You've missed me as I've not missed this weekend series
I'm in Montreal this weekend, eating the meals of my life, and so far I can't help but notice how the Cubs have responded to my absence by losing a lot.
As Rob noted in his caustic-but-realistic post just below this one, our beloved Cubs may look great this year - and, momentary losses aside, such as the last few, they do look great - but if anything can happen in a shot series, that anything gets amplified when your team boasts three-to-four starters who've never been there before, who've never pitched dominating in an Important Game.
If you've found this blog because of it, or if you've followed my lead and tuned in through the internet streaming, then you know I've had some very fun, very interesting conversations about the Cubs with Jon Miller these last few months. Something he observed is the loseness of this team, and it's true. These guys don't look like they are playing with pressure. They seem to enjoy each other's company, they seem to enjoy the game itself, and that is reflected in the number of big, come-from-behind wins that they've had.
However - and it's a big however - all of that changes after Game 162. I think you could transport the World Champion Red Sox, stick them in Cubs uniforms, and trot them out into October glory, and they would still tell stories of the immense pressure they'd feel in Wrigley in October. As Rob alluded to, every out becomes amplified, every run scored against runs the risk of being heart-breaking, and every game matters more than any other game ever before.
That, above all other reasons, is why you need that legendary, that categorical, Big Game Pitcher playing for your team. Carlos Zambrano may be one of those, but he can't win a short series on his own. Kerry Wood was one of those, and even he tanked out there in Game 7, 2003.
These Cubs may be the most complete Cubs team in the history of our fandom. The offense could - and should - continue to provide big scores. But Jim Hendry needs to strongly look into acquiring another ace pitcher. C.C. Sabathia's agent is sitting by his phone. It may be costly, but if this is to be The Year, then the price should be worth paying.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled drubbing of the White Sox. Go Cubs.