All was well in Wrigleyville.
Fast-forward to present day and the Cubs are 14-20 and coming off of being swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates (14-19), and about to suffer the same fate against the Florida Marlins (16-17) pending tomorrow’s matinée, as the Cubs try to stop their four game slide.
So one big question continues to pop up in my mind, as I always love to play the blame game. That question is…
Who is at fault for this horrible excuse for a team that takes the field in Chicago Cub uniforms?
It certainly isn’t Marlon Byrd, who I didn’t expect to repeat his numbers last season, but who is surprising me by playing well game in and game out. He is batting .339 with six home runs and 23 RBI.
It surprisingly isn’t Carlos Silva, who could have destroyed the Cubs every five games. He is 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.17.
It isn’t Kosuke Fukudome, who is batting .330 with five home runs and 18 RBI.
Alfonso Soriano? Batting .311 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.
It’s not Tom Gorzelanny. Despite being 1-3, his ERA is just 2.83, and he is striking out 9.86 batters every nine innings.
You can’t blame Carlos Marmol, the up-and-down pitcher has yet to allow a home run, saved four games in five attempts, and has an ERA of just 0.61 in 14 appearances. He would just love to close out more games for the Cubs but he doesn’t get the chance.
So who are the people that are most deserving of the blame, if it isn’t all of these guys who could have easily laid a goose egg this season instead of being the only people playing well?
It’s Ted Lilly. He’s 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA, his second highest ERA since his third season in the Major League.
It’s Carlos Zambrano, the “ace” who has pitched so bad this season that he has earned himself a spot in the bullpen. He would be known as the other Carlos if it weren’t for his nearly $19 million salary. If you aren’t happy about your new bullpen spot, try getting your ERA below six.
It’s Aramis Ramirez, who is batting just .156 with three home runs, and said today that he was his own hitting coach. He may want to fire his hitting coach.
It’s Derek Lee, who must have hired Ramirez as his hitting coach. He’s batting just .220 this season with four home runs.
Although Lee and Ramirez have decent RBI numbers this season, it’s hard not to when you have Byrd, Fukudome, and Ryan Theriot in front of them. Those three have no problem getting on base, and would have less trouble scoring if it weren’t for the production behind them.
With every person who needed to play at their best doing just that, you would expect the Cubs to be above .500 and surprising every analyst who expected the Cubs to be a flop this season. Instead, every player who was actually expected to play well decided to take the season off.
Sorry Byrd, Silva, Sorianno, Gorzelanny, Fukudome and Marmol. You did everything you could to prove your haters wrong. If you keep doing this, maybe those who were expected to play well will use you as an example instead of the other way around.
I’m Joe W.