See? We told you the Apocalypse was upon us
...but you know, when you ride a goat, you have to accept a few hits to your credibility.
Seven in a row feels mighty good, and nicely balances out any previous losing streaks (ooo...symmetry). If you take out our longest losing streak and our longest winning streak, it finds us 4 games above .500. Which, oddly enough, is exactly where the Cubs are right now (this would be much less of an interesting statement if the Cubs has losing/winning streaks only 3 games or something, but to have off-setting 7 game streaks has to be fairly rare. Maybe still not interesting, but rare nonetheless). Does anyone really think that the Cubs were actually playing well in their non-streak games? Me neither, which makes me think this team is going to pull well above .500 when it is all said and done, and maybe grab a Wild Card berth. And once the Cubs make the playoffs, well, keep your eye out for locusts (and Spam).
And so we look at a team with no Prior, no Wood, and no Nomar...but no matter. We have Glendon, Neifi!, and Mitre (okay, I would kind of take Prior over Mitre), and it is hard to imagine Nomar or Wood performing better than their stunt doubles. These are the kind of things that lead one to want to believe.
Glendon was about 2 steps beyond exceptional last night, limiting the Padres to 4 lonely hits while at the same time putting on his own offensive and defensive show. Rusch managed a double and a walk, which is one more extra base hit than the entire Padres team managed and just as many walks. And the defense, well, that was, um, fun. To see the gazelle-like Glendon bound off the mound, glove-shovel the slow roller over to Lee, and have Lee catch the ball with his bare hand...well, it may not have been a thing of beauty, but I laughed with delight.
While Glendon may have been the MVP of the game, the MVP of the universe is clearly Derrek Lee. He now has reached base in 10 consectutive ABs and has raised his average up to a solid .389. Like I said, it is finally June, and he is heating up. I fully expect Lee to not make another out until September.
Other good things? Wood is throwing off the mound, including sliders. They are still a little ways off from throwing him in a simulated game, but he should be ready by the All-Star break. Koronka (or whomever they throw out there) is nice enough, but Wood is just better. And then when Prior finally returns, a rotation of Zambrano, Maddux, Prior, Wood, Glendon would be absolutely devasting. Zambrano is starting to round into form and Wood could make the best fifth starter in the league. Oh, but to dream.
And finally, to respond to a comment in the comments section, in which I already commented, but want to bring out of the comments (don't say comment) for all to see:
The question was, does Big Z really pitch worse after 120+ pitch outings? Well, I went through the game logs and computed his ERA in starts after a 120+ pitch game and found:
Yes, Zambrano has seen ill affects after throwing 120+ pitches. Zambrano has compiled a 4.68 ERA while averaging just over 6 innings per outing in games after a 120+ pitch perfomance. This ERA is obviously well below is career era (and slightly worse than average) and so I think one can say, yes, Zambrano is affected by throwing more than 120+ pitches in a start. I would argue that Zambrano (and all pitchers) should rarely be stretch beyond the 120+ pitch mark and it should only be done when necessary and for important games.
I have all the game logs on file in a nifty spreadsheet, and so I can look into this further if anyone has any other ideas in how to look at this. It is only 90+ innings, but that is a really bad ERA. This is hardly a definitive study, but it has some merit.
Another 9:05 game tonight. Go Cubs.