Monday, September 20, 2010

Greatest! Roadtrip! Ever! (Not counting chest impalings)

So, the Cubs finished their roadtrip 8-1.

I was stunned to discover that this was the best such road trip in Cubs history. They have never gone 8-1 on a roadtrip before. How can that be? I don’t know…but one thing is for sure…this team is playing a hell of a lot better without Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Ted Lilly clogging up the roster.

So does this mean the Cubs are actually a really good team now? Well, no, I don’t think it does. September baseball is always hard to judge. Also, considering there is really very little to play for, and very little pressure right now, it makes sense that this team is playing looser. What this streak does tell us is that there is potential on this team…potential to play well in the future. The Cubs are still missing some pretty key components at this point.

At the same time, the Cubs lost two players for the rest of the season yesterday. Geovany Soto is out of the rest of the season as he will have surgery on his shoulder…which has been bothering him for a while now. Also, as just about everyone knows, Tyler Colvin was impaled by big section Welington Castillo’s maple bat yesterday. That was truly scary. At the same time, people from all around baseball have been warning that this was bound to happen sooner or later. Luckily for Colvin and the Cubs, it looks like Tyler will make a full recovery.

The debate over how safe maple bats are is probably going to escalate now. Personally, I’m not sure what the best thing to do here is, but at some point baseball is going to have to consider moving away from traditional wood bats. Am I advocating moving some sort of aluminum or other metal type bat? No, but there are other synthetic options that are out there that could be considered and it would not only help in safety, but also help with consistency the bats being developed.

Bud Selig has mentioned a number of times that the shattered bat issue is one that baseball is looking at very closely, but he’s been saying that for a couple years now. Being impatient as I am, I guess I expect something to be done quickly…but baseball is slow and very careful about making changes to the game. For an example of that, just look how slow they have been to implement instant replay.

But, back to the Cubs and their 17-7 under Mike Quade. The Q man seems to be making a pretty good case for getting the permanent job next season. I still haven’t sorted out my feelings on the manager job yet since Fredi Gonzalez told the Cubs to take a hike. It is very clear, though, that the team is playing more relaxed and seems to finally be getting some clutch hitting.

Not much more to talk about…but 6 straight wins including sweeps of the Cardinals and Marlins has been fun over the last week.

This week we see the final home stand of the year. The Giants come to town on Tuesday and they have a ton to play for right now. They just took the lead in the NL West over the struggling Padres…but they also have the red hot Rockies breathing behind them. This is going to be a good series…too bad I expect Wrigley to be very empty for the 3 straight night games this week.