It's too bad the effects of Chicago Cubs' 12-game losing streak don't actually disappear after the team's sweep of the San Diego Padres because the losing streak feels like a distant memory. It is amazing what a few wins can do, not just for the team, but for the fans too. Further, sweeping a series in dramatic fashion --courtesy of Darwin Barney -- makes life just a little bit sweeter.
The only stipulation is the Cubs need life to get a whole lot sweeter if they want to get themselves back into contention. They still find themselves in last place in the NL Central (10 games back). The momentum from the series sweep of the Padres makes you emotionally forget about the 12-game losing streak, but unfortunately the mathematics of the streak don't go away so easily. It's going to take the Cubs a good chunk of winning to make up that ground. Luckily, no one in the division seems overly dominant at this point, so perhaps all hope is not lost.
Since it's only the end of May, it seems much more fun to at least pretend a turnaround is possible, as opposed to just writing the team off. Are you listening to me right now? Do you see how fast a few wins can change perspective? These three wins already have me saying ridiculous things like "The Cubs are still in it!" Oh well, I guess.
While Darwin Barney's home run is easily the highlight that gets the most attention, what happened in the eighth inning is the kind of thing I love to see the Cubs execute. After Reed Johnson singled with two outs, Tony Campana pinch-ran. After I blinked a few times, Campana was at third after back-to-back steals. Starlin Castro --after hitting a routine grounder to third -- somehow beat out the throw for an infield single which scored Campana and tied the game. That series of events set the stage for Barney's home run.
Despite the Cubs unfortunate 18-32 record, seeing things like what happened in the eighth inning against the Padres --things that I haven't often seen from the Cubs over the years-- makes me think that the direction they're going is different from before. Considering that all they have is a lot of losing in the past, "different" is good.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.