The Cubbies Are Coming, Tra-la, Tra-la

Brewers vs. Cubs
Can the Cubs overcome a slow start and overtake the Brewers & Cardinals?

I've seen this act before, and I like the way it ended the first time.

The 2009 Cubs are playing out their season in a way that makes me feel like I'm in 2007 all over again. High salaries, unmanageable egos and great expectations are coming together just like they did two seasons ago as the North Side Nine battled themselves and the rest of the NL to rebound from an early hole the team dug itself.

The comparisons are uncanny:
  • One batsh*t crazy player: 2007 Carlos Zambrano, 2009 Milton Bradley
  • Underwhelming closer: 2007 Ryan Dempster, 2009 Kevin Gregg
  • Garbage middle-infielder: 2007 Cesar Izturis, 2009 Aaron Miles
  • Oft-injured outfielder: 2007 Cliff Floyd, 2009 Milton Bradley
  • Lou Piniella blow-up: June 2007 against Braves, July 2009 against Pirates
It all seemed to blow up in June as the Cubs suffered their first losing month under Piniella. But winning two of three in Pittsburgh and busting out the big bats in a 9-4 win against the division-leading Brewers have this Cubs fan thinking about a brighter future.

Slugging third baseman Aramis Ramirez returns next week against the Braves having been out since May with a separated shoulder. I don't expect him to resume his 40-homer, 127 RBI pace right away, but he will be a steadying force in the line-up as the Cubs bench will get a little deeper as Jake Fox moves out of the starting line-up.

He will soon thereeafter be joined by reliever Angel Guzman, who is the 2009 version of the 2007 Carlos Marmol. Guzman has emerged as Piniella's late-inning go-to set up man and could be his closer if Gregg's tight-rope act wears thin on Piniella.

After struggling to win-over the Bleacher Bums in right, Bradley can endear himself to the Cubbie faithful by jackhammering the ball in July, where he is a career .305 hitter with a .920 OPS.

This division is far from being decided, but if the Piniella could push the right buttons as the first half comes to a close and into the second half, there might be a storybook ending ... until October comes around, of course.