the Cubs Carlos Marmol had held on to the lead against the Cardinals on Saturday, September 24, or better yet, held on to win at least one of the two Pujols walk-offs in June. Then maybe, the Braves would have held on long enough to win the Wild Card. Now, you and I have to sit and hope that the Cardinals lose a "best of" series before they win 11 more games.
Up until the last week and a half before the end of the season, I wasn't even thinking about seeing the Cardinals at all in the playoffs. I guess we gave the Braves some Cubbie mojo when we started rooting for them to hold onto the lead in the Wild Card. I say "Cubbie mojo" because the way the Braves were losing was a result of not hitting for power, and swandering scoring opportunities. Well, I'm sitting here complaining about all this but imagine what it would feel like right now to be a Braves fan (or a Red Sox fan for that matter). I mean the Braves had been leading the Wild Card since the Yankees were in Wrigleyville back in June. To lead the Wild Card for as long as the Braves and Red Sox did in 2011... only to be eliminated from the playoffs on the last bloody day of the season (I imagine there was more tear shed than blood shed that day), the anguish will resonate with Braves and Red Sox fans for as long as the gates beneath the stadium marquee remain locked until next spring.
Take it from any Cubs fan, we know. All of us can relate to that feeling of coming "oh so close", time and time again, only to have all hopes and dreams in, out, extinguished, evaporated, gone, seemingly in the blink of an eye, without a trace. These summer heroes uniformed in beautiful bright white double-knit polyester, the men of your beloved ballclubs, make their way off of America's favorite back yards, capped heads tilted down, into the dugout, through the tunnel, fading out of sight for the final time, leaving nothing behind but a deceased dream with their fans. Leaving their fans with more questions than answers to explain what just happened with what was the dream. The only answer that seems to be clearly evident in the moment, is the feeling of betrayal. It just doesn't seem fair.
One can say it's just a game, but when one has invested their heart, their soul, their time, their emotions, their passion and most certainly their money into this "game", over a course of time, this investment makes it more than just a game to simply observe happen, it makes it a way of life.
I can say one thing about this "game", this "game" has provided me, and I imagine you as well, with some of the most spontaneous moments of joy one may experience in a lifetime. These moments of joy have made our investment in this "game" become the drive, the motivation to experience it again. This "game" has provided me, and I imagine you as well, with some of the most spontaneous moments of sorrow one may experience in a lifetime. These moments of sorrow have made our investment in this "game" become the drive, the motivation to pick it up, and try it again for future endeavors.
Oh geez! I almost forgot to talk about how our Cubs did this September! I guess my thoughts above was the result of watching a night of baseball like we watched on September 28. So much for the addition of the Wild Card race in 1995 huh?
Congratulations to Starlin Castro on the achievement of a 200-plus hit season and a 40 game on base streak. Also, Carlos Pena drew over 100 walks this season. All those hits and all those walks, only to be left stranded somewhere between first and third base. Speaking of Starlin Castro, he led the Cubs with a .324 avg, 34 hits, 14 runs, and 105 at-bats in September. Carlos Pena led the Cubs with a .974 OPS, 4 home runs, 22 walks, and oh yeah, he led the Cubs with 27 strikeouts in September. Conclusion: Carlos Pena really did come as advertised. One thing I would like to say about Alfonso Soriano is, despite the razzing he's taken, he led the Cubs with 20 RBI in September. Soriano has made his mistakes, sometimes in bonehead fashion, but he also always seems to come up with the BIG home run. However, I am not at all trying to say that Soriano is some kind of superstar and everyone is over looking it. I am just saying he has answered the call at times to deliver the big hit.
However, Reed Johnson struggled with a .182 avg in 44 at-bats. Marlon Byrd hit .182 with 77 at-bats. I don't really want to look more into who struggled because that gets me down too much! Let's move on to pitching!
Matt Garza went 3-0 with a 2.04 ERA in September. Ryan Dempster went 0-4 with a 4.97 ERA in September. Comparing some relievers with Carlos Marmol: in 12 innings pitched, Sean Marshall posted a 0.75 ERA, 10 hits, 2 runs (1 unearned), 0 home runs, 4 walks, 16 strikeouts, a .233 opponent batting average, and 2 for 2 in save opportunities. In 12.2 innings pitched, Jeff Samardzija posted a 1.42 ERA, 10 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 home run, 5 walks, 10 strikeouts, and a .222 opponent batting average.
Here's Carlos Marmol in September: 11.2 innings pitched (that's why I picked Marshall and Samardzija because all three pitched almost the same amount of innings), 5.40 ERA, 7 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 2 home runs, 12 wlaks, 20 strikeouts, a .167 opponent batting average, and 3 for 5 in save opportunities. With that said, if the next manager is going to stick with Marmol, I think he should get Marshall or Samardzija warming up before Marmol throws even one pitch on the mound. As soon as Marmol shows any inconsistency in pitch location, get him out of there. Or... just... trade... him... too late... no more trade value left in Marmol. Oh poo.
Before I get to the poll there's a few things I would like to say.
First, I have enjoyed visiting this online community of Cubs fans every day when I get on the computer. I have officially made this site my homepage. Through thick and thin, Al Yellon finds a way to turn any type of Cubs play into an interesting story to read. Also, the other posters here always find a way to convey their sens of humor through the comment sections. And some of the humor on the comments are just spot on and perfect, especially the picture comments. I never thought I'd laugh so hard at reading a comment on a computer screen, but you guys make it happen. That's just some of the many qualities that makes this site happen.
Second, for anybody who takes the time to read, comment, and vote on these monthly posts and polls every month, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Even if it's just 50 people, you have no idea how much I appreciate it. Thank you. It's what motivates me to do it again the next month.
Now, below is a list of 12 Cubs victories from September 2011. Which Cubs win is your favorite win? Happy voting, and I'll see you again next month for the "Cubs 2011 Season Recap. Vote for Your Favorite Win." FanPost.