Worst Case Scenario: Brewers 3, Cubs 1

The Cubs just needed to avoid disaster this weekend against the Brewers to have a very good chance to win their division. Alas said disaster was not avoided and now a crazy three week scramble for the playoffs begins.

Eric Thames opened the game beating out a dribbler down the third base line for a hit. Javy Baez made a nifty play broken-bat grounder from Ryan Braun, the broken bat hit the ball in the infield and took a weird hop, but Javy barehanded and got Braun. A single by Tommy La Stella was wasted in the bottom of the first.

The Cubs took the lead in the 2nd inning, Ian Happ walked against Zach Davies to begin things. He advanced to second on a Baez bunt and remained there when Jason Heyward struck out. Rene Rivera then ripped a line drive to right, it looked like Hernan Perez had it lined up, but misread it and it flew over his head for an RBI double.

The Brewers tied the game against Kyle Hendricks with a very old-school attack in the 4th. Braun bunted for a hit, even his bunting form is somehow annoying, and proceeded to steal second base. Travis Shaw walked and both men were bunted over by Perez. Stephen Vogt then grounded to Happ at second to tie the game.

Chicago had a big chance in the bottom of the 5th inning. Rivera singled to open the inning and was forced at second on a bunt by Hendricks. Jon Jay followed singling to left to put two on with one out. La Stella grounded one up the middle, Davies kicked the ball, which bounced perfectly to Neil Walker who started a 4-6-3 double play.

Milwaukee took quick advantage of the Cubs missed opportunity. Walker lived up to his name, drawing a walk to leadoff the 6th inning. Walks always seem to hurt the Professor and today was no different, Shaw hit a two-run homer through the wind into the basket in right making it 3-1 Brewers.

Anthony Rizzo and Baez singled in the bottom of the inning to create a first and third threat with two down. The Cubs came up short yet again this weekend, as Heyward hit a weak fly to right.

Willson Contreras made his return striking out in the 7th inning. Pedro Strop pitched a clean 7th inning on in relief of Hendricks. Carl Edwards gave up two singles in the 8th inning, but retired Vogt on a ground out to end the threat.

Wade Davis came on in the 9th inning, he walked Orlando Arcia and Thames to put two on with two outs, but struck out Manny Pina to escape the jam. Corey Knabel allowed an infield single to Heyward, but he got Alex Avila on strikes to complete the Brewers sweep. The Cubs divisional lead is now down to just two games.

Source: FanGraphs

Offense..ive

The Cubs offense was awful in the three-game sweep, scoring a total of 3 runs. Other than Rene Rivera, no one had a really notable offensive performance on Sunday. Offenses for all teams run hot and cold over the course of a long season. This was the worst possible time for the offense to hit a wall, hopefully the return of Willson Contreras can help. Again a decent Hendricks outing (6 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 7 K, and 2 BB) was wasted by a total lack of support.

Hold On To Your Butts

This version of the Cubs has not had much difficulty clinching a playoff berth. The wild card in 2015 was wrapped up with over a week to play. The 2016 NL Central title was wrapped up in early September. The Northsiders had a chance to put the clamps on a third playoff appearance with similar ease with a good series against the Crew. Instead the worst case scenario, not only did Brewers sweep so did the Cardinals. Now, all three teams are within 2 games of first with a little less than 20 games to play. This race is going to the wire, as the section title implies it's going to be tense.

Random Reference

Last year the Cubs got the Mega Happy ending. If they aren't careful 2017 will get this ending.

Three Stars

#3-Rene Rivera: the big catcher had two hits including the only RBI of the game. Also he threw out Arcia trying to steal with the game tied in the 5th.

#2-Travis Shaw: the Brewers third baseman had the game winning two-run homer that just got out to right.

#1-Zach Davies: Davies dominated on Sunday going seven strong with only one run and only 7 hits. Frankly, if Perez reads Rivera's double correctly the game is a shutout.

Now the stretch run begins and the Cubs need to finish strong or miss the postseason.

Comments

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  • Hey, maybe Maddon can just sip on his stupid glass of wine and assure all his toadies in the media that everything is just fine with his iPad and the Cubs. Really sick of this guy, sorry.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    couldn't agree more with. Maddon got deservingly a lot of credit for the Cubs' winning ways, the opposite holds true, as well.

  • In reply to emiliosdad:

    sorry for the fat finger, meant to say :" couldn't agree more with you..."

