If you listen closely, you can hear it. There it was — did you hear it? No, not Eminem following the career path of Weird Al Yankovic and single-handedly destroying his place in hip-hop history for the rest of eternity. The sound you’re listening for isn’t a train wreck. Hold your ear to the sky and you can hear thousands of Cubs fans sucking in air — gasping if you will. They are holding their breath, ready to throw Cubs’ season into the toilet. Listen folks, step away from that ledge, let me reason with you. The season isn’t over, hope isn’t lost. Here’s why:
Injuries: I cannot state this enough (which is good because I posted about it yesterday), when your good players are hurt your team doesn’t play as well as it should. Aramis Ramirez, Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol: Suffice to say they need to be in the lineup for the Cubs to win. Since we talked about this yesterday, I’m going to move on. UPDATE: Aramis Ramirez is going to test his calf today, and if it’s not ready to go he’s headed to the DL. Huge blow.
Weather: The way this team is set up, offense is going to lead to Ws more than defense is going to. Since I can remember, April in Chicago is always a shitty month, no matter what. Cold weather = little offense. True, it could be said that this doesn’t explain their hitting woes in Florida or Arizona, but in a way it does. Ask baseball players (which I do, in my head) how important consistency is, how important rhythm is and they’ll tell you that it is crucial. So going from 30s and 40s to 60s and 70s is tough in terms of keeping your routine consistent. Once America starts heating up to a relatively uniform temperature, the Cubs hitting woes should melt away.
Luck: Like I said yesterday, again, only four everyday players are hitting over .250 (Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Theriot and Ramirez) and given Ramirez’s current situation it means really only three Opening Day starters are hitting like a competant baseball player. Show of hands, who here thinks that nearly the entire team, a team that was one of the top offenses last year, is going to keep hitting .250? Put your hand down.
So let’s take a deep breath, step back from that ledge/move the toaster away form the bathtub/put the gun down/take that Barnes & Noble plastic bag off of your head and wait until June to decide whether or not the Cubs’ goose is cooked or not. Onto the games:
Cubs lose the series to the Arizona Diamondbacks: L-W-L
Cubs Series Record: 3-3-1 (10-10 overall)
Monday: B+. David Patton began his climb back to being trusted after giving up that Albert Pujols moonshot, with 1 ER (2 R) in 2 IP.
Tuesday: A. Angel Guzman pitched two scoreless. El Pobrecito looking sharp! Looks like my 2002 prediction of an Angel Guzman Cy Young is coming to fruition! Let’s see if I can predict anything else right now that will happen 7 years from now. Hmmm …
Wednesday: D-. Carlos Marmol imploded. 4 BB and 4 ER. If his pitches were any farther from the plate Koyie Hill would have needed mapquest to find them.
Bullpen season GPA: 2.67 (B-) GPA through 20 games.
Monday’s Goat: Every hitter except Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot. 3 hits? Yikes.
Tuesday’s Hero: Carlos Zambrano. 7 IP while surrendering only 3 ER is nice, but going 3-4 with a triple short of the cycle is nicer. Maybe those ground balls at third base earlier in the week is as fantastical as a wizard riding a unicorn down Michigan avenue.
Wednesday’s Goat: Everyone. All of ’em. Total garbage. 2 HITS?! Against DOUG BLEEPING DAVIS? If you were looKing for a Cubs low-water mark in this early season, you just found it. When Doug Davis is mowing you down then it’s time to regroup and find out what poor life decisions you’ve made in the past and change them. Getting dominated by Doug Davis is like waking up in a foreign place after a night of heavy drinking. It doesn’t really matter what happened last night, just so long as you learned your lesson and don’t let it happen again (even though it probably will).
Hero/Goat season leaders:
Hero Squad: Fukudome, Soriano, Ramirez, Zambrano – 2.
Fontenot, Johnson, Lilly, Ramirez – 1.
Goat Bastards: Bradley, Patton – 2.
Cotts, Fontenot, Gregg, Harden, Hoffpauir – 1.