Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Stop me if you've heard this one

Being a Cub fan in October is a lot like living in a constant state of deja vu. Sure, it's nice that there are two tracks to take, but neither one ends well.

Track one is the one everyone is used to, where you tune into games just a tad late, check your e-mail and wonder if you're a bad fan if you turn off the game in favor of reruns of The Office or to fire up the Xbox. Needless to say, track one is the October where the Cubs miss the playoffs. Will they miss by a little or miss by a lot? Surprise me.

Track two is the one where the Cubs make the playoffs, people go nuts and every 100 years or so, they join the White Sox in the postseason. Usually, they make the playoffs comfortably by virtue of a soft NL Central schedule and hopes are high until first pitch.

Then, the bats go quiet, the stars curl up into the fetal position and you're left looking at the final score and wondering how it got that out of hand.

Again, stop me if you've heard this one.

Tonight, the Cubs walked eight batters - seven of those by the starter, Ryan Dempster - including two free passes to the other team's pitcher. Additionally, the top five batters were two-hit by the Dodgers, with Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee picking up one hit a piece. Both also grounded into double plays.

If all of this seems extra familiar this year, it's because the team has picked up where it left off last year, when they were swept by the Diamondbacks in a series so quick that it didn't hurt much.

Lee had four hits in the series, Alfonso Soriano had two and Ramirez had a fat oh-fer.

The three sluggers had one thing in common - zero RBI for the trio. That's in last year's series and in tonight's game against Los Angeles.

The two teams square off again tomorrow night in Chicago and I honestly can't blame any Cubs fans that pass on the festivities because they have reached their breaking point prematurely this season. After all, it is a new episode of The Office tomorrow night.

* Because I probably won't get a chance to post before tomorrow night's game, I'll piece this in here:

Carlos Zambrano is starting a critical game in the postseason for the Cubs. Zambrano has never gotten credit for a win in four tries. With an ERA of 4.37 Zambrano only has one loss, but the team has gone on to lose all four.

Much has been made here in Chicago of the wisdom of starting Zambrano with the second slot in the rotation over Ted Lily, but it is what it is. The question circle around Zambrano's all-or-nothing reputation, especially in light of his no-hitter followed by an outright implosion following the death of his grandmother.

No, that's not his fault, but anyone who has seen the past months worth of games can't deny the fact that Zambrano will run hot an cold on you. If you are ready to live and die by the Cubs tomorrow night, this matchup should be giving you nightmares to the point that you'll be worthless at work tomorrow morning.

My suggestion is that Ron Santo should just try to stay out late tonight and get to the ballpark early to see if anyone needs a hand on the grounds crew or moving boxes of hot dog buns or something.

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