  • In reply to emiliosdad:

    So I would like to know since you 2 guys know so much about baseball, who should we get????? Really 1 bad stretch and man
    does everyone jump off the ship or what. Really!!!! Not just your local fans that never played the game or know nothing about it at all
    Just foaming at the mouth

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    Why attack them for their opinion? He's a lucky manager that's been blessed with unbelievable talent at Tampa Bay and Chicago. What has he developed?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    So how would you know that??? Really just off the wall comments.
    When your in the business, then you know period. Most of you people just make off the wall comments and have no experience in the game of baseball

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    Like you?

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    I did. I played minor league baseball and guys like you crack me up all the time!!!!!!!

  • Thank god they have an off day tomorrow. Playing 20 straight days seems to have caught up with them. Though it's hard to tell with the Jekyll and Hyde team they've been all year.

  • This team is young and imperfect. The odds makers in Vegas did not favor the Cubs to win it all this year. I really don't understand the constant pounding on Joe Maddon by a few of the Denizens. Which Cubs manager over the past 50 years would you rather have leading and managing this team? Or, what manager would you rather have instead of Joe Maddon? Geez. I hate losing more than most but I've never experienced 2 straight years of 95+ wins. I'm enjoying the best group of players on one team. There is no way one series or one season is going to stop my enjoyment of what has been built in under 5 years, 10 months.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    It is because he is a bad in-game manager. Look at how he mismanaged the World Series. We won in spite of his managing, not because of him. What he is best at is the club house stuff. But Halloween party road trips don't go over as well when you are not playing well. And that is without mentioning his sometimes weird and not optimized lineup choices.

  • In reply to OverTheLake:

    Could not of said it better. I totally agree.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    So many people say that as if we know what would have happened had Joe made some other move. We will never know. What we do know is the moves he made won the World Series!

    Joe Maddon did the impossible. How do you guys not understand and appreciate that?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He overused Chapman, gave up on Rondon, pulled Hendricks too early...thank God Ross and Heyward stepped up to calm the team to win the World Series. It was clearly evident Maddon didn't.

  • In reply to OverTheLake:

    Really? He is a bad in-game manager? Let's take your world series example. Maddon starts Heyward for the first time in the series in Game 4 because conventional wisdom said we needed a bat in the lineup. Take the time to look at every defensive play in games 4-5-6-7. Heyward turned 4 hits to outs by his positioning (some credit must go to the manager) and his unique, and don't fool yourself, his unique ability to read the ball immediately off the bat. The Cubs don't get to a game 6 without Heyward let alone have him deliver his team speech. It's so easy to sit and blanket criticize. Maybe you already do this, but it will test your in-game baseball acumen. "Watch" a game from the MLB at bat in the gameday mode. Write down every move that you would make during the game. I do this once per week. It's amazing how much smarter the professional baseball managers are than us arm chair managers.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Joe has made many questionable in game decisions. This includes how he manages his starters and the bullpen. I think you can question his lineup and how he mixes and matches.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Agree that there are many ML managers that are baseball smarter then you and me. However many of the same managers are smarter the Joe as well. When is Girardi's contract up?

  • In reply to willycat:

    Do you have any Yankee fan friends? There are few transplants I know, that are not big fans of him. Keep in mind grass is often greener on the other side of the fence.

  • In reply to willycat:

    Craig Councel is ahead of Maddon. Maddon is the Lon Krueger of sports, inherit talent and win. Don't build a thing. Lou Henson built programs, others inherit.

  • In reply to OverTheLake:

    Exactly, Joe needs to be the bench coach, with more say than most bench coaches; the lineups and bullpen management needs to be handled by someone else.......

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Texas

    I agree this has been the best period of Cubs play in any of our life time. I realize there is a reason teams rarely repeat. I have to admit, I do sometimes wonder with some of these things what Joe is thinking.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    So sick of hearing how great our young players are. Besides Riz and Wilson we have a bunch of strike out 230 hitters. Even Bryant is the WORST clutch hitter in baseball. This team supposed to be built for the next 5 years. I don't see it. Free agent pitching is really thin next year and we dont have any starters coming from minors for several years. Theo has traded away our next wave of position players also. So I guess we can send JHay to Arizona all winter for more batting practice and pay Zoe for two more years while batting 200 and hitting cleanup . I know we cherish our World championship win in 2016 but this 2017 team is missing something. 2016 is over. You cant walk on the field cause you won last year an expect the other team to roll over.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    I said young and imperfect. That's a far cry from "how great our young players are." You are not quite correct on your strike out-230 hitters comment. That's a quite a bit over the top.

    Team batting average is right in the middle of the NL, so it's average. They have the 6th most strikeouts in the NL, 16 more then LAD. The Cubs have the 3rd most HRs, 4th most RBI's, 2nd highest BB and 5th highest OBP. While you and others don't like Russell and Heyward, this team is better with them at SS and RF. The issue all year has been inconsistency from the pitching staff (starting and relief). I don't know why it's been a yo-yo all year. Maybe we should start to question Bosio as much as everyone questions Maddon and Mallee.

