... so the Cubs made it nine wins in a row with a 9-6 win over the Padres.
First, my thanks to BCB reader GoCubbies34, who posted the two overflow comment threads last night after -- well, I could make excuses, but I just forgot.
And second, BCB reader jhj posted, two days ago, this FanPost asking people for their superstitions -- and as you likely know, baseball players have a ton of 'em, and they usually get more intense during winning streaks. I have talked about going to the men's room three days in a row during the last homestand, after which the Cubs came from behind to win all three days. And I think I've got another one going during this road trip -- each of the last two nights, I have gone to sleep after the fourth inning, with the Cubs either tied or trailing, just knowing they were going to win.
Now, tomorrow I am off work and could stay up tonight. So I'll leave it up to you guys -- should I? Or should I do the fourth-inning thing again? And if it happens again, do I carry it on to the game in LA on Thursday night (since I am off on Friday also)?
Such are the things we can talk about during this streak, now the Cubs' longest since 2001. Despite Jason Marquis' strange meltdowns last night (balking with the pitcher on base? Making a throwing error two batters later trying to pick off Jody Gerut, allowing said pitcher to score?), he managed to muddle, again, through five innings allowing only three runs to score, and when Geovany Soto and Mark DeRosa homered off former Cub minor leaguer Bryan Corey in the sixth, Marquis wound up with the win.
The way this team is winning may have been expressed best by another ex-Cub, Michael Barrett, in this AP game recap:
"The biggest thing about that lineup is that they really forced us to come to them," said Padres catcher Michael Barrett. "You don’t see them making too many quick outs."
What a difference, right? You wouldn't see that kind of thing from previous Cub teams, but this one works counts (six walks last night) and when you do that, you increase the chances that the other pitcher is going to make a mistake.
Other notes from what I didn't see: Alfonso Soriano homered again; after a somewhat slow period, maybe he's heating up again; the Cubs stole six bases off Michael Barrett last night (even though Ronny Cedeno briefly reverted to his pre-ONEDEC days and overslid second base for the only CS of the night); and boy, I sure am glad the Cubs recalled Kevin Hart to be their 13th pitcher, because he was so effective last night . Lou has got to manage this bullpen better -- last night, three of the five relievers faced two batters (Michael Wuertz, Bob Howry) or one batter (Neal Cotts). It's bad enough we have LOOGYs, now we're having ROOGYs?
These are all minor complaints, as is the complaint that the starting pitching has to, just HAS TO, get better if this team is to continue its amazing run. Even the noted curmudgeon Jay Mariotti is turning into a believer; he suggests, as some of you have already, that the Cubs inquire about C. C. Sabathia:
The ultimate prize would be C.C. Sabathia, who is Zambrano's equal in girth and talent. Could you imagine those two arms in October? For a trade to possibly go down, the Cleveland Indians have to fall out of the American League Central race, which won't happen as long as the White Sox have old men and stragglers in the middle of the order and Ozzie Guillen keeps getting the red Oz. Hendry has plenty of young talent to offer next month, including Gallagher and Sean Marshall. If Sabathia isn't available, the likes of Daniel Cabrera, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Jeremy Bonderman and Jarrod Washburn might be.
I hesitate to post that because the name "Rich Harden" is in there, which might give a certain poster here a, um, "Harden" yet again, but the one name that's in that paragraph that intrigues me most is "Jeremy Bonderman". Like a lot of his Tiger teammates, he's off to a mediocre start -- but at age 25, he's got enough upside that a deal to a team in first place might energize him. (And no, Jay, Sean Gallagher isn't the guy I'd ship away.)
Onward and upward. Check out the "Best Cub Team Starts Since 1900" box on the right sidebar -- this team is moving up that list.