For as much as I expected the Cubs to finish the season strong, it wasn't going to make up for the fact that a number of teams in front of them in the Wild Card chase are not only better composed, but are actually riding pretty good hot streaks.
You watch the Rockies play, and realize that the likelihood of a September fade is unlikely. Yesterday, the Rox took another step toward the playoffs with a 7-5 win in 11 officially ending the Cubs hopes in the process.
We can now all start the wait till next year process.
Fortunately, we at least got treated to some amazing baseball last night, as Ryan Dempster went the distance in beating the Pirates 6-0.
Ted Keith recently described Ryan Dempster as one of the worst free agent signings of last offseason.
Hmm...Well, that's now 11 wins, a 3.50 ERA, 195 (likely to finish above 200) innings, and a 1.30 WHIP. Now, it was bad enough that Mr. Keith appears to have never actually picked up a ball, let along played a sport. But if this is his definition of free agent bust, then I really have to ask what is he doing covering sports for SI.
Try Carlos Silva, Jason Schimdt, Barry Zito, Andruw Jones, or Gary Matthews, Jr. if you want examples of a bust.
But back to the game, where "The Bust" goes out and dazzles the Pirates for most of the evening, throwing 120 easy pitches in the win. There were a lot of first pitch strikes; Ryan was very sharp with the off speed pitches, and never once got into a high-stress situation.
Just some good catch-and-toss, in front of 35,308 chilled fans.
Quite the contrary to the Pirates and Kevin Hart, who never could quite get out of their own way.
Poor Kevin is almost a shell of his former self. That sharp slider he was throwing when he came up in 2007 is completely gone. The breaking ball is a mess, and he's overthrowing in an attempt to stay in the low 90's with the fastball.
It wasn't pretty, especially with the Cubs knocking him around from jump. They'd score three in the first, all but batting around in the inning. Jeff Baker would cap things off with a two-RBI double.
A comedy of errors and bad execution by the Pirates would lead to another trio in the fourth, when a Delwyn Young error that should have been an inning-ending double play, extended the inning, and a Derrek Lee two-RBI single smacked off of Luis Cruz, all but put the game out of reach.
The route was on, and frankly, the Pirates didn't look like they wanted to put up much of a fight.
But hey, we've known this day of disappointment was coming for awhile, so we'll just have to deal. But if you want something to perk you up, with the win Tuesday, the Cubs are assured of their first stretch of three consecutive winning seasons since 1970 - 1972. Before this, I've never enjoyed a perennial winner on the North Side, let alone a perennial contender.
This ain't the Mets. You don't have to blow them up to get them back in the mix.
We'll see better days next season.
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