Get Excited Chicago, the Cubs are Poised to Play Deep into October
It’s been 100 years since the Cubs have won the World Series. They haven’t even been too a World Series since 1945. This could finally be the year that Cubs fans have been waiting a century for. This year, the National League has no real elite level of World Series contender. The NL West has been up for grab the whole season by two teams struggling around the .500 mark. The NL East is currently in a three team race that will likely take up to the last day of the season to declare a winner. In the Central, the Cubs have already proven that they are ahead of their competitors. When it comes to playoff time, the Cubs have the four things that every world championship team has: pitching, defense, hitting and coaching.
The Cubs’ pitching staff has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are both legitimate candidates for the NL Cy Young award. The addition of Rich Harden gave Chicago arguably the best five man starting rotation in all of baseball. Come October, the Cubs will have a rotation of Zambrano, Dempster, Harden, and Ted Lilly, better than any other rotation in the NL.
Almost as important as the rotation though, the bullpen has been lights out the entire year. Kerry Wood has stepped into his role as closer and been spectacular. This season so far, Wood has 24 saves and a 2.89 ERA. The late inning relievers have been just as good for the Cubs, specifically Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall. With the latest call-up of Jeff Samardzija, the Cubs rarely give up a lead late in ball games.
The offense and defense has been great all year for the Cubs. Their leadoff hitter, Alfonso Soriano should get serious MVP consideration. He has been arguably the best offensive outfielder in all of baseball this season. Their mid season addition of veteran center fielded Jim Edmonds added some power to the middle of the lineup as well as a good defensive presence in center field. Their rookie right fielder, Kosuke Fukudome has surprised everyone being very good both offensively and defensively. The Cub infield is also as good as any in baseball. Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Theriot, and Derek Lee are all enjoying great offensive and defensive seasons. All three will get serious consideration for Gold Glove awards. The biggest offensive surprise may be from rookie catcher Geovany Soto. Soto has been impressive all year for the Cubs. Behind the plate, he is already one of the best at calling a game. Offensively, he has been one of the most productive catchers in the Major League. From top to bottom, the Cubs lineup has been consistent and is one of the most feared lineups in baseball.
One thing the Cubs have this year that they haven’t had in the past couple of seasons is chemistry. The team as a whole meshes well and seems to play together better than they have in recent years. The big reason for this is because of Manager Lou Piniella. Piniella came to the Cubs as a hot headed manager who pushed his team and always got the best from them. When the organization hired him, they couldn’t have known what they were going to get. Piniella has solidified himself as one of the best managers in the game. He hasn’t been as argumentative as he was in his previous managerial conditions. He also has a great relationship with all of his players. He gets the best out of the players that he puts onto the field. Most importantly, Piniella always does what he has to do to win baseball games, which is why they are in the position they’re in.
It’s been 100 long, long years for Cubs fans. Luckily for the North side of Chicago, the team has separated themselves far from the rest of the National League. If the Cubs can stay healthy, they have a great shot to finally break the curse that has been ailing the “lovable losers” since 1908. Get ready Cubs fans, this year could be one to remember for a very long time.
By Anthony Norwood
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