Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tough Loses Followed by Big Wins

Coming off of a horrible road trip to the East Coast, I started to think that maybe all of the naysayers were right about the Cubs. Maybe they are no better than a .500. Maybe they are flawed and poorly constructed. Maybe this year is going to be another disappointment. Well, shame on me.

After dropping 2-of-3 to the Phillies and 3-of-4 to the Mets (including a 9th inning implosion by the bullpen in game four of the series), the Cubs came home to take on the White Sox at Wrigley. The Sox always play the Cubs tough, regardless of the team’s records, so I wasn’t too excited about the series.

In game one, the Cubs looked good and got help from an unlikely sourse: Angel Pagan. Pagan went 3-5 including a two-run triple and Ted Lilly pitched good enough to get the win. The Cubs went on to win the game 6-3.

Today, the Cubs won a roller coaster of a game 11-6. The best thing about the game in my opinion was that just kept fighting back. The Sox would take the lead, then the Cubs would come back. The win was capped off with a grand slam by pinch hitter Derrick Lee, who has been having trouble with his neck and was not supposed to play this series.

The last two wins are important for a couple of reasons. First, and most obviously, they improve the Cubs record to 20-21 and for the moment moves the Cubs into a tie for second place with the Astros.

But even more importantly, teams can sometimes use wins like the Cubs have gotten in the past two days to build chemistry and possibly build a winning streak. Just as emotional losses can drive a stake into the heart of a team, an emotional win (or two) can motivate and energize a team.

In the very least, the Cubs are going to win 2-out-of-3 from the Sox and they may sweep the series. And hopefully, the Cubs will be able to use the series to build some momentum as they head to the West Coast.


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