The Cubs pulled off a rare series sweep with their 8-3 win over the D’Backs on Wednesday night at Chase Field in Arizona. Why is this such a big deal? Well unless you’ve been hibernating somewhere the last 3 months, series wins, let alone series sweeps are the exception to the rule for this underachieving 2010 Cubs squad. Let’s look at what this series meant for this Cubs team heading into the All-Star Break with just 1 all-star player – Marlon Byrd.
First, winning the 1st game of the series on Monday marked the 1st time that the Cubs had won the 1st game of a series since the Cubs beat the Dodgers back on May 25th at Wrigley Field (wow, that was a LOT of 1st’s).
Second, the series win marked only the 2nd series win for the Cubs since the end of May. The Cubs won a series against the A’s at Wrigley Field back from June 15th through June 17th – their only series win during the month.
Third, the series SWEEP was only the Cubs 2nd series sweep of the season. The Cubs swept the Brewers in Milwaukee from April 23rd through April 25th.
Now I know what you’re thinking – sure, the Cubs did it against the 2nd worst team in the National League. That may be true, but if you look at what the Cubs have done against the WORST TEAM in the NL (the Pittsburgh Pirates have already beaten the Cubs 11 out of 13 times this year), you’ll realize that the Cubs just need to take a win when they get one. They have been so far and few between in this disastrous 2010 season, I would even take a win against a Little League team if MLB would allow it (although with this squad, I’m not sure I would even want to schedule a game against a Little League team in case the unthinkable happened).
In any event, I’m going to take this a step further. The Cubs are 38-47 and they stand 10.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for 1st place in the NL Central and 9 games behind the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets in the NL Wild Card race. Sure there are a lot of teams to overcome, but could they pull off an amazing run and make things interesting in the 2nd half?! The Cubs still have 6 games against the Reds (which is probably NOT a good thing given the way the Reds torched the Cubs 30-8 in 4 games at Wrigley Field this past weekend) and they still have 12 games against the St. Louis Cardinals. Beating those teams is an easy way to get right back in the thick of it. Bottom line – this 4 game road trip to L.A. to take on the Dodgers starting tonight will do a lot to tell what kind of psyche the Cubs will have going into the 2nd half. Taking 3 of 4 or all 4 would give the Cubs a TON of confidence going into the Break. Winning 2 or less would just prove that 2010 is not the Cubs year (for a 102nd straight year) and that it’s time for the Ricketts Family and GM Jim Hendry to start moving players while their value is most high (Ted Lilly, Carlos Silva just to name a few).
Aramis Ramirez is finally heating up – he had 5 hits in the Arizona series including 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s. Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd each had 2 hits in the 8-3 Wednesday night win, so it could be a sign that the entire offense is starting to get hot at the right time.
Ryan Dempster wasn’t great (3 ER on 8 hits and 1 walk in 5 innings of work), but he did enough to keep the Cubs right in the game. The Cubs bullpen — James Russell, Andrew Cashner, Sean Marshall and Justin Berg – combined to pitch 4 scoreless innings, so it was a total team effort last night.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all shakes out in the city of angels the rest of the week – should be interesting…