Tag Archives: Sweep

OK Cubs Got Swept; I Was Getting Nuts

I’m fine with the Cubs getting swept by the Pirates. Really.

I’ve been getting way ahead of myself, treating this September like I would when the Cubs might actually have something to play for in the final month of the season. Baez-mania gave way to an epidemic of Soler-ia. I even drew a little cartoon with a bear eating a Cardinal.

Now, I can go back to my mental vacation from stressing about Cubs wins and losses, feel good about the long-term building project and use my sports angst to wonder how the hell the Bears can lose to the Bills … AT HOME.

For the past few years, I have been on a vacation of sorts when it comes to the Cubs. After Theo Epstein was hired and said that this was going to be a multi-year rebuilding process, that they were tearing down before building back up, that the draft and international signings would restock talent, but that we wouldn’t actually see this talent in Wrigley for years, well, I bought it. I lowered expectations accordingly, and it felt great.

Like most of us Cubs fans, I lived and died with each pitch. I yelled at the TV. I saw doom around every corner and booked my tickets to the World Series after a two-game win streak … in April. Basically, I was nuts — when it came to the Cubs (I swear, that’s it). I sounded like I knew what I was talking about because I know a little about the game and I’ve been around long enough to know a thing or two, but I was a transparent homer.

And then it was gone. Theo said that we know we’re going to suck for a while and all the pressure was off. I still celebrated victories but in a subdued “hey, look what I found” kind of way. I got excited about individual achievements from young players like Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, but I didn’t really expect them to win a division by themselves. I felt like help was on the way, but the cavalry was coming from the moon, so they’d have to take their lumps for a while.

But then Javier Baez was called up and he hit balls harder than I’d seen in a while. Kyle Hendricks kept fooling batters. Jake Arrieta was looking like an ace. Jorge Soler arrived and launched bombs and hit for average. Kris Bryant wrapped up an minor league MVP season. Rizzo had 30 homers. Castro’s average was back up. And, and, and … it all coalesced into an excitement I hadn’t felt in a long time. The Cubs could be good, like, soon. The switch was turned back on.

Even when Rizzo and Castro went down with likely season-ending injuries, the switch remained on. See, that’s what I mean about being a little nuts when it comes to the Cubs. I still expected them to own September, to show the rest of the Central what was coming. And in my defense they were playing damn good. They swept the Brewers after all.

Then the Pirates came to town and gave me a nice slap in the face. “Snap out of it, fool,” they said. “You can’t lose guys like Rizzo and Castro and win every game. Settle down.”

“But what about Soler?” I implored.

But they slapped me again. “Wow, you got it bad,” they said. “I hate to admit it, but you’re time will come. It just ain’t now.”

I took a deep breath for the first time in a month.

“OK, OK,” I said, settling down. “When is the draft?”

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.

Insensitive Boston Massacre Headline Here

This series was a Beantown Bonanza for Cubs fans.

Jake Arrieta almost throws a no-hitter, the Cubs assure themselves their first winning series in Boston since beating the Braves in 1915 and then every batter gets a hit in an offensive explosion on national television that completes a sweep.

It’s been a while since an entire Cubs series was this enjoyable. Arrieta had such filthy stuff and pounded the zone so thoroughly that you had to wonder if he was channeling the ghosts of Pedro Martinez or Roger Clemens on the Fenway mound. Forget that the Cubs desperately need starters to step up to fulfill the Cubs promise of tomorrow. As an isolated moment of appreciating the game of baseball, Arrieta’s start was pure eye candy. Of course, we are also all thinking he looks like a big part of the future.

The Cubs followed up that gem by winning an Edwin Jackson start on the road — where he is 1-6 with a 6.00 ERA. Sure, he walked four guys and couldn’t get the win, but it didn’t matter. The Cubs overcame. I repeat: The Cubs overcame. They were assured of winning the series in Boston, something that didn’t happen in their only other interleague visit to Boston in 2011. In that set, the Cubs got smoked in the first game 15-5, won the second game on the strength of an eight-run eighth inning and then were baffled by 120-year-old Tim Wakefield in the rubber game.

But winning this series wasn’t enough. No. No. The Cubs were thinking sweep. Before this series, the Cubs hadn’t swept an interleague series since taking down the White Sox on the South Side in 2007. This is the 2014 Cubs, though, and the game was broadcast on ESPN, so it seemed likely that they’d revert to average and show the nation why they had lost almost 200 games over the past few years.

Something strange happened, however. The Cubs didn’t act like the recent Cubs. They acted like a bunch of guys with a future. Justin Ruggiano blasted a two-run bomb well over the Green Monster in the first inning, and the Cubbies never looked back. Darwin Barney was a homer short of the cycle. Mike Olt hit a monster homer and added a double. It was one of those what-the-hell-is-going-on-around-here type of nights.

It was beautiful. As I wrote here, I’ve got issues with Red Sox Nation, so I’m not going to lie when I say it felt great to have the Cubbies roll into town and take them all. Obviously, the defending champs aren’t the same team they were a year ago. And these Cubs have a 2 percent chance of winning the pennant this year.

That’s exactly why this series was so great. In a season where we’re following players in Iowa almost as much as the ones in Chicago, we’ve got to savor the sweet victories, or the tasty bowl of clam chowda.

You can reach us at Cubs Fan Therapy.