Somehow the Chicago Cubs' head-to-head record against the rival St. Louis Cardinals feels a whole lot worse than 5-8. Most likely this stems from, prior to the most recent contest --a 3-2 Cubs victory-- the Cubs having lost five straight to their divisional foe. With said victory, the Cubs were able to squeak out a rare win against a team that has utterly dominated them for the last two series.
I'm as excited as any Cubs fan about the direction the team is currently headed, but it has been relatively apparent throughout the 2012 season that the Cardinals are the better team --queue the "We're always the better team" joke that I'm sure more than one Cardinals fan is currently thinking. With the Cubs coming out of the All-Star break strong (sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks and winning two of three against the Miami Marlins), the eternal optimist in me began pestering as much as trying to park at Wrigley Field. However, as is so often the case in my young Cubs fan life, the St. Louis Cardinals were able to shoot the eternal optimist by subsequently sweeping the Cubs and outscoring them 23-1 along the way. So much for that second half turnaround.
The short of it is that the most recent win over the rival Cardinals means about as much as the popular vote in the general election --that is to say nothing. Not only are the Cubs about three light years out of first place, but the Cincinnati Reds apparently don't lose anymore --this is my attempted jinx on the Reds-- thus making the win even more meaningless.
The ironic thing is that the Cubs really had no business winning this game. While credit should be given to Jeff Samardzija for being able to work out of trouble when he had to, you really have to factor in a certain degree of luck when you walk six batters and manage to only surrender two runs over six innings. That being said, the game itself was really quite entertaining. It was a classic Cubs-Cardinals game that was decided on a less-than-ordinary play: a seventh inning, two-out, bunt single by Reed Johnson that scored Tony Campana.
Samardzija had this to say; " I really like how we're playing baseball now. It's fun to come to the park. Everybody's excited and happy and wants to play all nine innings. It's a lot of fun." Though this season is of the rebuilding kind, I'll second Jeff's thoughts. It actually is fun to watch this team. For the first time in a while, the future is looking brighter.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.
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