Soxman does SportsBank Cubs Weekly Part One

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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) First, thanks for having me as a guest on the Sportsbank’s Cubs Weekly.
 
(DK) It truly is my pleasure.  If this turns out like any of your White Sox exchanges, it should be both insightful and full of responses by a South-side biased fan base, which does not weigh in my favor.  Let’s get serious…
 
(SM) Regardless of the team you cheer for, you have to tip your cap to the Chicago Cubs.  As of September 2nd they have the second best record in MLB at 85-53.  It’s been more than 60 years since the Cubs entered the post-season as the team to beat.  The last time was 1945. Yet the Cubs play 13 of 19 on the road to finish the regular season, all against teams with records above .500.  Six games against Milwaukee and four games against the Mets.  Will the pressure get to them?
 
(DK) Glad to see you don’t wear blinders with your Soxman costume and can give credit where credit is due. September is BRUTAL for the Cubs.  Besides the ten games you mentioned against the Brewers and Mets, Chicago has a nine-game road trip at Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Houston, as well as three against the Cards at Wrigley.  

However, this year’s team doesn’t seem to be phased by pressure and I don’t expect them to fold down the stretch, though they sure seem like they are trying to give the division away with their recent play.  If anything, the Cubs will have a true feeling of October baseball throughout most of the month of September and that could actually serve as an advantage.  There is enough of a cushion in the NL Central race where there shouldn’t be any sense of panic unless the bottom really drops out in the next couple of weeks. Imagine if that final series in Milwaukee were for the division crown though, how intense would that be leading into the playoffs?
 
(SM) It would be intense indeed!  While I don’t hate the Cubs, I love the things that the small-market Brewers have done and I’m thrilled that they will likely make the play-offs as well.
 
Speaking of intense, let’s focus on the Cubs most intense player for a minute.  How concerned should Cubs fans be with “Ace” Carlos Zambrano? He has posted an 8.72 ERA over his last four starts with 14 BB and just 16 K. Steve Stone has said his arm motion has been horrible and that he may be masking an injury.  The Cubs skipped his last start with “tired arm.”  As they are a near-lock to make the play-offs, would it not make sense to shut him down for another start or two to be re-charged for the play-offs?  Spending some time on the DL last season appeared to rejuvenate him during the stretch run.

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(DK) It’s rather terrifying when you hear that the ace of your team has a “dead arm” heading into the stretch run of September.  I would trust that the Cubs management would be smart in their handling of Los as to avoid a ’03 situation where Mark Prior and Kerry Wood threw way too many pitches ultimately ruining what could have been Hall of Fame careers for both pitchers.  If Big Z were truly injured, there would be no reason to have him start like the club did Tuesday night against Houston.  It was encouraging to see him on the mound, even though you could still tell that he didn’t have his best stuff.  To put it bluntly, I’m concerned and would feel much better if it were a groin injury rather than a “dead arm.” 


 
(SM) Yeah, but he was pulled from that game and admitted he’s in pain.  He’s set to have an MRI today, so Cubs fans should hold their collective breath. 

Hey guys, for an update I just pulled this from the AP Wire, so when I post this The Sports Bank readers are up to the minute caught up with the news:

 “Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano has right rotator cuff tendinitis and inflammation, an MRI confirmed Thursday, a potential obstacle to Chicago’s chances of winning the World Series for the first time in a century. Zambrano received a shot of anti-inflammatory medication and hopes to return to the rotation next week.

General manager Jim Hendry said Zambrano hopes to start throwing again when the team begins a series in St. Louis on Sept. 10. If all goes well, Zambrano would start at Houston in the following series.”

–Paul M. Banks

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(SM) Where would the Cubs be without Rich Harden?  He leads the team in ERA (1.99) WHIP (1.05), and Ks (167).  His acquisition looks like a steal thus far as none of the players Jim Hendry gave up for him are performing or appeared to fit into the Cubs long-term plans.

(DK) Quite frankly, we’d still be in first place.  Harden has been unbelievable since Hendry stole him from Oakland, but he has also gotten a lot of run support in his starts (the Cubs are averaging more than 6 runs per game when Harden takes the hill).  Chicago is 7-2 in his starts and, at worst, would probably be 5-4 without him in that role.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I feel 100 times better heading into October with him on our team.  I love what Lou Piniella has done in terms of protecting his oft-injured arm.  He hasn’t thrown more than seven innings in a start and only topped the 100 pitch mark four times.  The fact that he is more than just a three-month rental makes the deal even more one-sided and he will undoubtedly be a major factor if the Cubs are going to make a run in October.


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Comments

  1. Wow, Soxman talking Cubs. is that like one of the biblical seven seals that the world is coming to and end?

  2. David K needs to stop drinking the cool aid. Without Big Z and Rich Harden the Cubs will not make it past the first round of the play-offs. Much like the sox will not likely make it through the play-offs.

    Good part 1 though

  3. Bleeding Cheese says

    Wow. You really do know all about baseball. You have inspired me to love the Jets as well as the Packers. :)

  4. Good exchange! I hope I can do as good next week. Even though I’m a Sox fan. DeRosa…hottie. What do you think about him Soxman as a player??

  5. A Cubs article I can actually bare to read. Not bad. The Cubs would be out of first without Harden though.

  6. Sox man covering the Cubs? Is it April 1st?

    Great to see you expanding your horizons Soxman. Hopefully we see you this homestand!

  7. Like I said in the rap battle earlier in the season. The guy knows baseball.

  8. Awesome exchange actually. You guys have pretty good writing chemistry. Is David K friends with the man behind the mask?

  9. I agree, kinda like a Mike and Mike thing. LOL

  10. Wrigley Field is still a muther f!#$ing piece of s–t man. There are f!@$ing rats bigger than dogs, its darker than the f!#$ing hair on Uribe’s a–

    But I like big z.. that kid play with f!#$ing passion.

  11. Matt Saracen QB#1 says

    Go Cubbies! Good to see ya here Soxman

  12. The Cubs appear to be really struggling right now. Luckily the Brewers are as well. Excellent write-up showing non-bias Soxman.

  13. Dave, you must have stayed at Holiday Inn Express last night..

    That place does wonders..

    Moe Man Out

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