Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap: Houston 4, Cubs 0, ow, the pain

First, before anything else, let me thank the New York Mets, who swept the Brewers.  Because of the Mets, the Cubs maintain a 4.5 game lead on the second place team in the division.

Second, I will again point out that a slump had to be expected.  

Those two things out of the way, I am in full-blown, sick to my stomach panic mode.  It's not that I'm not expecting the Cubs to reach the playoffs, because I am positive they will.  It's not even that I think the Brewers will creep in and take the division, because I would be shocked if they do.  The pressing concern for me is the stark realization that any team can swing from unrelenting momentum directly into a gut-wrenching slide.  If the Cubs can lose 5 straight games, and if in 4 of those 5 losses they combine to score 5 runs in total, then my question becomes this: what's stopping them from doing that in October?

At this point, the only way the Cubs will address my concerns is by winning the crap out of their remaining games.  Yep, that's right. "Winning the crap out of their remaining games."  For those of you who speak and understand English rather than Kurtytalk, "winning the crap" means "playing dominantly."  With 22 games remaining, the Cubs will need to win close to that epic number of 15 in order for me to feel less concerned.  They will need to step up and dominate the Cardinals and Brewers, and they will also need to extract revenge from the Astros in Houston.

Will they be able to do that?  I think we'll know within the next week or so.  We may know as soon as the end of their upcoming series with the Reds.  But if the Cubs fail to pull out of this dive they're in, playoffs or not, it will become an October of Diminished Expectations.

Oh, and because this is supposed to be a Game Recap: Cubs lost 4-0.  The offense got shut down again.  Dempster didn't do badly, but something has gone horribly wrong with the hitting.  My thoughts on this, if not evidently clear already ... fix it soon, guys.  Fix it soon.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award