Especially after Sunday’s dispiriting loss to the Reds — precisely the kind of game the Cubs can’t afford to lose — their win today was huge. As big as the win was how they won it. Not only did the Cubs pick up a half game on the idle Astros, but Matt Clement pitched seven really strong innings in spite of the groin injury.
This hopefully demonstrates that he’ll be willing and able to gut it out the rest of this year and pitch well. The bullpen came in and for the first time in a while refused to make the game exciting. It is tempting now to try to calculate just how many games the Cubs will need to win in order to get the division crown, but it’s a futile exercise.
Frankly, if the Astros don’t cool down for a bit, it won’t matter if the Cubs win every series the rest of the way. They are just red hot. It would be nice to know, for sure, that if the Cubs don’t make it at least they lost out to a deserving team that got hot at the right time.
It would be nicer to know when the first Cubs’ playoff game starts, however. If that requires the Astros to lose 13 straight while the Cubs struggle and back their way into the division, that’s fine with me!
In other good news tonight, the Cubs announced they will retire Ron Santo’s No. 10. In spite of the Cubs’ love affair with their own history, they’ve actually only retired two numbers — Ernie Banks’ 14 and Billy Williams’ 26.
The top of the Cubs’ upper deck is lined with flags commemorating some of the great players in Cubs’ history, but none of those numbers is actually retired. Next stop for Ronnie: The Hall.