Instead of braggin’ about how I haven’t lost an ATS play since Hump Day or lambaste the White Sux for embarrassing themselves worse than a Bears’ LB in a contract year without a chauffeur, I promised my Cubbie Homeboys I’d eventually write some dialogue on their playoff push. Of course, I’ll still have my MLB picks and favorite swimsuits following the article and plenty of fantasy football action tomorrow, but today, it’s time to drink the Wrigleyville Kool-Aid that my friend Ronnie Woo-Woo mixed-up…
UNFORESEEN CUB HEROES TO MAKE SEPTEMBER PUSH
By: Chicago Awful Sox fan
On the drive into work or relaxing in-front of the tube late night, it seems each and every diamond guru is confident the Northsiders will capture the division. Considering the Brew Crew has survived without anybody stepping-up in the rotation lately or that the defending champs are a series sweep away from taking the top-spot, let’s just say I’m not ready to order the victory champagne just yet. While the experts are correct when they say the Cubbies have the best club on paper and have avoided the major injuries to the pitching staff, this late in the season--especially in a three-horse race, your Insideplay’s guru will tell you it simply comes down to who gets hot.
While the Wrigleyville faithful will say D. Lee is due for some trips over the ivy or that Big Z will once again find his wiffle-ball heat, each team has their big-boys that can carry a squad. So look to those unexpected heroes to step-up as the season comes to a close. Especially when these three play each other, they won’t let Aramis, Albert, or Prince beat them. Trust me, the boys that will determine if there’s a postseason in Chicago will be at the bottom half of line-up or the back-end of the bullpen. With that, let’s take a look at the three potential Cubbies that could lead us into October for some extra special baseball:
2-4 3.24 ERA 21 Saves 2 Blown Saves
With Carlos Marmol absolutely dominating hitters as the best set-up man in the game, the pressure will continue to mount for our veteran, but somewhat new closer. While he talks a smooth game and has been extremely consistent this season, the former starter needs to be almost perfect in September to ensure a Cub postseason experience. Blown saves in a playoff race not only harm a closer’s psyche, they also seem to make hitters grip-it that much tighter and try to do too much. Dempster’s emergence as a closer after recovering from major elbow surgery a couple year’s ago is an awesome story, and I’d love to keep reading once October comes around.
.270 5 HRs 47 RBIs 40 Rs
The former Marlin…wait, never mind…has become the Jekyll & Hyde of the Wrigleyville faithful. For some reason, the baseball gods always seem to put Jones in situations that change the flow of the game. After a horrific start, the former White Sox killer had a remarkable stretch in late July and most of August to carry the club in Alfonso Soriano’s absence. Especially playing out of position in CF, the ball never seems to be hit right at him and often leads to a fun adventure for the Caly kid and the Bleachers Bums. You know and I know the next time the Cubs are down 1 in the 7th with runners on the corners, Jacque will be striding to the dish and the baseball gods will be watching!
32 games w/ CHC: .298 1 HR 15 RBIs 14 Rs
The longtime Pirate and mid-season acquisition from Oakland has finally found the slap/clutch swing that made him a fan favorite among the lunch pail crew in Pittsburg. While the 33 year-old backstop will continue to do a solid job of keeping the youngsters on the staff confident and the veterans happy, he’s definitely a liability with almost anyone on-base and must do a better job of making sure the pitchers keep the runners close. With catcher Henry Blanco back from the DL some might think Kendall would get a few more days to rest his banged-up body, but if you know anything about the San Diego kid…he’ll make sure Lou has him penciled in almost every game. Just like his time in Oakland this year and his early stint here, when he struggles…the team struggles. When he’s leaning into pitches and slapping it between 3rd and Short, it’s a sign to start chilling the champagne.
Everybody knows Chi-Town in October is a lot more fun when the turnstiles are moving in one of our two ballparks. And if all three of these veterans step-up their game, I expect to actually see a few Kendall, Dempster, & Jones jerseys at the ballparks in 2008
TAMPA BAY D-RAYS @ CHICAGO AWFUL SOX
After getting outscored 46-7 in a 4-game set with the Red Sox and Ozzie now experimenting with infielders in the outfield, I might bet against my favorite team from here on out. As if it’s not bad enough, the line on today’s game is even…can you even comprehend that. The frickin’ D-Rays are playing in Chicago and are sending a Edwin Jackson to the mound (4-12, 5.49)…and the spread is frickin’ even…WHAT HAVE YOU DONE KENNY WILLIAMS!!! As for the my gambling analysis, Jackson actually has pitched well lately (2-1, 1.29 in his last 3 starts), they just won three in-a-row against the A’s, and will be facing arguable the worst pitcher in all of baseball (Jose Contreras 6-16, 6.18). On a positive note for the White Sux, we only owe Jose around 20 million for the next 2 years! Hey, if they’re going to suck, I’m at least gonna win some money on them…D-Rays by 3-6 runs