Soxman does Cubs Weekly Part Two



By Soxman and David K. 

Both Cubs and Sox fans can breathe easy.  Soxman is not jumping ship, changing colors, or jumping onto the 100-years-or-bust-bandwagon.  Nor have I ventured into the Cubs lair to hate on the team with the best record in MLB.  Simply, the Sox signal was overshadowed this week by the “Chicago signal” as Soxman is a guest and we talk (dramatic pause, gulp and swallow), Cubs baseball with the Sportsbank’s resident Cubs expert, David K.  Can he pull it off?
(SM) What player will be key to the Cubs successful march into October? Who will be the player to watch during the play-offs?

(DK) It has got to be the aforementioned Zambrano.  I don’t think you can pinpoint one hitter who will be a key because there is balance up and down the Cubs line-up 1-8 and each of them can come through in the clutch when needed.  If Zambrano is hurt or continues to struggle, Ted Lilly and/or Jason Marquis will vault into the playoff rotation which no Cubs fan really wants, or put a strain on the middle relievers who have not been all that impressive as of late.

The player to watch during the post-season is rookie fire-baller Jeff Samardzija.  Since being called up, he has been nasty and gives the Cubs a vicious 1-2-3 punch out of the pen with Carlos Marmol (who is back to being nasty after struggling midway through the season) and Kerry Wood.  He could easily become the darling of the post-season due to his football playing days at Notre Dame, and could really develop into one of the premier young pitchers in baseball.

(SM) Minor story in the overall scheme of things, but among the Cubs September call-ups was Koyie Hill.  He battled his way back into baseball after he severed three of his fingers with a table saw last October.  While he is not likely to contribute anything with the bat, can he provide additional inspiration for the Cubs down the stretch as someone who fights to achieve the impossible?

(DK) Without sounding completely insensitive to Hill’s recovery, the Cubs don’t need any extra motivation.  That whole “100 years” thing should be all the inspiration Chicago needs entering the post-season.  Plus, I would guess that the Cubs still have a pretty sour taste in their mouths from last year when they were swept in the NLDS by the D-Backs.  

(SM) If the play-offs began today, the Cubs would play the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round. Will we see a return of last year’s hex?  Of the likely play-off opponents (Mets, D’backs, Brewers, Phillies), who scares you the most?
(DK) Assuming the Cubs hang on to win the Central, they are pretty much guaranteed to play the winner of the pathetic West.  Right now, that would be Arizona.  Personally, I’d rather see the Mets than any of the other three teams.  The D-Backs scare me because of their 1-2 pitching combo of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, and an offense that can put runs on the board in a hurry. 
With the Mets, their only scary starter is Johan Santana, who does not seem to be as dangerous in New York as he was in Minnesota.  Their bullpen is a bit in shambles since losing Billy Wagner to injury, and their offense does not frighten me. 


