Marginally Meaningful Cubs Baseball is Still Being Played
The Cubs have won 8 of 10, and 7 of their last 8 to get within 5.5 of the wild card and 8 of the Cardinals. At the very least, it makes the games bearable to watch for the time being. The Cubs have 19 games left and play a few more games than their current competitors, so they're actually just 4 back in the loss column to the Rockies and tied with the Marlins and Braves in that category. They trail the Giants by 2 in the loss column but play them next week. So they'll need some help from teams to beat the Rockies, but in a round-about way, they still control most of their own destiny for the rest of the season.
As for the sort-of-big weekend series versus the Cardinals, it's already guaranteed that the Cardinals won't be able to clinch anything this weekend. That's not going to stop them from trying to bury the Cubs though. They'll send out John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright for the series against Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano.
Lineups for tonight:
|Lopez 2b||Theriot SS|
|Hart RF||Fukudome CF|
|Braun LF||Lee 1B|
|Fielder 1B||Ramirez 3B|
|McGehee 3B||Soto C|
|Cameron CF||Bradley RF|
|Kendall C||Fontenot 2B|
|Escobar SS||Scales LF|
|Looper P||Harden P|
I wouldn't be suprised if things get a little chippy tonight. The teams have become almost as intense rivals as the Cubs and Cardinals and there were 3 HBP's last night and a few almost HBP's, following Braun getting hit by Dempster the night before.
In the hot 'n cold department, Soto's found his groove with a 1.252 OPS in September and 7 XBH's in 7 games played. Derrek Lee has a 1.333 OPS since August 25th with 9 HR's in 19 games. Then there's Milton Bradley, who hasn't walked since August 30th and has a .447 OPS in that time. Bobby Scales keeps getting playing time in LF despite a .617 OPS in September and some boneheaded defense and baserunning, while Micah Hoffpauir has a 1.122 OPS since being recalled. Godenot has returned as well for the final month with a 1.071 OPS in 8 games (6/14 at the plate).
Parachat actually had a small crowd last night, so stop on by.
Our starting pitching kinda sucks for #3-5.
Schwarber out with "sore ribs"
/sorry to interrupt the magic number talk
JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates ( I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings. Guys who have been pitching regularly as starters have thrown too many innings to be considered, so it probably came down to Johnson, Zastryzny, and Duane Underwood Jr, with Underwood odd man out because he hasn't pitched above Hi-A.
Schwarber stays back and hammers a 3-2 change-up that was down and away. Very impressive.
And a good job to drive the ball to RF to advance the runner in the 8th. Encouraging.
It looks like the Cubs "post-season clinch number" is 25 right now: http://lyle.smu.edu/~olinick/riot/national_league.html
Is the magic number 25 or 26?
Agreed, to my untrained eyes he does look better than last season. Not a finished product yet and hopefully he will continue to improve, but if he plays solid middle infield defense he will stick in the majors.
Phillips smiled at Strop and gave him a thumbs up.
That pitch Schwarber hit is the kind he's been missing a lot of lately. When Schwarber struggles it reminds me of how hard it is to hit baseballs at that level. It doesn't seem like they've found a weakness, just that he isn't seeing the ball that great and just missing. Same with Rizzo the last few days.
I missed it. What did he do?
extremely classy. i didn't see his reaction until the replay after the break. baseball needs more fun in some areas and less of some 'unwritten rules' violations leading to angst.
Nice bounce back game for Grimm, and "well done" Dan Haren. We'll take that (almost) every time.
I have never been a Brandon Phillips fan, but that was a very classy way to handle Strop yelling at him after the K.
go cubs go