Cubs 3, Dodgers 1: Chicago Still Not Good, but Lucky

Damen JacksonCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 23:  Jake fox #5 of the Chicago Cubs Celebrates with teammate Mike Fontenot #17 after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 23, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

Well, in the end the Cubs were able to salvage some semblance of dignity on this latest road trip, using seven innings of one run ball, and a 4-4 day from Jake Fox to beat the Dodgers 3-1.

Sigh. A 2-5 road trip. This is probably going to be the week that the Cubs playoff hopes for 2009 died. With the Cardinals winning 5-2 today, the Cubs are sitting eight games out with 40 to play, and there's not much to do but let the season play out.

Wild card? Yeah, I don't think so. I see easily three really good-looking teams in front of the Cubs right now, and they don't look to fade.

It's good to see the team show a bit of heart though. You got a real nice outing from Ryan Dempster today, holding the Dodgers to three hits over seven innings. What can you say? Dempster loves L.A., putting together almost a repeat performance of his May 30 outing against the Dodgers.

Actually, given his now 6-3 career record against the Dodgers, it makes you wonder what the hell happened in the NLDS last year.

But for as much as he was good, the Cubs were equally so lucky. After the Cubs gave John Grabow the ball in the eighth, the Dodgers had every opportunity to come back and win this game, putting two on, with no outs.

But first the Cubs would get a generous call on a Ryan Theriot throw to Mike Fontenot to force out Tony Abreu. He was very safe, but fortune shined on the Cubs, with Abreu being ruled out.

Then pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson would pop up to Theriot, but Ryan would drop the ball, allowing Russell Martin to score. Or not actually, when third base umpire Wally Bell was discovered to have had called timeout before the pitch, sending the runner back to third. Hudson would later ground into a double play to end the inning, with a suddenly effective Carlos Marmol coming on to close the game out in the ninth.

I appreciate a little grit, and some toughness as this team plays out the stretch. I'll take a little luck too though.

But yeah, if you want some good news, here you go. The Cubs are now heading home for a 10-game homestand, with nine of those games against sub .500 teams. Seventeen of the next 23 are at home, and—wait for it—22 of those 23 games are against teams currently under .500. All this leading up to one final series against the Cardinals.

So, this team, healthy as they've been all season, at least once Carlos Zambrano returns Tuesday, will have one last stab at a post-season spot. I don't think that they have it in them, but I get proven wrong on something at least daily. I've no complaints about being proved wrong on this.