1945. That was the last year in which the Chicago Cubs appeared in a World Series. 1908. That was the last year in which the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. 2003. That was the last year in which the Chicago Cubs made the playoffs.
(The Cubs finished 89-73 in 2004 and still didnt make it in)
In 2003, the Chicago Cubs finished the season 88-74 and took the NL Central crown. The Cubs went into the playoffs and defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS in 5 games. Then came the NLCS. The Cubs battled back and forth with the Marlins, and by Game 6 were only 1 game away from winning the pennant and reaching the World Series. Mark Prior was on the mound for the Cubs. In the 8th inning the Cubs were up 3-0, and Mark Prior had so far only allowed 3 hits. Luis Castillo stepped up to the dish. Castillo fouled off a pitch from Prior that drifted towards the Left Field corner. Moises Alou attempted to make a catch...
You know the rest.
When comparing the 2003 Chicago Cubs and the 2007 Chicago Cubs, there are a few differences.
As far as the hitting, the 2007 Chicago Cubs have struck out much less. They are 7th in BAA when the 2003 team was 11th. They are 7th in Hits when the 2003 team was 11th. There really aren'y any drastic differences. The biggest one could be how this year's Cubs are 14th in the NL in HR's. The 2003 team was much better at 8th. This season's Cubs aren't nearly as deadly at the plate. But then again, the rest of the MLB isn't as deadly. The MLB is projected to be 500 HR's short of 2006's total at season's end. The 2007 team is one of the best in pitching this season, and so was the 2003 team. The 2003 team was stacked with Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Big Z. This year the Cubs are being led by Zambrano, and then have a cast of character's like Ted Lilly and Rich Hill. The bullpen's overall ERA from 2003 was 5.17. (12 Relievers Total) This season's is 4.67. (15 Relievers Total) The starting pitching was much better in 2003 than this season. The 2003 Starting Rotation's ERA was 3.7. This year's is 3.9. The Win Totals from the starters are also drastically different. Much more in 2003. Despite the differences in the pitching from these two seasons, the Cubs are still one of the elite's of the NL. 2nd in ERA, 1st in BAA, 3rd in OPS, 7th in Saves, and 3rd in WHIP.
And, this season's Cubs are 2 years younger than the 2003 team overall.
2007 Chicago Cubs Roster:
PitchersNUMNAMEPOSBATTHWAGEHTWT2007 SALARY 46Ryan DempsterPRR306-2215$5,333,33347Scott EyrePLL356-1217$4,000,00037Angel Guzman DLPRR256-3195$384,00053Rich HillPLL276-5205$400,00062Bob HowryPLR346-5220$4,500,00030Ted LillyPLL316-1190$6,000,00049Carlos MarmolPRR246-2180N/A 21Jason MarquisPLR296-1210$4,750,00045Sean MarshallPLL246-7205N/A 44Roberto Novoa DLPRR286-5200N/A 22Mark Prior DLPRR266-5230N/A 34Kerry WoodPRR306-5225$1,750,00043Michael WuertzPRR286-3205$415,00038Carlos ZambranoPBR266-5255$12,400,000CatchersNUMNAMEPOSBATTHWAGEHTWT2007 SALARY 24Henry BlancoCRR365-11220$1,775,00018Jason KendallCRR336-0204$13,429,623InfieldersNUMNAMEPOSBATTHWAGEHTWT2007 SALARY 7Mark DeRosa2BRR326-1205$2,750,00017Mike Fontenot2BLR275-8160N/A 25Derrek Lee1BRR316-5245$13,250,00016Aramis Ramirez3BRR296-1215$9,000,0002Ryan TheriotSSRR275-11175$390,00032Daryle Ward1BLL326-2240$1,000,000OutfieldersNUMNAMEPOSBATTHWAGEHTWT2007 SALARY 15Cliff FloydRFLR346-4230$3,000,00011Jacque JonesRFLL325-10200$5,633,33327Craig MonroeLFRR306-1205$4,775,00019Matt MurtonRFRR256-1220$415,00029Angel Pagan DLCFBR266-1180N/A 20Felix PieCFLL226-2170N/A 12Alfonso Soriano DLLFRR316-1180$10,000,000
So, it's 2007, and the Chicago Cubs are 67-64 and hold a 1.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a month left in the season and the Cubs only play 3 teams that has a shot at the playoffs. The St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Combined Opponents Record For Remainder of Season: 438-490
The Cubs play multiple series vs St. Louis, Houston, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.
