The 3 game sweep of the Cubs this week in St. Louis was impressive, but apparently not enough to muzzle the fans from the north side. Not only did the Cardinals sweep the mid-week series at Busch, they did it in dominant fashion. The Cubs managed to eek out 2 runs over the course of 3 games, and quite honestly should have been shutout in 2 of the 3 games. If not for a slight let down by Cardinals reliever, Ryan Franklin,who gave up a lone run in the 9th inning on Wednesday night, St. Louis would have had five pitchers contributing to a shutout. Chris Carpenter was untouchable, picking up the win in his first start back from the disabled list. Adam Wainwright was filthy on Thursday, giving up 1 run in 8 2/3 innings of work. The Redbirds pitching staff dominated the series, leaving the Cubs looking like they had left their bats at the airport in Chicago.
Even on the heels of this humiliation, Cubs fans continue talking. One excuse after another to explain their pitiful performance. I hear it at work, I read it in blogs, I see it in the media. Apparently, the cure for what ails the Cubs all rests in the return of their injured players. Ramirez and Zambrano seem to be "the resurrection" that Wood and Prior were supposed to be in seasons past. "Just wait till we're healthy again..." I've heard it my whole life.... I'll just keep waiting. Fortunately for me, I'm a Cardinals fan, not a Cubs fan. I'll give it to the Cubs fans though, they ARE loyal. To a fault.
The difference between the Cubs and the Cardinals is that the Cardinals have proven that they can play through the injuries. Year after year, Tony Larussa puts a team on the field with guys who step up and perform in the spotlight. Larussa has a way of convincing his players that they can win with whatever lineup they put out there. They don't sit around and wait for "their guys" to get healthy. They step up to the challenge and perform in their absence. That is why Tony is always altering his starting lineup and changing the batting order. He keeps everyone involved so that they are prepared if and when their time comes to step up to the plate.
I keep hearing Cubs fans calling it "over-achieving." Maybe some of their guys need to learn to over-achieve? It might save them from the heartburn that they are afflicted with every September. I'll take over-achievers before under-achievers every day of the week!