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Late Night Box Score: Dodgers Sweep Cubs, Another Bad Century Begins

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Oct 5, 2008 6:00AM

2008_10_05_lou.jpgIt seems appropriate that the Cubs season ended on an Alfonso Soriano check-swing. It reflected the Cubs' performance in the postseason: half-assed. It showed again Saturday night as the Cubs failed to produce any offense and lost to the Dodgers, 3-1, and were eliminated from the 2008 playoffs. Just like in Game Two, the Cubs fell behind early and didn't produce a run until the later innings and, even then, it wasn't enough.

Rich Harden gave up three runs in 4 and a third innings. The Cubs bullpen held it down, but, once again, the offense was dreadful. The top five in the lineup were 5-for-20 and left ten on base. The 136 Million Dollar Man? Besides striking out to end the season, Soriano went 0-for-5 for the game and 1-for-14 for the series as a whole. If our math is correct (and forgive us if it's not at this late hour), Soriano is 3-for-27 in Cubs postseason appearances. Of course, it's not fair to pick on just Soriano; the entire offense was lousy all series. There's really not much more to say. The Dodgers' pitching owned the Cubs all three games and the Cubs never looked like they were playing with any emotions, as if simply winning the most games in the regular season would be enough to guarantee them those World Series rings.

What happened? Well, for one, the Dodgers are just damn good. They got great performances out of all three starters (who all earned wins) and a bullpen that never allowed the Cubs back into the games. Second, the Dodgers actually kept playing through the last week of the season as their place in the postseason was on the line while the Cubs shut down for the final week and a half of the season, completely derailing their momentum from an otherwise outstanding regular season.

The last reason? It has nothing to do with black cats, billy goats, or bespectacled Bartmen. The Cubs are missing a gimmick. The Angels won a championship in 2002 with that godforsaken rally monkey, the Twins had those towels (which the Dodgers used tonight), and even the Sox had their Blackout on Tuesday in their victory over the Twins (who...didn't have their towels! See???). So what could the Cubs possibly do as a gimmick next season? Our first suggestion was going to be filling the stadium with fans who could actually name more than three players in the lineup but we're not holding our breath. Instead, we suggest those spinning drums that the townspeople used in Karate Kid II. If it worked for Daniel Russo, it'll work for Ryan Theriot.

So that's that. Another season in the books for the Cubs and still no trophy on the North Side. As we're used to saying around here, just wait til next year.

AP Photo