While watching the Cubs 7-2 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night, I
had an eerie feeling of déjà vu. While it was in a different city,
with a different player at the plate and a different player on the
hill, I felt I was watching the exact same scenario unfold.
A grand slam by the Dodgers to all but end the Cubs’ chances of a deep playoff run.
In 2008, it came in Game 1 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. The Cubs
led 2-0 thanks to second inning Mark DeRosa home run when the Dodgers
came to bat in the fifth inning. Ryan Dempster proceeded to walk the
bases loaded (his fifth, sixth and seventh walks of the game), before
giving up a granny to James Loney on a 1-2 pitch.
Just like that, the energy was sucked out of Wrigley Field, and even
though the Cubs were only trailing by two runs, you could read the same
expression on everyone’s faces: “Not again.” The Cubs lost that game
7-2 as well, never led the rest of the series, and were swept out of
the playoffs for the second straight season.
Fast forward back to Thursday night. The
Cubs, who just two weeks ago were tied for first place in the NL
Central, have taken a nose dive and fallen to six games out of first
place. They enter a crucial four-game series with the Dodgers, who
their rival Cardinals have just beaten two of three times.
With the score tied at 2-2, the Cubs’ Angel Guzman allows base hits
to the first two batters, and after a sacrifice, James Loney is
intentionally walked to face Russell Martin. One pitch, and déjà Grand
Couple the Cubs loss with a Cardinals win in St. Louis and the Cubs
are now seven games back in the division with just 43 games left to
play. Their once precious lead in the loss column is now a five game
deficit, and the Cubs and Cardinals only have three games remaining on
the slate, and that series is in St. Louis. And don’t even think about
the Wild Card, as the Cubs trail the Rockies by six games with San
Francisco, Atlanta and Florida all in front of them too.
Despite the horrific play in Colorado, the destruction by
Philadelphia and even losing two of three to the lowly Padres,
including another Kevin Gregg masterpiece, I was still looking for ways
the Cubs could make a comeback. After Thursday night, the parallels
are just too similar to last season, so I think it’s time to be
realistic rather than optimistic.