Will the Cubs be able to build off the momentum of Wednesday’s 10-5 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia? That is the $50,000 question. The Cubs avoided the sweep with the win, and although it wasn’t always pretty, a win is a win. Carlos Zambrano came up with a big start in a must-win situation to avoid the sweep at Citizens Bank Ballpark, and although he got tagged for 4 ER on 10 hits and 3 walks in 6 2/3 innings, he did his job and gave the bullpen an 8-5 lead at the time of his departure. The bullpen struggled a little bit as well as Angel Guzman and Kevin Gregg had some control issues, but each pitcher got the Cubs out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th and 8th innings and the rest was history.
The Cubs bats finally lit up in one of the friendliest ballparks in the big leagues. The Cubs scored 10 runs on 13 hits. After drawing just 1 walk in the 1st 2 games of the series, the Cubs drew 9 walks on Wednesday. It’s about time. Milton Bradley was back in the lineup after getting a few days off, and he responded by going 2 for 4 with an RBI, a run scored and a walk. It was great to see Aramis Ramirez back in the lineup in a day game after a late night game – maybe his shoulder is OK?! ramirez went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s, 2 runs scored and 2 walks. Ryan Theriot had 3 hits, 2 runs scored and 3 stolen bases, Derrek Lee went 1 for 3 with an RBI, 2 runs scored and 3 walks, while Alfonso Soriano stroked 2 hits to bring his batting average back up to .245! Hip hip hooray!!!
As the Cards got swept in Houston, the Cubs find themselves just 1 game out of 1st place in the NL Central. For as bad as they have looked this 2009 MLB schedule, the division is still there for the taking. How will they respond? Will they take it to the Reds (44-50) and Astros (also just 1 game behind the Cards) on the upcoming 7-game home stand at Wrigley Field? Or will they revert to their losing ways after showing some (little) signs of getting their act together? I’ve seen too much bad baseball from this club in 2009 to think that they will get it together. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they can string together a good stretch of wins to put some pressure on the Cards, Astros and Brewers to have to perform well on a daily basis. But if recent history is any indication, we’ll probably see a mediocre 4-3 or 3-4 homestand with the Cubs trailing the mediocre Cards by a game or two in the mediocre NL Central… Anyone see a mediocre pattern here?