Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Take It Easy
2008-09-03 07:55
by Phil Bencomo

A four-game skid isn't something you welcome with open arms, but it isn't the end of the world either.

Every team has its ups and downs -- what team, during the 6-month-long season, doesn't? The Cubs are not alone. The team has not drifted into uncharted seas. For that matter, it's already sailed these rough waters this season, during the second half of June.

Beginning June 17 against Tampa Bay, the Cubs lost eight of 12 games. The club was twice swept in a three-game series, and for the first time in 2008 lost four consecutive games. But it wasn't a sure sign of impending doom then, and it isn't now. Since June, even with the recent losses, the Cubs have gone 35-21. There's no reason to believe they won't straighten themselves out again.

* * * *

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will be examined on Wednesday after leaving his start because of soreness in his right arm.


"He told our pitching coach he wasn't feeling good," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said after Tuesday's game. "He went up with the trainer, and he'll see Dr. [Stephen] Gryzlo tomorrow, and we'll know more by then."


"If he can pitch, he'll pitch, and if he can't, we'll put [Sean] Marshall in the rotation and go from there," Piniella said. "That's the end of it."

Nothing more from the Cubs this morning.


Rich Harden's next start won't be until next week when the Cubs travel to St. Louis, an extended break that general manager Jim Hendry said was planned for when they acquired the right-handed pitcher.

With the Cubs sitting pretty, there's no need to push Harden or Zambrano. It would take a monumental collapse for the Cubs not to make the playoffs. Even a 12-11 record over the last 23 gives the team 97 wins. Maybe it costs the Cubs a few regular season wins, but I'd like the Cubs' power arms healthy and rested at month's end.

2008-09-03 08:02:02
1.   dianagramr
Not to fan the flames of panic, but Will Carroll and others have noticed Big Z's arm slot dropping and his "pushing" the ball in his last few starts.

So, this might be a cascade issue.

2008-09-03 09:46:00
2.   Ali Nagib
The maximum number of games Philly can win is 99, the Cards 98, with each team having 23 to play. Even if one of those teams can play .800 ball and go 19-4 (the best non-2007 Rockies finish you can probably expect over a month), it means the Cubs don't even have to play .500 ball to get to October. Which means that the ONLY thing that really matters at this point is the potential 6 or 7 starts Zambrano and Harden would have in that month.

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