FROM THE RED STATES
I last spoke to Chris at church on Sunday, and as per his norm, he assured me that the Cubs season was done, the Cubs have now won 3 straight without Derrek Lee in the lineup. Chris is my friend and even though he is a Cubs fan, I tried to encourage him, I tried to talk him in off the ledge, but he was adamant that the Cubs were screwed. Again I say, since that time the Cubs have won 3 straight. Which is why I must say I am surprised that I didn't see the "Cubs are going to the World Series" post on the blog. Chris is what we Cardinal fans commonly refer to Cub fans as a "ledgie." You know one minute there are out on the "ledge" and ready to throw themselves off, and then the Cubs win a few and all the sudden they are the greatest team of all time. So cheer up Chris, the Cubs season is far from over.
I think it is about time to give Maddux a whiz quiz. Let me get this straight, the guy goes from a over 4 ERA to below 1, in one off season. Especially when you consider he is 40 years old. Maddux is clearly one of the greatest pitchers of our time, and of all time, but come on. His fastball is about 4 or 5 mph faster than he has been in the past few years, supposedly as a result of his so-called "workout regiment" in the off season. Yeah it sounds like about the same workout regiment Barroid Bonds was going through about the time he turned 40 years old. This "workout" isn't sponsored by Balco is it. I thought something might be funny when I saw Maddux doing commercials for the "Whizzinator." Although I will confess three of his four starts have been against the Cardinals, and Dodgers, who have two of the most pathetic offenses in the NL, so let's hold off judgement until he pitches to a team with more than one player hitting over .300. However, the mysterious 5 extra mph on his fastball is suspicious.
At any rate, as I told Chris on Sunday, the Cubs just need to hang in there for a couple months, stay in the race and make their run down the stretch when they get everybody back. Their offense is definately much improved, and much better than the Cardinals. The Cardinals have only Pujols doing anything, which amazes me that teams still continue to pitch to him. As the season goes along, and we start playing series against other contenders, I look for Alberts walks to rise dramatically. Our pen is rounding into shape, as I suspected it would, 14 consecutive shutout innings is very impressive. We need another bat or two, but I definately don't see us or anyone for that matter running away with this division as the Cardinals have the past two years. Which might be a blessing considering the past two years the Cardinals haven't played a meaningfull game in two or three months before the playoffs. I think that hurts you come playoff time. I look for the NL Central to be an exciting race, and the wildcard is definately coming out of the Central again, with the West being a joke, and the Mets running away with the East, and the Braves being lucky to finish .500. Looking forward to it.