Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Friday, September 12, 2003
In looking around at other writings yesterday, I saw some folks opining that if the Cubs don't make it to the post season, they can look back at the blown lead against Montreal as a final straw of sorts. Well, I have two words for that, and the first one is bull. The second word is "pucky".
It's silly to blame single games for season-long outcomes, but even if doing so made sense there are other candidates to choose from.
May 6 vs. Milwaukee - Cubs lead 6-3 going into the top of the 8th at home. Guthrie, Cruz and Remlinger combine to give up 6 runs over the next two innings, sending the Cubs to a 9-6 loss.
June 25 vs. Milwaukee - Cubs lead 5-1 going into the top of the 7th at home. The game is tied at six by the end of the eighth, and a six run top of the tenth seals the deal for the Brew Crew. Cubs lose 12-6.
June 26 vs. Milwaukee - Cubs lead 3-2 in the ninth, but a three-run, no out home run by Geoff Jenkins gives the Brewers a 5-3 lead. The lead holds, Brewers get the W.
August 2 vs. Arizona - Cubs lead 3-2 in the ninth again. This time, it's an Alex Cintron solo shot to tie, and a Raul Mondesi RBI double to win. D-Backs take it 4-3.
August 27 at St. Louis - Cubs lead 2-0 going into the bottom of the 8th. This is the game where Dusty Baker morphs into Tony LaRussa, using five pitchers to give up 4 runs. The Cards win 4-2.
Gee, the Cubs sure did blow some games they should have won. Gosh, maybe it's because of all of these bad losses that the Cubs are in the position they're in today! Except...
April 13 vs. Pittsburgh - Cubs are down 3-2 in the bottom of the 8th. A Corey Patterson RBI single and a Troy O'Leary sacrifice fly put the Cubs up 4-3. Cubs down the Pirates 1-2-3 in the ninth to secure the victory.
July 5 vs. St. Louis - Cubs are down 5-0 going into the bottom of the 2nd. They score six unanswered runs, the final one in the bottom of the ninth, to take the 6-5 win.
August 1 vs. Arizona - Cubs are down 3-1 in the bottom of the 11th, but score two, tying it up. The bottom of the 14th sees the Cubs score the final run in a thrilling 4-3 victory.
September 3 vs. St. Louis - Cubs are down 6-0 after the top of the sixth, but outscore the Cards 8-1 over the rest of the game, resulting in a stunning, clutch, 8-7 victory over their division rivals.
September 4 vs. St. Louis - Cubs are down 5-3 after the top of the fifth, but come back again to defeat the Red Menace 7-6. An exciting cap to the most important series of the year to date.
Wow, Derek, that was exhausting and boring. What's your point?
Point is, that these things even out, and just because the Cubs blew a game toward the end of the season doesn't make it any more important than any of the games they blew earlier, or any of the games they stole, for that matter. There are larger issues at work. Positive things like the yeoman-like work of Prior, Zambrano and Wood or the motivational excellence of Dusty Baker. Negative things like the anemic offense and macabre fascination with Shawn Estes. When the season is over and laid out on the dissecting table, it's the larger issues that shed light on the outcome, not the game by game results.