I haven't written much about the Cubs this summer. I haven't written much at all this summer. But I have some time, so I thought I'd share some thoughts.
A lot of people were ready to declare their run at the postseason over this week. If it wasn't enough that Alfonso Soriano tore his quad, Aramis Ramirez was scrubbed from the lineup just before the first pitch Tuesday with a wrist injury. They dropped four games in a row, including a sweep by the Astros.
But I still like their chances. It wasn't just their 10-2 trampling of the Rockies last night that convinced me. I've seen a lot of things from this team that have been lacking from Cubs teams in recent seasons. Most of all, they know how to run the bases, field their positions and put the ball in pall rather than swinging for the fences.
On top of all that, their starting pitching has been very solid. Carlos Zambrano (except in his last two starts) has been dominant, and Ted Lilly, who scored his 13th victory last night, has been a real surprise. The bottom of the rotation has been a little shaky, but Jason Marquis, Rich Hill and Sean Marshall have all made some solid starts. And the bullpen has held up pretty well. You have to like the addition of Kerry Wood. I'm glad the team didn't hang their hats on his return again this season, but it's nice to see them at the back of the pen.
A lot of people have been critical of the team's lack of power. Even guys who traditionally hit a lot of home runs haven't been knocking the ball out of the park. Derek Lee and Ramirez have been pretty quite. But what people seem to be forgetting is that when the team pulled themselves into a dead heat with the Brewers after being as many as nine games under .500, they weren't doing it by hitting a lot of home runs. They were doing it with timely hitting. If they keep doing that, I think they'll be ok.
I hate getting my hopes up with a month and a half left to play, but I'm looking forward to getting to see the ivy at Wrigley Field turn red again this year.
SONG OF THE MOMENT:
"Doreen" - The Old 97's