Well, this obviously sucks. Last year, at this time, I was hurt. I was hurt because I felt the effort was very poor, and was just full of hope. This year, it wasn't just hope. It was the realistic expectations of a Championship team. Now, I'm just down right angry.
I see some posts saying, "The Umpire Sucked", and "Mark DeRosa sucks", and I wonder just what the hell is going on? I really think of BCB as the most bright, and knowledgeable Cub fans that I know. Phrases like those, even if just venting, are completely absurd. There are many reasons this series was lost, and it had nothing to do with umpires, of Mark DeRosa sucking:
A) Preparation. This team was clearly not prepared to play the Dodgers. Plain and simple. The approaches at the plate were down right sickening. When a pitcher was challenging all game long, the Cubs hitters were taking. When a Dodger pitcher was nibbiling, Cub hitters were hacking. The approaches at the plate were just rotten. The at bats looked like they were facing rookies who had never been scouted or seen before.
B) Mental Execution: We've all heard people say that everything is under the microscope when you're in the playoffs. You damn right it is. You can be the best team over 162 games, when you have the talent to go on long win streaks, or make up for bonehead plays, but in a 5 game series, you better be anticipating the ball hit to you, and playing sound baseball, or you will be exploited. Game 1: Soto up after a leadoff double by Ramirez. Count is 2-0, and he takes two fastballs thigh high, down the middle of the plate. What the hell are you looking at? Those aren't pitches you move a guy over with, those are pitches when you're in that spot of the lineup, you hammer, and produce. And worse yet, he didn't even move him over, because he swung at strike 3 in the dirt. Game 3: Mark DeRosa, Soto on third, 1 out. First pitch ground out to third. Runner stays put. Did anyone note the location of that pitch? Up, and way in. How is that a pitch you expect to drive to the outfield, hit in the air anywhere but the infield, or hit to the right side? Complete lack of a plan. That's just two of many. It makes me wonder what Gerald Perry is doing. Maybe he is saying the right things, and guys just have cotton in their ears. Especially Soriano. I cannot believe that a guy who can't adjust his belt, much less his approach, is making that much money. I'm not even going to dive into defense. We all know what happened with that grease-fire.
C) Attitude: I've never seen grown, professional men, look so uneasy in my life. They were so wound up, and so tight, they couldn't probably tell you where the hell they were. I've said it time, and time again: when you're wound up that tight, there is no "bend not break". The slightest bend, and the whole damn thing shatters. Thats what happened here. I put a lot of blame on Lou for this. He's a Type A personality. He is a tense guy. There is no doubt in my mind, he does not have the capability to get guys to relax. I don't care that they won 97 games. Not one time the whole season, did they have their backs completely against the wall. The two times since he's been here, that they made it to the playoffs, they've looked tight, and lost.
Those are the reasons they lost. Lets not blame it on one guy, or the umpires. We'er better than that. Its terrible. I'm sick to my stomach. This team needs leaders of men. Not 25 guys who look to lean on their teammates when the going gets rough.