For the first time since 1907-08, the Cubs have won the division in back-to-back seasons. As expected, the Northsiders clinched (on Saturday), with their arch rivals on the field, in a 5-4 nail biter. Most years, this would be enough. Division champs, Cardinals eliminated and are forced to watch the Cubs celebrate. Like a dream come true.
But not this year. This is simply not enough.
As much as I’d like to tell you that this is my favorite Cub team of my lifetime (and it is), and that the fact that they have been really fun to watch would be enough. I’d be lying. We want the WS title.
Here we go…
Thursday Night Sums it Up
How about the series finale with Milwaukee. Doesn’t that just sum up the Cubbies this year? Down 6-2 with two outs and nobody on in the ninth, Braun lets a line shot go under his glove, the door creaks open and the Northsiders kick it in. They put up four in the bottom on a Soto blast and then win it in twelve innings. Sometimes I’m still not sure these are the Cubbies I’m watching.
Hey, listen friends, it’s late September…let’s enjoy this for a few days. Enjoy watching Casey McGahee, Randy Wells and Felix Pie. Enjoy not worrying about a tie-breaker coin flip or the Chicago Bears’ horrendous offensive coordinator. Let’s not even worry whether it’s the Mets, Phillies or Dodgers for the NLDS. There will be plenty to discuss next week. Piniella understands what’s going on.
Speaking of Piniella, I’m convinced he has them hungry for a few more celebrations. He will rest them, but not too much; he has praised them, but not too much. Manager of the year? Yes.
Case-in-point: Saturday’s clincher game. Anyone remember what the deciding run was? A mid-game suicide squeeze from Ted Lilly with a four-run lead making it 5-0.
Ol’ Lou knows you can never have too many runs. Sure enough, after a mistake to Glaus, the Cubs found themselves with a 5-4 lead they would never relinquish. Maybe they still would have won the game if it was 4-4, but there have been so many situations like this throughout the year that we never have to wonder about because Lou is a step ahead.
Ryan Dempster. I’ll make a quick case. 17-6 with and ERA of 2.99. 183 K’s. Led his team to a division title. 14 wins at home (the most by a Cubs pitcher since Fergie Jenkins won a franchise-leading 15 in 1967). All this coming after three years as a closer. If Cubs win the WS and Dempster plays a big part, he could have the case, especially if Brandon Webb and his 20 wins sit at home for the post-season.