Not that I have anything to bitch about, unless you consider that the first week of the Cubs season included the following:
- Derrek Lee batting .080 in the #3 spot
- Milton Bradley batting .059 in the clean-up spot
- Geovany Soto out of the lineup with an injury after the second game
- Kevin Gregg with a 12.00 ERA and a blown save
- The entire pitching staff giving up 26 walks
If someone had told me a week ago that these facts would be accurate, I would be assuming that I would be preparing to watch a team that would have to consider itself lucky to be coming home 2-4 from their opening road trip.
The fact that the Cubs are 4-2 after taking two of three from both the Astros and the Brewers is a bit astounding right now.
A week ago, I figured the biggest problem this team had as the season started was Fukudome. It turns out that I was reading those particular tea leaves upside down.
So, here I am preparing myself for tomorrow's Opening Day annual arctic freeze that awaits me up in the windblown upperdeck of Wrigley, and I have absolutely no sense of what to expect other than frostbite.
Ted Lilly will get the start, which makes my girlfriend happy. If Ted ever even said hello to her, she would quickly forget that I ever even existed.
The good news for me (and anyone else who is only interested in Ted's pitching ability) is that he is 1-0 and he is one of three Cubs pitchers yet to walk anyone this year (David Patton and Luis Vizcaino, who have combined to face nine batters, are the other two).
The bad news is that he has an ERA of 9.00 and he gave up four homeruns in his last outing. He also was last seen in Spring Training making Mark DeRosa look like Josh Hamilton in last year's Homerun Derby. Basically, Ted has been having a hard time keeping opposing players from hitting the ball 500 feet. When they don't, he tends to get them out, so that's something.
The Cubs will also most likely be fielding a team that is without Geovany Soto (still) and Milton Bradley, who managed to hurt his groin during the one point of the fourth inning tonight against the Brewers where he needed to run instead of trot from one base to another.
Still, they are 4-2 and trailing the hot Cardinals by only a half game. Could the baseball gods actually be intervening to help the Cubs this year? Were they the ones that gave Reed Johnson that boost to help him catch the would-be game-tying grand slam off the bat of Prince Fielder? Are they guiding all of those Theriot slap-shots to open field? Did they really return Kosuke's mojo?
If this was any other team, I would swear that someone upstairs likes them, but since I know that is probably not true, I'm anxious to see if a nice long homestand will at least help the quality of their actual play so that the wins seem more earned than they have so far.
By the way, I returned from St. Louis this evening where I read a very eye-opening piece by Bernie Miklasz that reveals that Albert Pujols is good at baseball. I guess Bernie thought the smartest baseball fans in the world didn't already know that? Rick Telander probably thought it was very well researched.