Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Series Review - Cubs vs. Marlins

What the heck has happened?

The gutless, useless, overrated, overpaid, uninteresting Chicago Cubs have ... gotten good?  What The Fizz?

These guys are 8-1 on their road trip.  They are beating good teams badly, including a sweep of their recent opponents, the Florida Marlins.  Let's take a look at what happened.

Friday, September 17th - Cubs 2, Marlins 0 (Ryan Dempster; 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K, for his 14th win of the season)
All the Cubs did was shut down the Marlins offense and provide just enough of their own to be effective.  Dempster looked great, and now appears almost a lock to be a 15-game-winner.  The bullpen looked alive, throwing 2 innings of 1 hit, 3 walk baseball. 

The offense looked tepid, but so what?  Soriano and Soto both had run-scoring doubles, and that was all she needed. 

Saturday, September 18th - Cubs 5, Marlins 3 (Casey Coleman; 6 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 3 ER, for his 2nd win of the season)
Coleman is really making a pitch to be in the rotation next year.  His stuff doesn't appear overpowering by any means, but he's effective and has pitched well for a month now.  And he was again supported by a strangely-reliable bullpen: the Cubs pen pitched 3 innings, allowed 2 hits, walked 1, and struck out 5 (Cashner struck out 3 all by himself!)

The Cubs offense had 7 hits from 6 different players, 8 walks, and demonstrated what a "team effort can do."  Blake DeWitt is looking good as a Cub.  Dare we say he may actually be a good choice for second base next year?

Sunday, September 19th - Cubs 13, Marlins 3 (Jeff Samardzija; 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 3 ER for his 2nd win of the season)
I'd still be reluctant to trust the Shark with winning so much as a game of checkers, but his last two outings haven't been "awful."  This is clearly a make-or-break year for the guy -- he's about 8 months away from entering into the realm of "non-prospect" status.  If Samardzija has any hopes of an even somewhat memorable major league career, then the lightbulb needs to go on now.

Oh, and the Cubs bullpen?  3 more innings of work, 0 hits, 3 BB, 5 K's.  In other words, all told, the Cubs pen pitched 8 innings, gave up 3 hits, 7 BB, and struck out 13 this series, while allowing 0 runs to score.  We'll take it!

Offensively, yesterday's game was pretty great.  13 runs.  A homerun from the Cubs new starting catcher Wellington Castillo, who'll be filling in for the soon-to-be surgically repaired Geo Soto.  A 2 RBI game from Brad Snyder, who'll be filling in for Tyler Colvin, who was apparently mistaken for a vampire and got staked during yesterday's game.  Staked!!

So, just like that, the Cubs have given us a September to remember.  They've crushed the dreams of Cardinal fans everywhere, and they'd have to lose pretty much every game for the rest of the month to not go .500 or better in September.

And the best part -- they've done it on the backs of young players who have a lot to prove.  That's great news for Cub fans.  If the team has any hope of competing next year, it'll have to be because those young guys have actually met some of their potential.  Players like Colvin, Coleman, and Castro will have to deliver, even as veterans like Dempster, Soriano, and Ramirez fade into mediocrity. 

Now, Rob has posted his thoughts.  Mike Quade for manager, 2011 and beyond.  I say, nah.  He's getting wins in garbage time, and that's cool, but as long as Hendry GMs, my vote still goes to Sandberg. 

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Dempster is a good starter

No offense Kurt, but you are way off base on this one. Dempster was the Cubs's best pitcher this season. He's produced 3.3 WAR, which roughly equates to the $13.5 million he's being paid this season. For 'traditionalists', he's pitched over 200 innings with a 3.50 ERA. I'm extremely excited over the development of the Cubs young ballplayers, and I hope they all take steps forward next season, but this team is measurably worse minus Dempster, and they don't have a suitable replacement for him in the system. We're lucky to have him.

The line to which you are

The line to which you are referring is a comment on next season, not this season.

Ryan's been great. So far, he's been worth his contract. I wrote at the time -- and still believe -- that, before his 4th year is played, he's going to turn into an albatross.

(To be more specific, I've believed, ever since his 17-win season, that he earned his extension, but it should be for 3 years with an option for a 4th, because I've felt all along that he'd give the Cubs two GOOD years, one mediocre one, and he'd be awful after that. Next year is my forecasted "medicore year." He still won't be awful, but the combination of his age, plus the number of years he's pitched since Tommy John leads me to suspect that he'll be closer to an ERA in the low-to-mid 4's, rather than the mid 3's. And I don't even wanna think about what he'll look like in 2012)

I guess we'll have to wait

I guess we'll have to wait and see. He's shown me nothing that makes me believe he's slowing down.

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