When the division playoff series started hopes we high for all of the contenders. But how realistic were each teams fans?
3 of the 4 series were sweeps and the fourth was damn near, so what did that tell us?
Were all the teams that lost really that inferior to their foes? I think not, but what rang true in almost every game was that old cliche, "Good Pitching Trumps Good Hitting Every Time."
When a team like the Yankees, who exemplify the gold standard in offensive discipline and production can only squeak out one win, upset Cub fans should cut our men in blue a little slack.
The Cubs pitching was sub par to the D-Backs period, and that was the biggest reason for their ouster.
Are their problems with the Cubs roster? Of course their are but with no real dominant team in the National League, a roster more disciplined at the plate could have made a huge difference. Still, a lock down rotation must be the first issue addressed this off season.
If the Cubs are truly going to play with the big boys, the team is going to have to go and get another stud starter, preferably J. Santana.
This team has enough big name players that are in their prime that anything short of a fire sale dictates bringing in the best free agent pitcher available.
Their is some salary that could be unloaded to ease our new owners sticker shock with acquiring Santana. Marquis, Dempster, Ohman/Eyre and Jones should be moved asap, in order to maximize whatever value they may bring.
K. Wood throwing 98 MPH in game 3 of the playoff series should be validation enough to give him every opportunity to start next year as the closer, with Marmol and Howry in the 8th. and 7th. inning respectively.
K. Hart should be groomed to compete for the 5th. starters spot next season and if he wins the job move the frail Marshall into the bullpen.
You can't continue to have a team that finished near the bottom in the majors in walks this year have a leadoff man with 130 K's. The first 2 hitters have to able able to work the count and the Cubs have a few options with The Riot, DeRosa, Murton and possibly Fontenot that could help set the table for the middle of the lineup.
There has been much debate on Soriano seeing more fastballs in the leadoff spot and that he is more comfortable hitting there.
To address the comfort issue first. Do any of you give a flying fuck if he feels more comfortable or not? Soriano is being paid top dollar to play and hit wherever he's told to. So just give me a fuckin' break about being comfortable.
As far as Soriano seeing more fastballs hitting leadoff. Wouldn't Soriano see more fastballs with Ramirez/Lee or Lee/Ramirez immediately hitting behind him? Let's face it, over half of Soriano's hits are for extra bases and he could be an RBI machine hitting down in the order.
Of course the roster could be upgraded so many different ways but not to address getting another Ace in the rotation would most certainly be the biggest misstep in assuring the Cubs go deep into the playoffs.