Game Recap: Cubs 9, Marlins 2; Chicago fears no fish
I didn't really get to blog about yesterday's game, which means that you were saved from having to read my frustration about the 8 hits and 7 walks that the Cubs failed to capitalize upon. Not that you would have gotten a lot of bile from me, as it would have been half-hearted at best. It's really very hard to be angry at this Cubs team, short of them running over my pet cats - and even then, I'd be more annoyed than anything.
Today's game provided plenty of reasons to feel joy. The Cubs, down 2-0 in the 7th, uncorked the bats* and in Anti-'03 Fashion, blew the lid off of Dolphins Stadium for 8 runs. The coolest thing was that they did it without homeruns - Soriano doubled in 2, Ramirez doubled in 2 more, Fukudome - who seems to be bouncing back and forth between his white bat and a black one - sac flied a run in (plus he made a stellar defensive grab early in the game), and Reed Johnson capped off the inning with the third double of that frame, this time for 3 more RBI.
(*perhaps a bad pun for a team that once employed Sammy Sosa)
Reed is now batting .314 as a Cub. Like Edmonds, Reed Johnson was a late acquisition by Jim Hendry, plucked from the scrap heap, who has turned into an invaluable member of the Cubs. If on April 1st you told me I would later say "I don't want to think about where the Cubs would be without Reed Johnson and Jim Edmonds," I would have thought you were yanking my crank, which sounds particularly dirty. Moving on.
Ryan Dempster pitched 6 strong today. He left after 96 pitches, after having allowed 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 earned runs. Oh, and he struck out 10. Clownsevelt is now 14-6. Never in a million years would I have expected this kind of production from him. We could make an argument that Dempster is the Cubs MVP this year, but the reality of it is that he'd be fighting with a crowd of players for that distinction. From Dempster, to DeRosa, to Soto, to the Fonz, the Cubs have had a number of players step up and do big things.
Oh, by the way, without much fanfare, Carlos Marmol has now gone 10.1 innings in a row without surrendering a hit, and his scoreless streak is up to 15 straight. Maybe he also should be included in the field of potential MVPs, and, retrospectively, he flat-out absolutely belonged at the All Star Game.
I hate the Fish. Perhaps more than any other team in baseball, I hate the Florida Marlins. I don't even hate the White Sox or the Cardinals, but after the 2003 NLCS, there is a vile spot in my stomach that belongs to that ragtag bunch of losers who can't even afford to keep a solitary good player who's eligible for arbitration.
Therefore, you can probably understand how satisfying it feels to see the Cubs travel down to the hole that is Dolphins Stadium and walk all over the Marlins. Sure, 2 games were close, but the Cubs now leave the putrid state of Florida with 2 wins in 3 tries (pretending the Rays never happened), and I feel slightly less nervous about the prospects of the Marlins storming the weak NL East and sneaking into the playoffs.
The Cubs, by the way, are now 76-48. 28 games over .500. They have a 31-31 record on the road. And they are back in Chicago on Tuesday, hosting the lowly, bottom-feeding Reds. They've already got 11 wins this month, with 13 remaining it does not seem out of the question that the Cubs might exit August with 20 wins in total. Best yet, on July 17th, the Cubs were 57-39. Since that time, they've gone 19-9. They are piling on wins, and somewhere, a Brewers fan is weeping, while a Cardinals fan is at this point too numb to feel.
Current Record: 76-48
Position in the NL Central: 1st place, 5.5 games in front of Milwaukee and 7.5 ahead of St. Louis
Best Possible Record: 114-48
Worst Possible Record: 76-86
On Pace For: 99-63
Magic Number: 34, as powered by CubsMagicNumber.com