An almost-sweep of the Cardinals is better than a not almost-sweep of the Cardinals-that's what I always say.
While I would've thought Kerry Wood would have been reliable with a two-run cushion in the bottom of the 9th Saturday, I can live with it-but only because the Cubs won the other games. My prediction of the bullpens being huge factors was about 45% true, with Wood being the factor on Saturday and the Cardinals bullpen keeping the game out of reach by giving up 4 runs in the late innings.
So now that the Cardinals are beatable, the Cubs should feel good about their chances for a second straight NL Central division title, right? Not even close, because here come the Brewers.
The Brewers and the Indians have all but signed the papers to finalize a deal that would send three of the plethora of Brewers prospects to the Indians for C. C. Sabathia.
Oh, ****. Sabathia and Brewers' ace Ben Sheets (if he stays healthy) will make for the most lethal righty-lefty combination in the National League. The Brewers must be convinced they can snatch this division if not a wild card from the Cubs. And even if they can't do it this year, when they get back Yovani Gallardo next year (he was injured in a game against the Cubs), they look to be immediate front-runners.
Not to say Sabathia hasn't had his share of issues this season, but he's had an ERA just over 2 in his last 11 or so outings. He's a real threat and one the Cubs will see many times as they've only played 6 against the Brewers. It figures that as soon as you fend off the pesky Redbirds that now the Brewers are tied with them for second and just 3 Â½ back.
But let's not get out of line here, Cubs fans. The good news is that the Cubs won't face the Brewers until just before the trading deadline, which means the Cubs might have a new weapon of their own come that 4-game series with the Brewers.
Of course I'm writing like that's a certainty when it's obvious that it's not. However, now that Milwaukee has beefed up its arsenal with Sabathia is enough to say that they're going to fight and Jim Hendry and the Cubs need to respond.While Milwaukee has expendable prospects and the Cubs have a much weaker minor league system, that still doesn't excuse the Cubs from trying to make the moves necessary to compete with a rotation as solid as the Brewers'.
In the meantime, the Cubs need to just keep taking care of business and do it at an above-.500 level. With Cincinnati coming to Wrigley starting tomorrow night and Dempster, Zambrano and Lilly all scheduled to pitch thanks to the day off today, the word for this series should be sweep.
The Cubs will also avoid the NL's best pitcher, Edinson Volquez, in this series, so there really is absolutely no excuse. The Cubs are definitely looking to pound the Reds further into the mud with the Astros and Pirates. With the bullpen looking much better after the Cardinals series and the bats just wreaking havoc yesterday, the Cubs have a great opportunity to tear through the Reds and Giants and build some momentum heading into the break.