Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What is there to say?

One run loss.....sound too familiar. Hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this one, lots of guys left on base, overuse of the bullpen cause of Clement's injury, it all adds up to a very, very painful loss. The race got a little tighter last night as the Astros and Marlins won and we have a legitimate 5-6 team race (count the Dodgers in if you'd like). Here's my breakdown...

Cubs 74-61 (27 games left). They should win this, but of course they should be 10 games up right now. Nagging injuries to Sosa, Ramirez, Garciaparra, & Clement could make all the difference. Personally this is the time to just suck it up.
Key games - 6 left versus Florida, 3 versus Braves (last weekend of the season), 2 doubleheaders though versus Marlins means starts for Rusch, everyone else is a cupcake (not that it helps the Cubs lately)

Giants 76-64 (22 games left). Still think they have a chance to catch Dodgers and well they have Mr. Bonds, unfortunately he doesn't come out of the bullpen to pitch for them.
Key games - 6 left versus Dodgers, 6 versus Padres, 3 versus Astros ...that's pretty brutal

Astos 75-63 (24 games left). Great offense, but down to 2 good starting pitchers and a suspect bullpen. Biggio/Bagwell/Clemens I'm sure want it more than anyone else though.
Key games - 6 left versus St. Louis, 3 versus Giants...Go CARDS!!! (Can't believe I just said that)

Marlins 71-62 (29 games left). Pretty good staff and offense has been better lately, biggest threat to Cubs in my opinion.
Key games - 6 left versus Cubs, 6 versus Braves, 7 versus Phillies.....hope Bowa and the Phils can beat them this year

Padres 73-65 (24 games left). Honestly don't know how team has survived to this point, but they have. And whether you believe in it or not, D. Wells sure has been a winner his whole career.
Key games - 7 left versus Dodgers, 6 versus Giants, 1 today against Cards.....need to beat up on Rockies & D'Backs in between

**Dodgers 79-58 (25 games left) 4.5 game lead in the West but their starting staff isn't very good, their bullpen isn't very good anymore past Gagne. They do have one of the best managers in the game in my opinion and the offense has been quite good this year. Brutal schedule though so they may fall back.
Key games - 7 left versus Padres , 6 versus Giants, 3 versus Cardinals.....

By all statistical measures and reasonable viewpoints, the Cubs should win this thing and Baker has usually had his teams playing well in September. Let's hope this is one of those years (and that McKeon doesn't manhandle him in the managing duties like last year's playoffs)

Maddux goes tonight within 2 wins of his 17th straight 15 win season. Every Cub pitcher from here on out, has to pitch absolutely brilliantly in my opinion as our offense is very hit and miss (particularly with the nagging injuries). Tomorrow is the last day off of the season barring a rainout, so get ready for some baseball!!!


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