Those 4 Team's Combined Record: 244-285
This shows that the Cubs are going to have an easy September. They play some of worst teams of the NL multiple times and the rest of schedule isn't scary either. The Cubs have a shot at nearly matching their win total of 2003 of 88 wins. Give or take a few games.
What They Have To Do: (To Get to the Playoffs That Is)
Big Z Get It Together: Big Z hasn't pitched well as of late. In his last 5 starts he is 0-5 with an 4.6 ERA. That's a huge difference from his previous 5 games in which he was 4-1 with a 1.00 ERA. Zambrano just recently signed a $90 million exstention and needs to pick it up. He is the leader of the rotation.
Start Hitting: The Cubs are 7th in BA, 8th in Runs, 9th in OBP, 9th in SLG, 10th in OPS, and 9th in SB. Not good. In their last 10 games they have averaged scoring only 3.6 runs per game. And they went 5-5. Alfonso Soriano had been out for the past 3 weeks. Which could be used as hope for things getting better. And really the only reason the Cubs were able to take over the top spot in the NL Central is because of the tanking Milwaukee Brewers."The ship feels like it's sinking, but our guys are in the boat, pushing the water out. We know we still have a lot [of games] left, and it's right there."
-Ned Yost (Manager-Milwaukee Brewers)
The Cubs have 3 big guns. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano. What they need is someone else to start chipping in. While Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano combined have a BA of .304, the other 5 guys only have a BA of .277. (Minus Pitcher)
Win The Series They Should:
That means taking 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 4 against the bargain basement teams. Win those series vs Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Florida. If they can win the games and series they should, they won't feel nearly as much pressure when they do hit those series vs St. Louis and Los Angeles. And especially they won't feel nearly as much pressure in the last week or two of September. Put the blinders around the eyes, dig in, and race forward. Allow teams like Milwaukee to continue to flop. Milwaukee has to play 4 at Atlanta, 3 vs St. Louis, and 4 vs San Diego in the last 2 weeks of the season.
Ignore the Nay Sayers:
What is the media going to be buzzing about during the last stretch of the season? They will be all over the Cubs. Will the Cubs hold on? Will the Cubs choke? Are the Cubs still cursed? Is Bartman going to pop out somewhere? Is the Billy Goat going to be brought to Wrigley? Etc...Etc...Etc... The Cubs need to do what the New York Yankees have done this season. They are in the media capital of the world, and have run through the fire and come out on the other side. The Yankees have gone from no chance to sure bet. They've taken the heat. Torre's job in question. Is Damon going to get traded? Is A-Rod going to stay? Cashman saying the Yanks wont pursue A-Rod. Is Clemens going to hold up at 45? Are they too old? Etc...Etc...Etc... Suck it up, and play ball.
From Then On:
Once in the playoffs, the Cubs have a great shot. The NL isn't as deadly as the AL. The Cubs can handle such teams as Arizona and San Diego. And I even think they could have a shot against the Mets. It's the NL, it's wide open. Don't believe me? The 2006 Cardinals is the perfect example. The team with the least amount of wins of all the playoff teams, that really didnt even deserve to be in the playoffs, made it in and dominated.
Honestly, all I can say for the Cubs is that they have a shot. And a shot only.
I'm partial to the Cubs. I'm a Boston Red Sox fan. But my dad's entire family is from Illinois. My dad grew up in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. So, of course, I'm bound to Da Bulls, Da Cubs, and Da Bears. But not Da Blackhawks...lol