Tag Archives: cardinals

Take a walk Harper, Nats: Complaints about Cubs off base

Take a walk Nationals. You are way off base.

During this weekend’s four-game set, the Cubs decided to pitch around Bryce Harper and let someone else hurt them. That someone else never showed up, and the Cubs swept.

Harper walked 13 times in the four-game series, setting a record. He reached base seven times without an official at-bat Sunday – another record.

Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark called the Cubs’ strategy “scared baseball.” Dusty Baker said that fans don’t come to the park to see Harper walk.

How about looking in the mirror, Washington. With their clutch hitter taken out of the equation, the Nats went 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position Sunday. Ryan Zimmerman, batting behind Harper, was 0-for-5.

Every time the Cubs walked Harper they took a chance. Walks are usually bad. The Cubs have the best record in baseball in part because they don’t walk anyone. But they flipped the script this time and it worked.

The Cubs didn’t invent this strategy. And why would they stop doing it when the Nats didn’t make them pay?

The Nationals’ arguments are ridiculous. They might as well have been whining that the Cubs tried to steal bases — because “hey meanie, that’s stealing!” Maybe the Cubs shouldn’t be allowed to throw curveballs because that’s trying to fool the hitters. God forbid they shift the infield or the third-base coach conceals his instructions with signs.

Either make the Cubs pay for walking Harper, Nationals, or go back to tee ball.

You can reach me at Patrick@CubsFanTherapy.com

Arrieta’s dominance evokes Sutcliffe, even Jordan

Think of all the players you root for. Now try to remove some of the obvious homerism that goes with being a fan. After you’ve dug that deep, see if you find a player that inspires or inspired absolute confidence. It’s a very rare thing.

My list is very short: 1990s Michael Jordan and 1984 Rick Sutcliffe.

The way I get to those two is this. Every time they played I felt that they would give everything they had, and the combination of their skill and that effort would be enough to lift their teams to a level of excellence that would almost assuredly result in victory.

It’s such a beautiful thing as a fan. Every time Sutcliffe pitched in 1984, you knew the Cubs would win. He was that dominant. The right-hander went 16-1 in 20 starts with Chicago after a trade from Cleveland.

But even that absolute confidence didn’t last. Sutcliffe went 1-1 in the playoffs as the Cubs got bounced by the Padres in the NLCS.

Jordan was a different story because he took it all the way. Flu, minor injuries, whatever, he was always the best player on the floor. It felt so good to root for a team with a guy who was the most talented and competitive player in sports.

It took a few years, but the Bulls finally assembled a team around him that could meet his other-worldly expectations. When it all came together, the championships rolled in.

After Jordan, that feeling has been tougher to find. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane come very very close, but like the 1985 Bears, who is the one that elevates all the rest? Was it Mike Singletary? Walter Payton? Jim McMahon? For the Hawks, Toews sets the tone, but can they do what they’ve done without Kane’s dazzle? Plus, one great player can’t carry a team in hockey the way it happens in other sports.

But I’ve got to say that I’m getting that Jordan feeling again … with Jake Arrieta. How can I not? He has reached the point where a no-hitter is possible every time he steps on the mound.

Arrieta’s 24 straight quality starts are second most since the deadball era. Only Bob Gibson, with 26, has more. Arrieta has thrown two no-hitters in the span of 10 regular-season starts. In the 24 starts, he has allowed four home runs – and hit three.

I have absolute confidence that when Arrieta is on the mound, he is the most talented, prepared and focused person in the stadium. It’s clear that his teammates feel the same way and that if they do their jobs halfway decent, they WILL win.

What a great feeling.

My only question now is whether Arrieta is Sutcliffe, who had a really great run that never translated to a title, or Jordan, who accomplished every individual and team goal that an athlete could desire.

We’ll see … and what a trip it will be.

Are you absolutely confident in Jake Arrieta?

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Poll: How much does beating Cardinals in April mean?

Yes, there are 149 games to go and everything could go South, but beating the Cardinals seems to mean so much. The fans love it, and don’t you think the Cubs players get a jolt too? Damn straight.

We won’t really know how much this game and this series mean until the season is over, but when we do that assessment we will see tone setting wins, lost opportunities, turning points. What do you think?

How much does it mean to win April series against Cardinals?

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Poll: Cardinals Or Packers More Hated?

Cubs fans hate the Cardinals. They are the division rival, the more successful older sibling that we so badly want to humble when we grow up.

But are the Cards the most hated rival in Chicago? I’m not so sure. The damn cheesehead Packers would surely give them a run for their money.

Both the Cardinals and the Pack need to be taken down a notch. The Cubs looked poised to do their part. And we’ll see soon enough if the Bears are for real.

So who is the most hated rival? You decide:

Who do you hate more Chicago: the St. Louis Cardinals or the Green Bay Packers?

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You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.