Turnaround, or Fools Gold?
Yeah Cubs! Winners of 3 of the last 4 games they have played, your Chicago Cubs just might be creeping up on the .500 mark. Their record is currently 15-18, 5.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals who are playing the Dodgers in St. Louis tonight.
In the past four games, the club's pitching has allowed just 2.75 runs per game, and that includes a 7 run game where Jon Leicester started.
Prior to these games however, the Cubs lost seven straight and were downright awful. Which leads us to the question, have the Cubs turned their season around, or are the last few games a bright blip on a dark radar screen?
There is plenty of evidence that the last few wins have been nothing more than a touch of long overdue luck. Afterall, the win on Sunday required a complete game one run outing from Carlos Zambrano. This kind of performance isn't likely to be repeated each start if for no other reason than it took 135 pitches to complete the game. Even then, the Cubs offense only managed two runs in support of Zambrano, giving the Cubs a rare one run victory.
Today's victory was of an equal "flip-of-the-coin" variety. It featured some great Cubs pitching, extremely poor defense by Jerry Hairston Jr, an imploding bullpen, a lack of offensive production again, and another one-run margin.
The Cubs scored three runs in the second inning, but their scoring efforts were aided by a hit batsmen, a walk, a balk, a wild-pitch, and a dropped ball by the catcher on a play at the plate. In fact, the Cubs scored three runs with but one hit. Their only other successful offensive effort was a solo home run in the tenth by MVP candidate Derrek Lee.
Looking back at these three wins, the only one that was convincing was the Cubs 7-0 trouncing of the Mets last night. However, this game also featured Greg Maddux with better 'stuff' than he is likely to have for the rest of the season and possibly his career.
In other words, two of these three wins seem to have been heavily flavored with a strong dose of iron pyrite. However, in my often optimistic outlook on the Cubs, I'm going to "Believe" for the next few days.