Monday, July 20, 2009

I'd Like to Hear Some Booing This Week

After succeeding at doing what a good team should do to a shitty team (beating the crap out of them), the Cubs travel on to Philadelphia to see if they can do likewise to an actual good team with actual major-league calibre players.

The Phillies are about as hot as a team can expect to get right now. They have won eight straight and twelve out of thirteen. Of course, the teams they have beaten in this hot streak, the Mets, Reds, Pirates, and Marlins, are hardly the elite teams of the National League, so it's hard to say exactly what to expect in the next three days.

I do know that the Phillies will probably not refuse as many attempts to hand them the games as the Nationals did over the weekend. The Cubs spent a good deal of time throwing pitches out of the strikezone to guys like Ronnie Belliard. It didn't wind up hurting too much since the Nationals suck even more than I thought they did on Friday.

The Phillies will probably make the Cubs pay if they insist on walking the few weak hitters the Phillies could send to the plate like Greg Dobbs or Carlos Ruiz.

On the flip side, the Cubs offense should be a bit more relaxed after a power display by some players that have seemingly been running in energy-efficiency mode for some time. Alfonso Soriano heating up will at least make his presence in the fifth or sixth slot in the lineup something to consider as pitchers face the rest of the middle of the order.

Aramis Ramirez may have performed one of the greatest fake lack-of-power stunts since Kevin Tapani batted against the Florida Marlins with a broken arm in 1999.

Tapani had broken his non-pitching arm early in the 1999 season. He was able to pitch, so he did not go on the DL, but he really couldn't grip the bat and swing with the bad left arm. The Cubs had a 4-1 lead and the bases loaded in the 7th inning with Tapani coming up with two outs. Braden Looper, the Marlins pitcher, threw a ball to Tapani and the catcher went out to remind him that Tapani had a broken arm and probably would not be swinging.

Looper left a meatball down the middle of the plate and Tapani lined a one-handed double to the gap and cleared the bases to basically seal the game.

This year, Ramirez went and told the media that he probably wouldn't be hitting many homeruns for the rest of the year because his shoulder is still not strong enough to try to hit homeruns. He proceeded to smack a homerun in the very next game. The lesson to opposing pitchers should be: Ramirez is still very, very dangerous.

Here's hoping our lone All-Star, Ted Lilly, can get the series started in the right direction and give the Phillies fans a chance to show Cubs fans how to really boo a home team.


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