After last night’s loss, is it time to lick our wounds and cower back under a rock, or to stand up and fight with the 2004 Red Sox in our head? Where exactly do we stand? Here is what I see, some of which is negative and some of which is positive.

  • We had a game with out Ace on the mound and could have come away with a victory in game one.
  • Our most consistent pitcher all year was wildly inconsistent last night in a game that many deemed as a “must win”
  • Our bullpen has been so so with flashes of good and instances of bad
  • Our hitters are swinging wildly and striking out like it’s going out of style
  • Runners are being left on base as if they’re glued to the dirt and unable to advance.
  • We come home for two in a row and will show the Diamondbacks the Wrigley atmosphere, which may overwhelm them.
  • Rich Hill takes the mound in a real “Must Win” game, but against Livan Hernandez, who has an ERA close to 5.00 on the year and close to 7.00 in the month of September.
  • If we can get by Hernandez, we have Zambrano back on the mound facing the Diamondback’s number four starter.
  • If we can get two wins at home, we’re back to square one with a chance to win this thing.

    Let’s not lose faith, but at the same time, let’s be realistic. This team is capable of winning, but not the way it’s playing. We can win this series, but things need to change and they need to change now.

    Matt’s Notes:

  • Hi, I’m a curveball. Don’t swing at me. I’m looking at you Aramis and Alfonso.
  • Has Lou forgotten how to manage? The past two weeks we’ve watched him yank pitchers without thinking about it. Now we’re going to ride out a rough outing from a starter, because he’s been known to get out of them? Please. And don’t even get me started on the bunting with Lilly and two outs.
  • I feel sick to my stomach knowing our season relies on Rich Hill. I’m confident there won’t be traffic tie ups for the marathon on Sunday.

    Rob’s Notes

    I don’t know how to insert those fancy baseballs but the miserable play of the Cubs has me bothered and ready to rant and let some of it out:

  • Do you dislike Jay Mariotti as much as I do? The guys’s only concern in writing the column is presenting obvious and prevailing opinion, whether or not today’s column agrees with what he wrote yesterday. Finding non-amusing, non-creative nicknames for people (Like calling Rex Grossman the “Rex-Terminator” or Ozzie Guillen “The Blizzard of Oz”…are these things funny) is not skill. It is stunning that you write for a major newspaper. It is stunning that you have other jobs where people are listening to your opinions. His column on the Cubs today said that this would go down as the worst choke in Cubs history. That’s hard to believe. Do you know how much choking has gone on in this team’s history. He mentioned in his article today that it is a terrible thing to overcome that of the 50 teams in history that were down 0-2 only 7 have come back to win the series. To me that is not terrible odds. Think of it this way, the series is designed to have the home team win the first two and the road team to win the second two. Let’s hope…
  • I am still wrestling with Lou’s decision to pull Z in game 1. However, we all know that if Marmol had made it through that inning we all would have been OK with it, whether or not the Cubs lost the game. We wouldn’t expect Zambrano to throw the eighth. And everyone would say “Come on this guy has to pitch again this series” if Z threw like 110 or 120 pitches. Had he pitched the seventh he would have left with 100-110 pitches. What it boils down to is whether or not Lou should have thought that Marmol would shut the D-Backs down. Of course he should have. I know we always look for people to blame, and in retrospect the move looks bad. But if you’re looking to lay blame, blame the stars of the team who cannot drive in runs or move guys over.
  • Doesn’t listening to Dick Stockton make the games seem ten times worse? How bad is TBS doing this series? I know everybody loves Pat and Ron but listening to them drives me crazy. I am sick of hearing Ron’s ” Jason Marquis is gonna pitch well today. I have a feeling!!! Buhleeve me.” But most of all I cannot take it when something goes wrong and someone is screaming and moaning in my radio. I am upset enough as it is, I don’t need an announcer pouring gas on that fire.
  • When I was watching the Padres-Rockies playoff game on Monday night, I was stunned that TBS had chosen those guys as a playoff announce pair, I was watching the Braves-Brewers game on TBS the week before and could not believe that Tony Gwynn was an announcer, now I hear Dick Stockton and it all makes sense. The good announcers are all announcing the NFL.
  • One sentence about Alfonso Soriano…”You are who we thought you were.” I cannot believe that there is so much Soriano love. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! I don’t think I am an alarmist but I think that this Soriano signing will go down as one of the worst signings in baseball history. I hope I am wrong. He cannot hit curve balls, and that continues to demonstrate itself and he might not see another fastball in this series. His postseason numbers are miserable. They were so miserable with the Yankees that Joe Torre dropped him to seventh or eighth in the middle of a playoff series. This series he gets his first hit, and watches it instead of running…winds up with a single instead of a double in an important situation. NEWSFLASH: ALFONSO THIS IS THE PLAYOFFS!!! RUN!!! I guess he probably figured nobody would drive him in anyway. Last night on Erik Byrnes’ triple, Soriano should have caught the ball somewhat easily. But again he horribly misplayed it. Not an error, but a misplayed ball and another costly run.
  • Speaking of which…does Jim Hendry realize that there is more to building a baseball team than offensive power numbers especially home runs? Spending money is not building a team. I hope he begins to get this together. If he is still the GM. If you want to think about how good of a job Lou has done this year remember the team he was handed. Barrett behind the plate (Dropped another ball on a season ending play the other night), Izturis at short (platooning with Cedeno), Soriano in Center…and on and on. I like Jim Hendry, but there just seems to be no plan regarding how to build the team. How could you comfortablt begin a season with the defensive outfield of Floyd/Murton, Jones, and Soriano? And all of these backloaded contracts are going to kill us in the future…I think.
  • Do you think that Lou might drop Aram to fifth as he did when he was struggling earlier in the year?

    Now that I have vented I can rest easier and look forward to a Cubs win tomorrow. Go CUBS!!! Will it happen while we are alive?

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    Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail