Crunch Time

I can see it happening again...

The Cubs are playing like a playoff team should. They're getting timely hits. The pitching is keeping them in games. They seem like they're enjoying themselves out on the field.

Then the injury bug hits. It's not Jacque Jones that goes down. Will Ohman isn't the one ailing. And for once I'm not talking about Wood or Prior.

No, this injury hits them in the place any diehard Cub fan dreads...the offense. It's the Cubs' biggest bopper that goes down. And with that one injury goes the Cubs offense, and then the team. They lose. Then they lose another one. Then another one.

Sound familiar? It should. That's exactly what happened last year after Rafael Furcal collided with Derrek Lee, breaking his wrist and the 2006 campaign.



Wait...you mean that's what's going on right now too?

Look, I'm not going to lie, and I don't think I need to. Anyone visiting this site is probably a Cubs fan (unless you got here accidentally while trying to find Thunder Matt's Salon, a common mistake). Because of this, I don't feel like I have to sugarcoat the fact that the Cubs have a tendency to fold like a card table when times get rough. It happened in Game 6 in 2003, it happened in 2004 down the stretch. It happened last year, and with the Cubs dropping their second straight game to Houston and third overall, it could be happening right now.

That's why it's crunch time.

If these Cubs want the city of Chicago to really believe that we're trying to leave the "Lovable Losers" moniker behind and actually make some damn noise in October, it needs to start now. Right now. Even if we lose just one more game tomorrow, that could be the tipping point. Suddenly, some of the younger players may feel that they can't win without Soriano's huge bat at the top of the order. Say the Cubs lose tomorrow and the Brewers win, and their lead gets back to 2 games...what if it gets to 3? 4? I know that the Cubs would never straight-up quit on us, but these are the exact times that Cub teams can lose their Mojo as quickly as they got it.

We needed to win that extra-inning game Monday against Houston. That would have been the post-Soriano injury game that could have prevented a slide from becoming a reality. Now, we need...something. We need a 20-run game. We need a 15K performance tomorrow. We need Derrek Lee to have a 3 homer game. Hell, even a jaw-dropping double play or huge diving grab in the outfield to preserve a lead would probably do.

We need something. We need some kind of sign that the spark is still there. We need someone to step up and do something incredible. Someone needs to go out there and say "Screw this...we're not going away this time."

We need a sign that this year is not last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that.

It's like the first commitment you get into after a nasty breakup. We're ready to put 2003 behind us and stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We just need to know that this squad is the one that won't let us down.

Today is crunch time.

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