" This is the most recent pointless hypothetical that's been dancing on our keyboards as of late. The ridiculously simple answer is that we won't truly know until we see them play good teams in the playoffs. But much as Friday's doooom game meant nothing because the doom happened against pitchers who won't be in a position to lose in the post season, yesterday's shiny-lining game means just as little. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing either of those games meant were the loss and win they represented in the standings, and the only impact they'll have is on whether or not the Cubs win the division or not.
This morning (or perhaps late last night) one Goat Reader asked if I've ever seen a Cubs-Cards game in St. Louis. I assume he asked me that because he wants to impact upon me the significance of how pressure-filled and energized those games are. True -- absolutely true -- home field advantage exists, and playing in a hostile park can either serve as fuel for players to step it up or fodder for them to make excuses after a loss. But I believe that, in most cases, the impact of those situations are left behind once the team moves on to play their next series. In other words, the Cubs could go to St. Louis, get demoralized by the fans, swept by the Cardinals, and on their next game in Pittsburgh have just as good a chance of winning as they would have had they swept the Cardinals previously.
So, I say to you again, the significance of a single game impacting a season is nil, except in cases where a loss puts a team out of playoff contention. And if you disagree with that, then prove me wrong. I've been wrong before, I'll be wrong again, just find your proof and shut me up.
Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley -- Two former members of the Questionable Quartet and Theriot are leading the way right now with the Cubs. It is perhaps fitting, then, that these guys are usually at the top of the batting order -- and it's about effin' time that Lou moved Bradley there considering how disciplined he's been even as he's struggled with his stroke. Theriot is batting .333 with a .364 OBP, Fukudome is batting .316 with a .458 OBP, and Bradley is at .364 with an OBP of .563 in the past week. Yeesh.
Aramis Ramirez, Jake Fox -- A-Ram is batting .056 in the past week while Fox is at .091. Ouch.
As the stressed-out Cubs fan seeking to keep the cliff-jumpers at a dull murmer when they voice their opinions about the team, I can only hope for another Cubs win today. It seems as if the reactionary crowd is looking to sink their hooks into every loss as evidence of calamity, and so even though I don't agree with it, my stomach would do better if indeed the Cubs proved them briefly wrong with another win.
I suppose that if we were their opposites, any time the Cubs did win -- particularly in a come-back against a potential playoff opponent -- we'd be crowing about how they are clearly World Series bound -- and, believe it or not, we'd probably have just as much "proof" as they do about our claim. Just thought for fodder.