Game Recap: Cubs 14, Reds 9; the sweet relief of victory
14 runs later, and the Cubs have their first September victory, not that there weren't a few speed bumps along the way. Jason Marquis - who, for one night, has earned the nickname "The Stopper," stepped up and pitched 2 run baseball into the 8th inning, striking out only 2 to his 5 walks, and he hit a homerun to boot. Speaking of homeruns, Marquis wasn't alone in his quest to injure a Reds fan in the bleachers - Mark DeRosa hit his 20th of the season, and Alfonso Soriano hit his 25th, 26th, and 27th. Fonz, we love you.
In fact, the Cubs managed 18 hits and 4 walks tonight while scoring 14 runs in total.
And they still managed to scare the crap out of Cub fans!
The final 2 innings of the night were not exactly easy. The Reds scored 8 of their 9 runs with 5 outs remaining in the game, including a 9th inning Granny by Jolbert Cabrera off of Carlos Marmol, who will only be tagged for 1 of the 4 runs. Having made it more interesting for himself, Marmol then buckled down and had a fairly easy time getting the last 3 outs of the game, Corey Patterson excluded. And, like that, the Cubs have ended their slide, they maintain a 4 game lead on the second place Brewers, I can now stand to look at their schedule again, and they have a chance of winning the 3 game set against the Reds tomorrow night.
I know a lot of people are sick with this team. It very quickly became a roller coaster in the last week after the Cubs had given us a month of smooth sailing, and if I haven't mixed my metaphors enough, they finally managed to hit the breaks tonight after having fallen off a cliff. But, c'mon, be honest Cub fans, you're still worried that there's more space to fall.
If I were to take a survey of our loyal Goat Readers, how many people out there right now believe the Cubs will somehow find a way to miss the playoffs?
How many people think they'll slink in as wild carders?
How many people believe they'll be swept out of the first round?
How many people are aware that, with 20 games remaining, the Cubs have the best record in the NL? I mean, that's how good they've been this year. They lost six games in a row and they are percentage points away from having the best record in all of baseball.
For the last month or so, many of us - this blog included - have directed our gaze toward a nice, round number that no Cubs team has seen in more than 70 years. Achieving that win would be a tremendous accomplishment, a point of pride that few Cub fans can recall experiencing as most who were alive the last time it happened now battle dementia, senility, and/or incontinence.
And, yet, 100 wins means exactly this in reality: Dog Piss Jones. 100 wins means nothing. It should not be the goal. With 20 games remaining, the Cubs are capable of achieving it, but should it even be a minor concern? Maybe this ridiculous losing streak was a blessing in disguise. Maybe it will have served as a reminder to the team that they are not invincible, they still have to actually play to win, and rather than strive to achieve cool-yet-irrelevant goals like a 100 win season, maybe they can now focus on the two most important things: entering the playoffs with home field advantage and beating the ever-loving shit out of every team they come across once they're there.
I know some of you have abandoned ship. Rather than risk another painful crash landing, you have pulled the ripcord and you are floating off to the safety of disconnection. Have fun over there. Enjoy the football season. Hockey and basketball start soon. There's a new episode of House on TV next week and you can already get the first episode of Dexter online.
Me, I bleed Cubs baseball, and I will be there until the end, be it in the first week of October or the last. And believe me, the enjoyment or the sorrow that I will experience when the last out is made this season will be enough for me and ten others. I've got you covered. I'm collecting all the forks you've stuck in this team throughout the season, and I promise that you'll get them all back when it's over.
But it's not over. Anybody who believes otherwise is ridiculous and afraid.