Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cubs: The fat lady hasn’t sung but she’s on deck

CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs have played well as of late in keeping their slim hopes at a wildcard alive. After dropping two straight at home to the Milwaukee Brewers it may be too little too late.

What started out with so much promise and a possible run at the World Series has turned into a season of disappointment. Marred by injuries, inconsistent play, poor pitching and consistent lineup shifts the Cubs are winding down their lackluster season.

The Cubs entered yesterday’s final game of their 4-game series with the Brewers with a slim chance of gaining ground in the wildcard race. But after losing to the Brewers 7-4 it may be over soon. Even though the fat lady hasn’t begun to sing she’s certainly on deck warming up those vocal cords.

In front of 39,158 fans at Wrigley Field starting pitcher Randy Wells found himself with the same pitching woes which have plagued Cubs hurlers all season. Two days ago poor pitching by Rich Harden led to the Cubs losing to the Milwaukee Brewers 9-5. Harden lasted just 3 innings while giving up 5 runs on 71 pitches. Harden stated, “You try not to think about that, Harden said. “Either way I still have to go out and do my job and I didn’t do that today. I’ve got three starts left here, and I’ve go to get it done.”

Today Wells couldn’t find his control. He gave up 5 runs and totaled 5 walks in just 4 innings. Wells managed to pitch himself out of a first-inning bases loaded jam and luckily just gave up one run. Wells found himself in the same position in the fourth-inning but this time he wasn’t as fortunate. With two outs and the bases loaded outfielder Jody Gerut cracked a grand slam homerun making the score 5-2 in favor of the Brewers. A lead they never relinquished.

What’s with the Cubs?

The last two seasons the Cubs have put together summer winning streaks for the ages. They positioned themselves with strong pitching and hitting to go into the playoffs with high expectations. Despite those high expectations the Cubs came up disappointedly short in being swept in the opening round of the playoffs the last two years.

For a myriad of reasons they’ve not been able to right the ship this season.
But despite the erratic play, injuries and inconsistent pitching the Cubbies can still mathematically sneak into the playoffs. Two days ago Piniella suggested if the Cubs could put together a nice run they’d be in the thick of things. He stated, “Look, again, we still have 19 games to play (18 after today’s game). We’re on the outskirts, but we’re still there. If we put together a nice 5, 6-game winning streak from here on out, and you’d be surprised how quick you’re in it.”

But then Piniella sounded as if he’s packed it in by talking about next year as if this one is all but over. He said, “Just staying healthy, alone, would help immensely. I would obviously see this team here being very competitive next year.”

After yesterdays disappointing loss Piniella declined to come take his lumps in the media room. One has to wonder if he really wants to manage this team.

Coming down the stretch if the Cubbies can find some consistency with their pitching and get their bats going they can maybe live up to those expectations and make a run at a wildcard. They better start tonight as they travel to St. Louis.

But, as Cubs fans have been doing for just over a century they’ll probably have to wait until next year: add another season to the World Series drought.

But as Piniella suggested a winning streak can chance things around. Who knows, but if it’s going to happen it better happen quick. Even thought the fat lady hasn’t officially begun to sing she’s certainly on deck warming up those vocal cords.

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