    I'll admit I'm still a little bothered by Bosio's comments early this year about Thames. I love to see guys like him make something of themselves and earn a living most can never even dream of obtaining.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I think the issue is inconsistency both with the entire team. The offense, defense, and pitching have been very up and down. For me that is the reason this team is so frustrating. They have a ton of talent, but have not played up to it this year.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    Free agent pitching is actually kinda good this offseason...

  • In reply to mwillie:

    So you want to trade Bryant?

  • Lifeless, do they even have a pulse?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Where the leadership? Where's the further development? We have regressed.

  • The optics of the Friday gametime change don't look very good now. Brewers really came in and stuck it to the Cubs and Cubs have no momentum now. We shall see if there is anything left in the tank.

    Need to get something from Bryant. Rizzo cannot carry the load by himself.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    They could have played that game at 7AM or 10 PM and the result would have likely been the same. Maybe when they visit Milwaukee things will be reversed. They could probably also complain about the cold brats and warm cheese and beer.

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    K B in his last 11 games,,,0 hr 0 RBI Not good

  • In reply to John Nesbit:

    56 rbi on the season. Stunned when i saw that.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Don't even go there as there will be a line of people saying your crazy and say he's virtually the same hitter he was last year.

    Although that fan graphs article ( i think it was them or maybe baseball prospectus ) about how he's been the worst clutch hitter this year and one of the worst over the past 2 years.

    I obviously wasn't in the camp that things even itself out over the course of the season, but I was convinced to think big picture from a number of smart people on this site when I was complaining 3 months about the Cubs hitting w RISP and KB's rbi's. I kept harping on the situational hitting ( stranding leadoff doubles, runners on 3rd w 1 out) and how it was going to be the death of us. After that run after the all star break when we were scoring more, I thought to myself, boy I was too stubborn and really needed to step back and look at it like the other posters. Now as we head into the last couple of weeks, maybe I was right all along.

    We just all have to hope and pray that the Cubs somehow make it into the playoffs and then scratch out all the previous stats and numbers and begin a brand new season. A season where the Schwarbenator is not a sub .200 hitter, a season where Iron Bat Heyward is not one of the worst hitters for the money ever, Addison and Javy are not swinging for the moon even w 2 strikes, and KB is not the worst clutch hitter in the majors.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    We have the greatest manager ever!

  • Everybody is on the ledge.Tough disappointing series but I think it's a good thing the cubs have some pressure on them now let's see they react.Cubs have a tough 10 game road trip coming up(2 at rays 4 at brew 4 at cards) that will make or break the season

  • In reply to bolla:

    Hope to be within 3 games when that trip is over.

  • fb_avatar

    They look listless but also they haven't had a day off in forever. There's a reason that most teams don't repeat--it's really hard. Again, I'll bring up the SF Giants and Chicago Blackhawks. How about 3 championships in 5 years? That means losing the year after winning. I'll take that.
    We have a good young team with most players not even in their prime. Look at how much better Javy is this year, how much better Willson is this year and even those Russell detractors he's been out a month, with him we could have won at least a few more games. The future is bright, let's look big picture and realize that.

  • If Theo really wants to impress me, he'll figure out a way to one-up himself this winter (re: Carl Crawford) and dump Heyward and his horrible contract on some other team. I don't care how good his defense is, the dude uses a rolled-up newspaper for a bat and it simply must go. 75 OPS+ from a $23MM/year corner OF. Nice. And he doesn't even steal bases anymore, I thought he was a 30 SB/year guy? He has what, three?

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    As usual a fan that knows nothing about baseball. Yes heyward is not worth the money we are paying him but Crawford is terrible at best. Also Heyward HAS NEVER EVER STOLE 30 BASES IN A SEASO.
    Time to go back to sleep buddy

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    Wow "buddy" you sure zinged me. Thanks for your great insight here.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I agree on Heyward. He is tremendous in right field, but unfortunately can't hit with the stick. I saw him in Atlanta as a rookie, killed the Cubs. He just never blossomed.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    He has 4 this year with a career high of 23. 101 SB in his 8 year career.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I've chosen to respond to you in this exchange: Michael Cerami at Bleacher Nation just published a detailed, honest, and depressing account of Heyward's offensive woes since joining the Cubs.

