Monday, August 22, 2005

Frustration Reaches a New High

I, more than anyone else, have faith that the Cubs can still make a run at the NL Wildcard in the final month of the season...provided they play like Major Leaguers in September.

The Cubs will enter this weekplaying the NL East Division leading Braves for a 3 game set. The past couple of weeks have seen the Cubs really take it to the better teams in the NL, so hopefully this series will be no exception. The Cubs seem to really turn it up against the better teams, which they should be doing every game. But when the "leagues worst" record wise play the Cubs, its like the Cubs forget how to play BASEBALL.

Despite the times, BASEBALL isn't about winning with homeruns. The White Sox enjoyed success this season getting base hits, and moving runners along on the basepaths. Speaking of which, and I hate to use this post as something Sox related, but has anyone noticed that since Scotty P has been out for the Sox that they have been struggling big time???

Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have basically been the Cubs entire offense this season, and Ramirez started off very cold. The Cubs have never had a consistent offense where they could theoretically put up 5-6 runs per game and win games easily because their starting pitchers are top notch. The Cubs lack the ability to score runs that are not from homeruns. Yes there obviously have been runs scored this season without the longball, but the majority of the time, the Cubs really count on that HR on the scoreboard.

And even when the Cubs DO get those basehits, they then decide that they have forgotten how to run the bases. Simple careless mistakes, like not paying attention, and simply not hustling have cost the Cubs many a time and have taken away run scoring opportunities. For a guy like Patterson who is really a speed demon, you would think he would be able to run the bases a little better. When I was a kid, I used to play Running Bases all the time with my friends. At the time, you think you are just having fun laughing at each other cause they keep running back and forth. But now that I am much older and still playing ball after all these years, I really appreciate the fact that my friends and I played such a simple game growing up. My coaches over the years really trust my instincts on the bases, and its very rare that they try to tell me what to do when I get on base. I looke at the Cubs, and I dont see that trust, that knowledge. Maybe a game of Running Bases before every game could become benificial.

And obviously, you can't ignore the bullpen problems. Granted Dempster, although at times can scare the crap out of you before he finally shuts the door, has been great as a closer. But why did it take so long for the Cubs to utilize him in that role? Why did Hendry refuse to upgrade the bullpen in the offseason after the collapse last season? And why did he STILL not address that problem at the trade deadline? The bullpen is awful, depsite its bright spots throughout the season. Kerry has been solid so far, i'd like to see him used more often to see if he really could be a great setup man.

Despite Dusty's "great" managerial descisions this season (and I say that with extreme sarcasm), you can't really point the blame finger at Dusty. As easy as it is to do, or no matter how bad we want someone else managing this team that will lit a fire under these players, Dusty isnt playing on the field. Dusty is not at the plate swinging for the fences. Dusty is not getting picked off base. Dusty isnt coming in from the pen in the 8th and blowing the game wide open.

These 2005 Cubs really need to step up their game heading into September. There is a long way to go still, and it is possible for the Cubs to do what the Astros did in 2004. But its going to take a lot of effort. I saw it against St. Louis. I saw in in Houston (after Monday night of course.) I want to see it for a month consistantly. GO CUBS!!!