Series Recap: Cubs 2, Cardinals 1
The Cubs entered this weekend's series against St. Louis with the rare and glorious opportunity of nailing the door shut on the Cardinals' season. Although they took 2 of 3, I think it's fair to say that they bobbled it. Sure, they won the first game 3-2 in 11 innings, but the offense just wasn't there in the second game, and worse, the Cardinals took Carlos Zambrano for a ride of gut-wrenching proportions. He allowed 9 earned runs off of 4 homers in just over 4 innings of work. Thugly.
It's hard to be unhappy with the Cubs, though. Jim Edmonds continues to deliver. After going 0 for the world the last time he faced his ex team, Edmonds hit 2 homeruns in the first game of the series, elevating him to 15 on the season. Granted, he didn't get a hit the rest of the way, but the point is, he practically single-handedly won a game against the hated Cardinals.
Tonight's game was perhaps the most fulfilling. We won't go so far to say that the Cubs needed to win tonight, but it certainly was nice that they did. Ryan Dempster went close to 7 innings, allowing 6 hits, walking 3, and striking out 6. He's now won 13 on the season to 5 losses, and at this point Dempster is going to be in for a huge payday once he enters the free agent market - something that's bound to happen.
Kerry Wood also pitched tonight. He's now recovered from his blister, only to suffer another bout of back spasms - he's always had back spasms, it's still better than elbow/shoulder stuff - but, importantly, Wood delivered another strong performance while setting up the still-unhittable Marmol. I have a feeling that Wood will have perhaps only a few more tune-ups before he and Carlos trade places, and Lou goes back to his rigorous regime of trying to turn Marmol's elbow and shoulder into mush.
The Cubs have tomorrow off before embarking on a 6 game road trip, 3 in Atlanta and 3 in Florida. While Chicago continues to have a spotty-at-best road record, they've won their last 5 played outside of Wrigley Field.* I'd expect their solid play to continue against the Braves, and I hope to the sweet lord that they find a way to beat the Marlins in Florida. All that said, the Cubs are the first 70-win team in the National League. More impressive, they have 6 fewer losses than the first place Phillies, and they are 11 in front of the first place D-Backs. I suppose that doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, but it's still kinda cool.
Current Record: 71-47
Position in the NL Central: 1st place, 4 games in front of Milwaukee and 7 ahead of St. Louis
Best Possible Record: 115-47
Worst Possible Record: 71-91
On Pace For: 97-65
Magic Number: 41, as powered by CubsMagicNumber.com