I’m both giddy and nervous at the possibility of a Cubs-Brewers NLCS (which has been my prediction since mid-summer.)  The CC Sabathia-Ben Sheets duo is borderline unfair and the rivalry building between these two teams would multiply by thousands as I would have to renounce my friendship with a lot of people for a couple weeks. 
(SM) Who has been the position player MVP of the 2008 Cubs? While Ramirez and Soriano lead statistically, I believe Mark DeRosa’s career season cannot be ignored (.291, 18 HR, 79 RBI, .866 OPS). He is out producing Derek Lee in 100 less at bats (.291, 18 HR, 77 RBI, .823 OPS)! Plus, he has played very serviceable defense at six of the nine MLB position this year. Thoughts?
(DK) This is a very tough question, because as I mentioned earlier, the load has been shared throughout the line-up all season.  It seems to be a different player or two stepping up every week when another bat is struggling.  If I had to cast my ballot, it would probably be DeRosa.  He is invaluable to the Cubs, not just because of his career year at the dish, but because of his versatility in playing four different positions in the field, and his ability to hit pretty much anywhere in the line-up.  (For the record, you could really make an argument for at least six of the position players.)
By the way, am I high for thinking that Carlos Marmol is the actual MVP of the team? 
(SM) I don’t think it is a crazy notion, as set-up guys do not get nearly the respect they deserve.  We saw how the Cubs struggled when Marmol was off, and on the Southside how our pen struggled when Linebrink went down with an injury. If you were Lou Piniella and the play-offs started today, what would be your rotation?  As much as it might cause “head trauma” to Big Z, I’d have to say Harden, Dempster, Zambrano.
(DK) Thank goodness this decision does not need to be made today.  If the playoffs were to start tomorrow, there is no way Zambrano could be your #1 guy.  24 ER, 17 BB, 19 K, in his last 5 starts (26.2 IP).  He would have to understand and not beat up another Gatorade cooler. 
I still think it’s realistic that Ted Lilly could be the 4th starter if Sweet Lou decides to go down that road.  If Los isn’t 100%, then it almost becomes a must to have a four-man rotation. 
To answer your question, if the playoffs began today I would go Harden, Dempster, Zambrano, and Lilly.
(SM) Final question and it requires you to put on your “fantasy cap.”  The Cubs and Sox defy the odds and meet in the World Series.  Describe the chaos of Chicago and who you would see winning.  A gentle reminder that the all-city series is tied since inter-league play began.  We are tied this season at three games each, AND the White Sox beat the Cubs the last time we met in the Fall Classic.  Thanks for having me as a guest and for not letting the ivy choke me.

(DK) I’ve never heard of a “fantasy cap” and really would appreciate if you stayed out of my personal life, Soxman.
Remember the giddiness I mentioned if the Cubs and Brewers played in the NLCS… that would pale in comparison to a North-side/South-side World Series.  The Sox signal would be used more times during that series than the number of times the bat signal was flashed by Commissioner Gordon in the whole history of the Batman series. 
I probably wouldn’t be able to sleep, would start drinking coffee, and end my friendship with Jason Moe. 
Hell would freeze over, donkeys would fly out of somebody’s ass, and Paul M. Banks would have to give us all bonuses for all the extra hits would get. 
For me, it would be like Christmas morning when I was six, the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, and the NBA Draft all rolled into one.
I would guarantee that would at least once cry tears of joy, tears of anguish, and probably have a full head of gray hair by the end.  But damn would it be worth it.  Cheers to a late-October Cubs/Sox World Series exchange between the two of us.
(SM) Trust me, I want nothing to do with your “fantasy” cap.  Now of course it would be easy for me to make a Cubs fan slam here, but out of respect for “the house I’m eating supper in,” I’ll be good.  Well I guess the best way to close is to suggest that you keep your eyes on that insanity, because they both can happen.
So whether you wear Cubby Blue, or bleed white and black, consider yourself a Cubs gal or have been called a Soxyback.  It’s an exciting time in Chicago as we’re both in the play-off race, Soxman hopes we can both get there, so we can call Paul M. Banks “Two-Face.”  So good luck to the Cubs, as your line-up truly rocks.  I hope that we meet in October, so I can scream “Go White Sox!”
Great Job guys, excellent work by both of you. An All-Chicago World Series? Yes, I just a posting on the AP wire stating that pigs were cleared for take off at both Midway and O’Hare airports. Get your boarding passes now! –Paul M. Banks

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  1. Wow a part 2 already? Great stuff. Soxman–it gets me hot when you ryhme. ;)

  2. Great job on Chicago baseball. You put Bores and Bernstien to shame.

  3. Godd stuff. Let the cross-town series begin! Soxman I love your poetic endings. It reminds me of my favorite childhood cartoon…UNDERDOG!

  4. Dave, you could never lose me as a friend..haha

    I have to many skills to pay the bills…

    Great job you two…You guys are the SHIZ…

    Moe Diddy Out!!!

  5. Soxman quit screwing around with the Cubs and get to the southside pronto!!! We lost Quentin for the Year!

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