Five days ago the Milwaukee Brewers caught the Cubs atop the NL Central. Five days ago might as well be five weeks ago when the Brewers were 5.5 out.
No one quite knows what happened to the “hottest” team since the All Star Break. The Brewers were riding a 8-2 record coming into the Cubs series…They were coming home…all things pointed to a hotly contested series that clearly favored the Brewers with CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets pitching the first two games of the series. Instead the Cubs romped through the four game set winning all four games while scoring 31 runs to the Brewers 11.
Today was the biggest outbreak of the series as the Cubs erupted for 11 runs led by Jim Edmonds two HRs including a grand slam to rack up five RBIs. Soriano and Fukudome added long balls as well.
Rich Harden finally got some much deserved run support in notching his first victory since his trade from Oakland. Nine more strikeouts bring his four game total to 39. He has yet to allow more than one run in any of his starts since coming over to the Cubs.
Soriano blistered the Brewers pitching in this series going 7-16. Since coming off of the DL the Cubs have gone 7-2 while “Sori” has gone 12-35, 2HRs, and 8 RBIs. He has been a clear reason that the Cubs have been able to return to their offensive ways. Inserting him back into his customary spot at leadoff and in LF and getting everyone back into their normal routine has been just what the team has needed.
Next up for the Cubs is a three game set with the remains of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who in the last week has traded away Xaivier Nady, Jason Bay, and Damaso Marte. Easy on paper – but thats why they play the games. It is the first series of a nine game home stand and a stretch in which the Cubs play 22 of their next 31 at home.
Check back later for Out of the Box Game Notes and tomorrow for Pirates previews.