Series Recap: Cubs 2, Pirates 1
I'll be honest - I missed everything since Friday. I went on a mini-vacation this weekend, and consequently did not know that the Cubs had won the last 2 games of the series until a few hours ago. Let's not get too thrilled by it - the Cubs should always, always beat teams as rotten as Pittsburgh. In fact, I remain disappointed that they failed to sweep. However, before you think I protest too much, I don't think a Cub fan out there can be upset with the 5 and 6 game leads held over the second and third place teams in the Central right now.
Offensively, in their 2 wins, the cubs combined for 21 hits, 7 walks, and 13 runs scored. Reed Johnson had a huge Saturday, going 3 for 4 with a double, but he made his biggest impact on Sunday when he hit a 2-run, pinch hit homerun in the 8th. He was followed that game by Alfonso Soriano, who hit his 19th of the season.
Ted Lilly acheived his 11th win of the season, but Carlos missed out on his 13th as he opted to exit early, his eyes set on the playoffs and staying fresh. His game was almost spoiled by Chad Gaudin, who was booed mercilessly for his efforts, but who won for the 3rd time since coming to Chicago thanks to Johnson and Soriano's back-to-back homeruns.
Carlos Marmol was wasted on Saturday, pitching a flawless and pointless 9th inning, and he gave Cub fans reasons to be wasted on Sunday, pitching another strong 9th for his 6th save of the season. He's definitely back on track since the All Star Break, but sweet fancy Jesus, Lou, use him wisely!
And the Cubs now enter Houston, which should be a fine tune-up for the St. Louis series.
Hey, I'm not crazy enough to suggest that this is a definite scenario, but as the Cubs battle a fairly light-weight team, the Cardinals will be squaring off against playoff-bound juggernaut Los Angeles, which I write only somewhat sarcastically*. If - big if here - the Cubs play well against Houston, and if the Cardinals struggle against the Dodgers, then Chicago will find themselves in the rare and happy position of landing St. Louis an early-August killing blow. The stars will have to work valiantly to align themselves, but could St. Louis be 10 games out a week from tomorrow?
Nah. But it surely would be cool.
(*Damn them for acquiring Manny! Dammmmnnn theeeeemmmmmmm!!!)
Current Record: 67-45
Position in the NL Central: 1st place, 5 games in front of Milwaukee and 6 ahead of St. Louis
Best Possible Record: 117-45
Worst Possible Record: 67-95
On Pace For: 97-65
Magic Number: 46