Hold on Cubs fans. Put the life jackets back and get on board the ship. It is not sinking yet.
After tonight's dominating performance from Big Z, the Cubs are only 3.5 games back in the NL Central, trailing only the Brewers and Cardinals and tied with the Reds. The win kept them from losing any ground.
At times, this season has looked bad, even abyssmal; however, Cubs fans can sit back, relax, and just breathe.
Injuries to Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley, and Aramis Ramirez, just to name a few. Atrocious bullpen. Swept by the Padres. Yes, the Padres.
Time for that annual sentence for Cubs fans, right? Wait 'til next year. Wrong. They are only 3.5 games out.
Ramirez will be back. Both Bradley and Derek Lee are starting to warm up, hitting .400 and .353 respectively over the last seven days. Kosuke Fukudome has been very consistent, and Micah Hoffpauir just seems to get clutch hits when they are needed.
With a lineup like the Cubs have, the runs will come, especially once Ramirez returns. Outside of the bullpen blowing so many games, the pitching has been solid, if not stellar, recently, posting a 2.37 era and .202 batting average against over the last seven days.
Reed Johnson is contributing as well, batting a whopping .533 in his last 15 at-bats. The Cubs are one trade for a closer away from being extremely dominant.
The bullpen should be getting some help from the off day in Atlanta on Thursday. This allows Piniella to rearrange the rotation and put Sean Marshall in the bullpen as a second left-handed option.
So even though things aren't perfect in Chi-town, hang on, this team will be in the playoffs come October.