Seems like the Cubs have developed a winning recipe long after the season is over… Good outings by the starting pitcher and Carlos Marmol and a clutch hit by Derrek Lee. I feel like I am writing the same thing over and over when it comes to recent Cubs wins.
I guess I should be happy. The starting pitching has been solid all year long. With Ryan Dempster’s win on Monday night (2-0 over the Brewers), the Cubs now have 3 starters with at least 10 victories. With Carlos Zambrano sitting on 8 wins and Rich Harden sitting on 9 wins, that number should be 5 when the season ends on October 4th. Dempster had his best start of 2009 on Monday night – he looked like the Ryan Dempster of 2008, focused, throwing strikes, hitting his spots. Dempster needed just 108 pitches to throw 8 scoreless innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 walk. Yeah!
Carlos Marmol rebounded from his non-save situation loss on Saturday afternoon, pitching a scoreless 9th inning with 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Make it 9 out of 9 for Marmol in save situations since being named the Cubs closer.
And as for Derrek Lee, he just keeps on hitting. Lee had 2 hits in Monday’s win, including his 33rd home run of the year. He is hitting .304 on the 2009 MLB campaign and he has his OPS up to .966. Aramis Ramirez also came through with 2 hits and he now has his batting average up to .324.
Although it is definitely too little too late, I am very happy with the performance by some of these guys down the stretch. As I have said before, the pitching staff has been mostly good all throughout the 2009 MLB schedule (the team’s 3.85 ERA is still he 5th best ERA in all of baseball). Even in a year in which the bats completely deserted the club for long stretches at a time, the pitchers never really lost focus, and the team has still managed to win 74 games to date. The Cubs offense still has the 5th worst batting average in all of baseball. I’m not sure what the Cubs can do in the off-season to tweak the lineup (with the new ownership situation and limited payroll flexibility) to improve the offense. But one would think that with a move here or there, and with more productive seasons from Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto, there have gotta be a few more wins out there to put the club back into a playoff contender in 2010. Wishful thinking? Maybe, but at this point, we gotta do something…