Even I, who asked everyone to at least watch Carlos Silva pitch this year before you condemned him, never expected him to be this good.
The bubble may burst eventually, but the Cubs need to ride Silva as long as it lasts; he had his best game of the year, and possibly the best by any Cub: just two singles, no walks, eleven strikeouts (a career high), and only one ball other than the two hits even left the infield (a sinking line drive that Marlon Byrd made an excellent flat-out diving grab on). Starlin Castro also made a slick play on a sharp grounder by Albert Pujols, but two innings later threw away a routine grounder by Skip Schumaker (later erased on a double play).
One day after Randy Wells couldn't get anyone out, the Cubs shut out the Cardinals 5-0 in front of 40,601, their second shutout in the last three games. The game was finished in a fairly quick 2:32, which allowed the assembled multitude to get out in plenty of time for tonight's Stanley Cup Final Game One.
Go Blackhawks! Although, Hawks fans: etiquette calls for you NOT to wear your RED Hawks jersey to a Cubs game involving the Cardinals. After the singing of "Go Cubs Go", a loud chant of "Let's go Hawks!" came from those who had not yet left to watch the hockey game.
Meanwhile, Silva is probably headed for the All-Star team, if he keeps this level of performance up. His seventh win ties him with Tyler Clippard, Derek Lowe and Mike Pelfrey for second in the NL behind Ubaldo Jimenez, and he had Cardinals hitters either flailing away or looking at called third strikes. Right now, the only Cubs who appear to have a clear track to the All-Star team are Silva and Carlos Marmol.
And, Mike Fontenot -- who really shouldn't be playing third base -- had a pair of triples, including one in the three-run Cubs third inning. Per tweet from Carrie, the last Cubs hitter to have two triples in a game was Jose Macias (of all people) on May 14, 2004 in a 6-1 Cubs win in San Diego. The last Cubs player to have two triples in a game at Wrigley Field was Ryne Sandberg, who tripled twice in a 13-7 win over the Giants on May 8, 1988.
Several of you have called for a Fontenot/Theriot platoon at second base. I'm beginning to come around to this idea. Theriot isn't hitting and Fontenot is, and that would solve several problems. It might require having Aramis Ramirez head to the DL and Chad Tracy being recalled -- then Lou could platoon Tracy and Jeff Baker at 3B, giving him a lot of useful platoon matchups.
So, since that disastrous first inning yesterday, the Cardinals have scored only two runs in 18 innings (I'm counting that as 18 because James Russell did retire three hitters in a row in the first inning yesterday), both on a homer in garbage time off a pitcher who should be on the DL. If Ryan Dempster can throw a solid game tomorrow for a win, the Cubs can win their third straight series against a good team. The Cubs still have some flaws and holes -- but so does just about every NL team, and if they can patch them, there's no reason they can't win the division.
Carlos Zambrano made what will, according to another tweet from Carrie, be his final relief appearance (he got the only hitter he faced to hit into a DP):
Today was Zambrano's last day in #Cubs 'pen. Lou says Big Z will start at "tail end" of Pirates series (Wed). Lou & Larry to finalize on Sun
Finally, I spotted a Cardinals fan today wearing one of those "Got rings?" t-shirts on which they make the point that the Cardinals have ten WS rings to the Cubs' two -- but then claim that "our last championship wasn't prior to man's first flight".
Which happens to be incorrect, since the first flight of the Wright Brothers was on December 17, 1903. Hey, Cardinals fans -- if you're going to make a T-shirt with a putdown of the Cubs, at least get your facts straight!
Off to watch the Hawks win!