Saturday, June 18, 2005

From the Red States

Well, in my humble opinion, the next few weeks between now and the All-Star break will decide whether or not the Cubs will give the Cardinals a race in the NL Central. These next few series are crucial to the Cubs chances, because the schedule seems to favor the Cardinals heavily. Yes I can hear the whines coming already, but keep in mind the Cubs and Cardinals do play pretty much the same schedule, other than of course the interleague series of the White Sox, while were playing the Royals. Even with that in mind it is still pretty even because we only play the Royals 3 games instead of the normal 6. Also as I have said before I don't recall hearing any Cub fans whining when in 2003 we had to play the Royals who were (at the time) playing well over .500 and the Cubs where playing the White Sox who were (at the time) bringing up the rear in the AL Central.

Well I was looking at the schedules for both teams and here they are...

For the Cubs: 2 more with the Skanks, 4 with the Beermakers, 3 with the White Sox, 3 more with the Beermakers, 3 with the Nats, 4 with the Braves, and 3 with the Fish right before the break.

For the Cards: 2 more with the D' Rays, 3 with the Reds, 4 with the Pirates, 2 more with the Reds, 4 with the Rockies, 4 @ the D' Backs, and 4 @ the Giants.

When looking at their schedules, especially over the next couple of series with the Cardinals playing the D'Rays, Reds, and Pirates who they have owned over the past couple seasons it isn't too much to think we could win 9 or 10 out of the next 11 games. While the Cubs will have their hands full with the Skanks and the Sox. Not to mention a traditional tough team for the Cubs to beat in the Brew Crew. Closer to the break the schedule evens out a little with the Cards having to go to the West Coast, where they traditionally struggle.

I think these next 22 games or so will tell the tale in the division. If the Cubs are where they are right now, at the break, that will set up a great second half race with 14 games head to head. If the lead grows really any more than where it is now then it gets pretty tough for the Cubbies. Simply because most of the second half finds both of us playing within the division, which is the way it should be in my opinion. I don't think either the Cards or the Cubs will lose too many series inside divisional play, they both are just better than the rest of the division.

If the lead is where it is now or maybe the Cubs could gain a game or two by the break then your looking at the Cubs going having to go 8-6 or 9-5 to really put some heat on the Cards. However if it gets up to a 10 game lead then you're looking at having to go 11-3 or 12-2 to in those 14 games to make it a race. Not too likely.

I think the next 22 games will tell the tale. Should be interesting.

On a further note, after to speaking with my good buddy, and fellow poster on this blog Chris yesterday I am getting a little nervous about having to wear a Cubs hat at the end of the season. Especially when I come to find out that he as already got one picked out for me to wear. I can only imagine it being one of these big dorky Dr. Suess looking Cub hats. Especially when Lee has raised his average to .384, while Pujols remains in the .330's. I am not too worried about the Triple Crown because Albert is right with him in HR's and RBI's and really he has not went on one of his patented 2 or 3 weeks hot streaks, he has just been pretty steady, and consistent. He has just been well Albert Pujols. Once he finds that streak, which that too may come in the next few weeks feasting on the mediocre pitching of the D'Rays, Reds, Pirates and the like, I think he will catch and pass Lee in RBI's and HR's. Especially RBI's if Larussa would figure out what most people already have and that that is Larry Walker is getting too old and his stats were Coors Field inflated, and move him down in the lineup and replace him in the 2 spot with Grudzielanek. The you're looking at Eckstein and Grudzie in front of Albert, both of which have OBP's pushing .400.

So I'm not too worried about having to fork over two tickets for my fellow posters to any Cubs game next season. I am a little worried though that I might have to humiliate myself by wearing a Cubs hat in front of alot of people, some of which are Cubs fans. Chris especially. So I say come on Lee go back to being the .280 hitter you have been your whole career, and come on Albert just keep being yourself and doing what you have been doing for 5 years.