Northside For Life

Friday, June 03, 2005

Are they for real?

The Cubs are on a roll. Can't say that I'm surprised. Why? Two reasons: First, pretty much every MLB team will get hot at some point in the season. For example the Pirates won six in a row last month. And the Royals just finished sweeping the Yankees. It happens. Second, this team was due for a hot streak. There is just too much talent -even with all the injuries- to continue struggling the way they were.

There are a few keys to their succes of late:

  • The offense, led by Derrek (MVP) Lee, a resurgent Aramis, Jeromy Burnitz, and a solid Neifi! Perez. There are too many bats in this line-up to stay in an offensive funk. Even better, they've become more disciplined at the plate and aren't just waiting around for someone to hit a 3-run homer to do all their scoring. It's pretty refreshing.

"...and BOOM goes the dynamite"

  • The bullpen has pitched decently. The various roles are now better defined, with Wuertz as the setup guy and Dempster doing a good job as closer (like I said he would, suckas). Also getting rid of LaToya was a huge plus. Even if those two prospects don't pan out, it was still a great deal. Hell I'd have traded LaToya for a gift certificate to Target if given the chance.

  • The starting pitching has remained solid, despite the loss of Prior and Woody's absence. Mitre has done pretty well and that Koronka dude wasn't that bad (not to mention his girlfriend was pretty hot). And Glendon Rusch is freaking awesome. Where did this guy come from? I mean he was 1-12 with the Brewers in '03 the Rangers released at the begining of the '04 season. The Rangers! Because we all know they're loaded with pitching down there. He comes here and has been outstanding as a starter. And now 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA? It doesn't get much better. At the same time though, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst.

    So long sucka!

  • They've been playing crap teams. Well at least until the San Diego series. They hosted the Astros and Rockies last week, the two worst road teams in the league, and they played a fading Dodgers team. Still, those are the teams you have to beat. However a 3-1 series win against the best hometeam in the NL (Padres) is pretty damn impressive.

So there you go. All those pessimistic, supposed Cub fans who were lamenting a lost season after only 30 games must now sing a different tune. At the very least, this team is making things interesting. And Dusty Baker is actually looking smart for a change. However I'm not buying my playoff tickets yet. This team has quite a few question marks:

  • The starting rotation consists of Z, Mad Dog, Rusch, and......um......who? Woody should be back soon but he has a glass arm so who knows how long he'll be around or how effective he'll be. Mitre has stunk up the joint during his last two starts. Koronka was O.K. in L.A. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to get a win. I have to see more of him to get a better gauge. He goes up again tonight against the Blue Jays. But it's looking like the rotation is going to be pretty shaky for a while.
  • Corey Patterson. While the rest of the team has been hitting the cover off the ball, Corey swings and misses at balls in the dirt with guys in scoring position. I don't know about this guy. The talent is obviously there, but he's inconsistent and just hard headed. Of course this has been discussed to death on various blogs so I won't get into it here. I think Marc Silverman of ESPN 1000 said it best when he said he heard Corey was a 5-tool player but he only saw one tool out there and it was none other than the center fielder himself.



The incredible strikeout machine

  • The schedule in June is killer. Games against the Padres, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Marlins, Yankess, and the pesky Brewers. You could easily see another "June swoon" this year. Not to mention most of the team's games against the Cardinals are in the second half. That could be a problem.
  • Neifi! might turn into a pumpkin. He's been kick ass so far, but who knows if he'll run out of gas.


    All together now....Neifi!

Despite these questions, I think this team has enough talent to at least contend for a wild card spot. I don't see them catching the Cards. I mean when those guys lose a big gun like Rolen and keep -pardon the pun- rollin', you just know there's little to no chance. But I like the Cubs' chances at making it a fun summer.

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