August and Everything After

August 28, 2008

Big weekend series at home for the Cubbies to close out the month. The Philladelphia Phillies are coming to down for a four game set that has playoff implications for both the NL Central and NL East. In fact this whole weekend could be the weekend that everything starts getting sorted out in the National League.

Here is the NL East Picture:

  • NYM Lead the Division
  • PHI Half a Game Back
  • FLA 5.5 Back

Here is the NL Central Picture:

  • Cubs Lead the Division
  • Milwaukee 6 Back
  • Cardinals 9.5 Back

Here is the Wild Card Picture

  • Milwaukee Leads the Race
  • St Louis only 3.5 Back
  • Philadelphia 4 Back

Now consider the crop of games this weekend…

  • Mets @ Marlins
  • Phillies @ Cubs (4 Games)
  • Brewers @ Pirates
  • Cardinals @ Astros

This is a make or break weekend for the NL East teams as you can and should expect the Brewers to sweep the Pirates giving them a lock on the NL Wild Card. That leaves the Mets, Marlins, and Phillies all vying for one playoff spot. The Mets are in the drivers seat on this one. If they take care of business against the Marlins they should maintain the division lead. The Phillies however, with a series win in Chicago can hope that the Marlins take out the Phillies (which is a good possibility) and they can leap frog over the Mets to take the division lead. We are getting a very dangerous team this weekend.

I could analyze the ever loving shit out of the NL East race and how fascinating it all could be….but this is a Cubs site…and I am not going to waste anyones time on the magnitude of the implications of the pontificating and conversating I could editorialize in this column. I think by just laying all of the games and standings out there that you can agree that this could be the weekend where teams can look back on and say “thats where it all turned around for us” or “thats the weekend weshit the bed.”

We have our four best pitchers going this weekend…at home.

  • Game One = Dempster v. Hamels
  • Game Two = Harden v. Blanton
  • Game Three = Lilly v. Meyers
  • Game Four = Zambrano v. Moyer

Daily previews and reviews coming….in game threads….just in case anyone actually stays here to chat after getting the previews.


Cubs @ Brewers Series Preview

July 28, 2008

Many pundits are acting as if the winner of this series will go on to capture the NL pennant. Reality is, the winner of the final ten matchups between the Cubs and the Brewers will likely determine only who wins the division, and who gets the wild card birth.

I am not downplaying the signfigance of those coveted two spots in the “There’s Only One October” sweepstakes…The Cubs have been as close to unbeatable at home as you can get – But home field advantage has been eqaully as good for virtually the entire NL…in fact, only three teams the Brewers, the Cardinals, and the Phillies have winning road records. Among contenders, the Cubs have the worst road record at eight games below .500…but because of their home record being 25 games over .500, they own the best record in the NL heading into this series. The pressure to win the division and retain home field advantage throughout the playoffs is often the subject of the talking heads on BBTN, but in the year of the home team in baseball, I do not think it has ever been more prevalent.

We get three “nationally” televised games from this series..Tuesday and Thursday on WGN and Wednesday on ESPN. There are way to many story lines to covr for the series, which is why we wil be previewing each game individually. Looking ahead…here are the matchups for each game:

  • Game One: Lilly v. Sabathia
  • Game Two: Zambrano v. Sheets
  • Dempster v. Parra
  • Harden v. Bush

Game two – the matchup of aces Zambrano and Sheets should be the highlight of the series with Lilly v. Sabathia being a close second. The other two games clearly favor Cubs pitching, but this rivalry is beginning to turn into one of those Cowboys v. Redskins NFL games…No matter the strength or record of th other team, you can throw out the numbers and expect the unexpected.

Is Sabathia due for a letdown? 6-8 with a 3.83 with the Indians and now 4-0 with a 1.36 with the  Brewers? He isn’t going to go undefeated and pitch complete games every outing is he? We will check back in our preview later today.