Monday, June 22, 2009

Cubs starting to show signs of life

About this time last week, we were all starting to wonder if the Cubs had any heart left in them.

Sure, one of their biggest hitters, 3B Aramis Ramirez, has been out since May 9 with a dislocated shoulder, and likely won't be back until after the All-Star break. The Cubs also have dealt with a series of nagging injuries to Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano and others.

Good teams battle through these obstacles, though. And after their 4-1 loss to the White Sox Wednesday at Wrigley Field despite an unexpected day off thanks to the rain on Tuesday, that listlessness continued, and many, including yours truly, were beginning to wonder if we should write off the rest of the season.

However, starting Thursday, the Cubs showed that we can be a little fickle at times.

The Cubs fell behind 5-0 to the White Sox going into the bottom of the eighth inning, and it was starting to look like more of the same. But Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto hit back-to-back home runs, and Alfonso Soriano hit in the game-winning run in the ninth inning to win, 6-5.

The next day, the Cubs welcomed the Cleveland Indians and former teammates Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa, both of whom got warm welcomes from the Wrigley faithful. The Tribe went up 7-0 in the fourth inning, and it was starting to look like the same old Cubs we had come to expect during the last six weeks. But they chipped away, and got four in the seventh inning and another in the eighth inning to cut it to 7-6. Wood gets the call to put the game away in the ninth, but Lee comes through, hitting his second home run of the game to tie things up. In the tenth, after Soriano walks, he shows off some of the speed we had been wondering about and stole second before scoring on a bad-hop single by Ryan Theriot for the Cubs' win, 8-7.

Saturday was more of the same for Wood, who came in the bottom of the 13th inning to try to seal a 5-4 win for the Indians. But he missed again, giving up a game-tying single to Andres Blanco before throwing a wild pitch that saw Blanco score the winning run, giving the Cubs a 6-5 win. Sunday was more decisive, with the Cubs winning 6-2, leaving the Cubs at 34-31 with a four-game winning streak and only 2.5 games behind St. Louis, who took over first place from the Brewers over the weekend by feasting on Kansas City pitching, including an 12-5 win Sunday.

The point behind this weekend wrap-up. With no sense of bias and homerism, the Cubs are definitely still in contention, and never were really out of it during this slump. Granted, they have had a lot of help from the Brewers, Cardinals and Reds not keeping up their winning ways all that much, but the Cubs are still in this thing.

Copyright 2009 - Wait Til Next Century.

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