The Moose Returns
The most frustrating thing about being a Cubs fan these last two years is having the intimate knowledge that on any given night, any given Cubs starter can deal the opposition a royal ass-whuppin'. It's been frustrating because they rarely have.
Last night, Carlos Zambrano beat the Brewers like they were a red-headed step-child. He allowed 3 hits and 3 walks in 8 innings en route to a 2-0 Cubs victory. It was The Big Moose's first dominating start since June 5th, when he three-hit the Padres in 7 innings of work. Since that early-June outing, Carlos had seen his ERA rise 1.33 runs per 9 innings. He'd failed to win a game, and had gone as short as 1.2 innings in his previous start, also against the Brewers.
Last night's performance can only bode well for the Cubs, who had one-hit the White Sox the previous game. As sketchy as the bullpen has been, it's good to know that the Cubs can average 2 runs a game and still have a winning streak. And hey, according to Journalist-Logic, since Prior and Zambrano pitched amazingly, so will Wood today. Which I'm sure is a relief for all you worriers out there.
Of course, Wood's return has also created a tough choice for Baker and Hendry. I'm talking about Joe Borowski, who'll probably find a ticket out of town in his locker today. It's always hard to watch a once-great player receive his walking papers, and I'll never forget how immaculate Borowski was for us during the 2003 season. But it's time for him to go.
In better news, the Cubs have finally had a moment of clarity in the middle of their spiraling pit of despair (otherwise known as pretending that OBP doesn't exist). They've given Enrique Wilson his outright release and repromoted Ronny Cedeno, the man of the .380 Triple A batting average.
Of course, Cedeno will mostly just be used as an ass-groove warmer for Neifi Perez while the Neifi! is out on the field, but a blind, one-armed cripple would be about as effective with a bat as Wilson was. Even if Ronny only sees three or four at bats a week, he's still a better choice. And if the world was fair, the Cubs would give the 22-year-old a genuine shot at starting, since Perez has regressed from "Neifi!" back to "why neifi?"
I'm sure a lot of us will watch today's game with at least a little anxiety. But if Wood is back, and even if he's just the 2002 or 2003 version of himself, then the Cubs will be pretty well off for a run at the Wild Card.
Assuming they start using a real leadoff hitter and upgrade the bullpen.