Series Preview: Cubs vs. Braves
Note: this was actually published yesterday on time, but for some reason it didn't appear in the appropriate spot on the page...
I'm not sure what's worse -- the fact that the Cubs are now on pace to lose 96 games, or the reality that there are several crappier teams out there. I mean, as bad as 72 losses are, the Mariners have 73, Diamond-Backs have 75, the Orioles have 79, and the Pirates are rocking 81 L's. What's the point of sucking if your team can't even squander a #1, 2, or 3 draft pick the following June?
Of course, we now have Doom and Gloomers saying ridiculous things like, "this is worse than '06, because we don't have an '07 to look forward to," as if any of them were predicting '07 after '06, or know something we don't.
The reality is, we have no idea about what's going to happen in 2011. And Rob, before you chime in to join the D&G cult proclaiming '11 to be a lost cause, man up and admit you never saw 1989, 1998, 2001, 2003, or 2007 coming. Those were all years that the Cubs competed, hot on the heels of mediocre seasons. In this free agency-saturated market, even for a overspent team like the Cubs, anything's possible.
Well, not "anything." Beating the Braves -- probably not so possible. Maybe not impossible either, but definitely "not bloody likely." Let's take a gander.
Friday, August 20th - Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.62 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 3.92 ERA)
Dempster, whose nickname should be "Trade Bait" (altho' I kept typoing it as "Traid Bate") is the best pitcher on the Cubs. On a good team, he might be a 20 game winner. In six fewer starts, he's already won as many games as last year, walked as many batters, and given up as many homeruns. I guess that's a weird mix. Regardless, he's made it work for himself.
Jurrjens, meanwhile, has a ridiculous name and is injury-prone enough to be a Cub. Maybe Atlanta and Chicago will orchestrate a swap.
Saturday, August 21st - Tom Gorzelanny (6-7, 3.85 ERA) vs. Tommy Hanson (8-8, 3.47 ERA)
Where have you gone, Ted Lilly, Cub nation turns its lonely eyes to you...
Not that Gorzo is so bad a pitcher. But he's exactly the kind of Kevin Foster-like guy you'd expect on a team bound to lose 90+ games. He's probably got six starts to go -- so he just might win 10, but on this team, he's just as likely to lose 10 games.
I've got nothing to say about Tommy Hanson, though, except that he is 23, won 11 games as a rookie last year, and he may be gassed out as he's already thrown more innings this season than perhaps ever in his career. (I just made that up, but it's probably close to the truth.)
Sunday, August 22nd - Randy Wells (5-11, 4.44 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (1-0, 3.75 ERA)
Well well well. Looks like Minor made the Majors. Haw! I bet I'm the first person to think of THAT clever joke! /sarcasm
Wells did a decent job in his last outing. The only problem -- he pitches for the Cubs, where offense is about as rare as authentic super models.
Shoutulation (y'know, like speculation?) is that the Cubs could lose 100 games. I doubt that. Losing 100 is a pretty tough thing to do -- maybe even harder than winning 100. Don't believe me? Think of all the crappy, awful, horrible, heart-breaking Cub teams you've experienced in your life time.
None of them lost 100 games. And many of them were worse than this band of jabrones.