- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TAKE YOUR PICK » ARE THE CUBS FOR REAL?

Please, everyone knows the franchise is cursed. It has been 100 years since the Cubs won a World Series, and this season’s Wrigley bunch is beginning to break down. Ace Carlos Zambrano (strained right shoulder) and superstar outfielder Alfonso Soriano (broken hand) are on the DL, and it’s only a matter of time before Kerry Wood joins them.

Even without Zambrano and Soriano, the Cubs swept the White Sox over the weekend and now boast the best record in the majors. Chicago has won 14 straight in Wrigley and finally has both the pitching and hitting depth to flourish even in the face of key injuries.

Call us crazy, but the Cubs are the team to beat this season and not just in the National League. When Zambrano returns, Chicago will boast the perfect postseason pitching formula of twin aces Zambrano and Ryan Dempster (9-2, 2.76), setup man supreme Carlos Marmol and born-again closer Wood (19 saves). Offensively, the Cubs have four bona fide stars in Soriano, Aramis Ramirez (.299, 14 HRs, 53 RBI), Derrek Lee (.294, 15 HRs, 48 RBI) and Ryan Theriot (.310, 86 hits). Not even Boston can match that superb blend of pitching and pop.

TWT TEN » RAINMAKERS



He is the man behind the Trojans’ recruiting machine.

Nobody has landed more blue-chippers.

Midwest recruiter never takes a year off.

Tigers running backs coach personifies cool.

Gators’ defensive coordinator has been a force for a decade.

Solid at Maryland but now a star with Zook for Illini.

So convincing he can sell Nick Saban.

Florida’s former closer now wears the other orange.

Quietly becoming the dean of ACC recruiters.

Left Tennessee for the offensive coordinator job in Stillwater.

HE SAID WHAT?

“Does it hurt? Of course it does. Tiger Woods is our tour.” — PGA Tour veteran on Woods’ impending season-ending ACL surgery

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