Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
It Will All Be Worth It
by Phil Bencomo
As much as this month and last have pained us as fans -- watching the team lightly touch first place for a moment and then fall from grace soon after -- I can't honestly say I wish it weren't so. The Cubs are in a playoff race, whatever the quality of the division, and no one who calls himself a fan could want otherwise. Whatever angst the team causes along the way will be quickly excused by a playoff berth.
* * * *
It's being billed, and rightfully so, as one of the Cubs' biggest series of the season: Four games in St. Louis.
''We could basically put them out of the way -- and, hopefully, we will. We are not expecting an easy weekend series.''
The Cards have lost seven in a row, but their season has been as surprising as the Cubs'.
* * * *
Derrek Lee is expected to be back in the lineup tonight, says the Sun-Times. The Cubs hit four homers last night without him, but tonight's Cardinal starter, Adam Wainwright, has only allowed 11 home runs in 28 starts.
* * * *
Expect a strong outing from Carlos Zambrano tonight. His last outing (six innings, two hits, one run) was his best in weeks, and his away stats this season are good: 3.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .214 BAA. Oddly, though, those stats do seem a bit paradoxical. Carlos doesn't like fans booing him, but he has performed better on the road, in front of crowds that actively want to see him fail. Perhaps Carlos uses the hostile fans as motivation, which would explain why Carlos showed such improvement in the start immediately following the booing at home. His next home outing should be telling...