Big Z, Cubs, Finishing Strong!

In his final start of the season, Carlos Zambrano delivered yet another quality start to finish the year on a positive note.  Big Z went 8-0, with a 1.41 ERA in his final 11 starts since returning from the restricted list. 
thumbnailCAHAZ47R.jpg What more does Zambrano need to do to silence his critics?  He has gone out to the mound and quietly gone about his business.  He is calmer and more subdued.  Big Z has changed, not only his mindset, but has changed his approach to pitching.  Instead of trying blow batters away, Big Z has shown signs of maturity as he has learned to change speeds and mix up his pitches.  Whatever changes he has made, it has made a world of difference as Zambrano does not appear to be the same guy that we saw earlier in the season.

Baseball is a game of adjustments.  Big Z has made some adjustments and it shows.  I just hope people will get off of his back.  He has changed.  Give the guy a chance.  There’s nothing more Big Z can do other than come back next year and keep up the good work.  I think it is time for Cubs’ fans to show the guy some love and support.  He has earned it.

The Cubs as a team deserve credit for a strong finish.  Under Mike Quade, the Cubs are 24-12, that is a .667 winning percentage folks.  What more can you ask for?  True, it would be nice to see that kind of effort sustained for an entire season but the Cubs have built a solid foundation going into next year.  Whether Mike Quade returns to the Cubs or not, he has definitely opened some eyes.
thumbnailCACT6MC2.jpg  He deserves to manage somewhere.  I for one, have been impressed.  The Cubs are starting to look like a winner and I am pleased to see the turnaround.  There may be hope after all for the Cubbies!

Marlon Byrd drove in 3 runs last night to spark the Cubs’ offense and Aramis Ramirez hit a grand slam to put the game away.  Marlon Byrd has been a blessing as he has consistently done a great job this year.  Byrd has been a leader who has set a good example for the rest of the team.  He hustles on every play and demonstrates what a player should be.  He gives every game 100%.  THAT is how you make it to the postseason.  If we had 25 guys who played as hard as Marlon Byrd, the Cubs would have something special.  Since Mike Quade has taken over team, it seems that the team as a whole has adopted that mentality.

Aramis Ramirez has had a rough year, battling injuries all season. but has finished strong as well.  With a healthy Ramirez, the Cubs are a far better team.  He is a great player who struggled because of nagging injuries.  His grand slam last night was beautiful.
thumbnailCA6WKXR1.jpg  It made me feel good to see him swing the bat again.  I hope Aramis can get some rest in the offseason and come back healthy.  A healthy Ramirez translates into a much better Cubs’ team.  The lineup pretty much revolves around Aramis.  Hopefully, the Cubs can acquire a slugger to precede Ramirez in the lineup.  Aramis Ramirez is a far better hitter when he has protection and doesn’t have the burden of carrying the Cubs’ offense.  Too much pressure was put on Ramirez to hit the long ball this year.  A-Ram is a much better contact hitter when he isn’t swinging for the fences on every pitch.  Anyway, it’s good to have him back in business. 

The Cubs have been road warriors, winning 17 of their last 21 road games.  WOW!

The Cubs will finish the season today at Houston.  2010 has been bittersweet.  It has been a year of frustration and disappointment, but Mike Quade and the Cubs have given us HOPE and encouragement as we look forward to next season.  Thank you, Cubs, for finishing the season like true champions!!!

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