You believed it. They sucked you in, didn't they? I have to admit, the bait became tempting after Theriot's successful suicide squeeze in the seventh to give the Cubs a temporary one run lead. And after we survived the eighth inning, considering the ridiculous stuff Marmol's been throwing lately, it almost looked good enough to believe. However- ha ha- this is where my training has come in handy.
Just as soon as I was about to leap in and acknowledge a pleasing three-game winning streak against a good Phillie team, I realized this would be the exact perfect moment for the team to crumble, reassuring the fans that there will be no lengthy winning streak to implant false hope within them. Sadly, this was a fine hesitiation on my part, as it was the walk-plauged Bizzaro world Marmol that showed up today.
All too obviously, the Cubs came within a tag at home plate of winning the game, clinching the series victory, and putting together a nice little win streak against a team that should beat them. Now it looks like a split, after the Phillies piled on four runs in the top of the ninth today and Roy Halladay (10-7, 2.19) taking the mound for Philadelphia tomorrow against Tom Gorzelanny (4-5, 3.16).
Despite winning two out of the gate following the All-star game and Aramis Ramirez looking like he's back on track, do not forget what this team is: a mediocre baseball team, stunted primarily by a core of aging and declining veterans. Enjoy the wins as they come, but the best thing any of this production can produce for the Cubs is give the team more ability to trade some of these players away before the approaching trade deadline.
Furthermore, don't let blown games like today's bother you. First off, you should have seen it coming and been ready for it; so the "surprise" factor is out. And besides that, who cares? Just as this game serves as a reminder to the fans not to put faith in this team, it should serve as a reminder to GM Jim Hendry and Chairman Tom Ricketts as well.
The Cubs would need to go ass-backwards crazy over the next two to three weeks, like the team on the Southside has been doing, in order to actually be in a position to talk about succeeding this year. By then, the trading deadline will have come and gone. By then, it simply will be too late to make anything out of this season. The best thing any productive outbursts from the Cubs will provide is more teams interested in more of our players.
If Aramis Ramirez can stay hot for a week or two, he will certainly look more appealing to a number of teams out there. That gives the Cubs two viable trading options in both Ramirez and Ted Lilly. If somehow Lee could join in on the offensive display, then he may be a movable piece as well. Being able to trade two or three of these players could be key for the Cubs having interesting and talented youth on the field next year; something that is absolutely necessary for Cubs fans seeking any signs of hope coming any time soon.
I don't care what Lou Piniella says. Although I don't think that he really gives a damn about this team, obviously he'd be happier the more the Cubs win, so of course he wants Ted Lilly to stick around. I bet he'd say the same thing if he was asked about Lee or Ramirez as well, because he will not get starting position players to plug into those holes right away in exchange for them. This in turn makes Lou's job more difficult (more thinking = hurty in Uncy Lou's brain), and you know he's not interested in that.
With the group of veterans on the team that he has now, Lou can just keep plugging them in and claim ignorance on his part. They're the proven players and he's just a coach; waddaya want him ta do? If Hendry gives him some young talent and Lou has to start deciding where to put players based on their talents and abilities, then he can no longer defer the ominous groupings of fingers being pointed at him when he is clearly making the wrong decisions.
All of this sounds oddly familiar. Oh yes, that reminds me! Bears training camp is coming up. These situations really are similar, and see the following post if you are interested in more on this. To wrap this one up, let's just say seeing the Cubs almost get into a, albeit modest, winning streak was exciting, and anyone of us surely would have been happy with a split against the defending NL Champs going into this four game series- so don't be upset. It's the Cubs! Just try to enjoy the baseball aspect of it; don't focus so much on the score, or their record, or the roster, or the ticket prices, or the bullpen, etc. etc...