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Clinging To First
by Phil Bencomo
Steve Trachsel did his part; the rest of the club did not.
With a quality start in his first outing as a Cub since the 20th century, Trachsel filled the fifth slot in the rotation admirably. He kept the Cubs in the game, leaving with only a one-run deficit, but the Cubs would get no closer.
I went to the game with my dad, and he commented, on several occasions in the late innings, that the team looked resigned to defeat, that the players had given up.
And I couldn't help but agree. Where's the spark, where's the life? What happened to that we-cannot-lose mentality that we saw just last weekend? Instead, the Cubs hit into five double plays. The scoring opportunities were there, but the runs did not come.
And then there was the bullpen that has coughed up six runs over the last two games. I suppose it's a simple matter of regressing to the mean; after all, before this series the broadcasters were touting the Cub bullpen's miniscule ERA over the last 15 games.
And so the lead is now down to half a game. I think Dodger Thoughts commenter D4P last night astutely summed up the current state of the Cubs with this remark I discovered this morning: "The Cubs make a pretty lousy first place team."
There's no denying the truth in that statement. But first place is first place, and I'll take a trip to the postseason no matter how lousy the regular season record.
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Another night game: Ted Lilly vs. Eric Stults at 7:05.