    I'm an admitted Heyward fan, having played catch and even run drills with the large man during his time with the low-A Rome Braves back in 2008 (without a doubt the highlight of my meager athletic career as he was the Second Coming of Henry Aaron at the time), but this is disturbing. I can't recall such a talented ballplayer simply losing the ability to hit entering his prime years. He is extremely hard on himself, he admits that, and I hope that his troubles are more mental and can be figured out than physical and career-threatening. I just don't get it.

    Interesting tidbit I saw on the twitters yesterday, filed squarely under the who-woulda-guessed category: prior to joining the Cubs, Heyward had a higher average wRC+ than perennial NL MVP Nolan Arenado has averaged throughout his career.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I've mentioned this before, but he needs to choke up. It would give him so much more bat control and help him square up the ball better. I'm very surprised I've never seen him do this before. With all the experimenting he did last year, he never tried that, as far as I can remember. I bet his power numbers and extra base hits would go up.

  • In reply to David23:

    Interesting observation, and one I'm sure will be fully explored. NO ONE works harder (to his credit) or is harder on himself (to his detriment) than Jason Heyward. Some guys sign a big contract and are set and lose interest in perfecting their craft of baseball (cough *Soler* cough), but Heyward isn't one of them. A truly professional baseball player and all-around Good Dude.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Can you cut it out with your insults of Soler? You obviously have something personal against him, since you go out of your way to take pot shots at him. Your stance that he didn't care is simply BS.

  • In reply to David23:

    This team is loaded with experts and if they felt choking up was the answer he would already be doing it.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Heyward is not just entering his prime years he is almost finished with his prime years. Many players flash a few good years then fizzle out.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    27 years old... way past prime... Someone tell Rizzo he's washed up too... Doh.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Love him defensively, love his effort, wish he could thrive. Perhaps he needs to to relax, go with the flow, take what the pitchers give him?

  • The Dodgers have lost 10 straight games, and I think 15 of 16 (not sure of the exact figure). They are suddenly in jeopardy of not being the number one. seed. The NL is wide open. The Cubs definitely could make the World Series. On the other hand, so could the Brewers. The Brewers were swept by the lowly Reds and then swept the Cubs. It is going to be a wild month and a half, and I think it just comes down to which team gets hot at the right time.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Over the course of the Dodgers' last 14 losses, they have won 1 game. Over their previous 14 losses, they won 56. They went 56-14 (.800 win%), then 1-14 (.067 win%). Shows how the season of even a "great" team can take sudden, and dramatic, turns. Baseball.

  • If the Brewers win it will be a great story. I enjoy following the season. Maddon manages a longer view than most of us imagine. His track record is not an accident. Looks like Bryant's headfirst slide has now cost him several homers. But it would be a shame to coach out his aggressiveness, as has been pointed out by the libertarians here.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    If the Brewers win it will go down as a terrible collapse by the Cubs

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Or the better team won.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    Can't help.myself, Stubbs. I've thrown some Pearl Jam at you before, and you seem to be aware. At the beginning of the season, you said the Yankees were a better team. I disagreed. Then you said the Pirates were the class of the NL Central. I disagreed. Now you are on the Brew Crew's bandwagon. I bet you dream in color, and I know you dream in red:

    "She lies and says she's in love with him,
    She can't find a better man."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    The Yankees have a better record, are in a stronger division, double our run differential, and swept us at home. Brewers are 8-7 against us. Not a stretch to think they could end up being the better team if they pass us. I'll concede on the pirates point.

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    In reply to Stubbs:

    Plus the Yankees have had a lot worse injuries then us, and Maddon basically broke Chapman.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    The better team does not always win

  • I don't understand the defensive line up. I have no issues with Bryant lastella and Happ in the line up but put them at their most comfy position.
    I didn't understand burning Wilson in the 7th with nobody on. Been nice to have him in the 9th.
    Is Schwarbs in the dog house? I have a hard time believing the reason is 3 bad match ups in a row.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    There has to be something going on that we don't know about with the Kyle situation

  • In reply to HJW49:

    What about performing poorly all season? This should not be a great mystery.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Why doesn't that pertain to Heyward and Zobrist as well???

  • In reply to willycat:

    It does pertain to Heyward and Zobrist

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    There are not as many favorable matchup for the Schwarbenator this year, so him sitting 3 straight days vs RH pitching is bizarre, but I can imagine it.

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Schwarber, stay off the high fast ball. Every pitcher in baseball is throwing it to you. You're not hitting it. And our brilliant manager batted him leadoff. Enough said.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Part of the questionable moves Maddon makes is switching positions on players and deciding when to play and not play certain players.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Yes Bryant at 3rd, LaStella at 2nd, Happ in left, is that what you're saying?

  • I say again, why is John Mallee still employed?

  • In reply to veteran:

    Probably because he was the hitting coach when we won the worls series 10 months ago.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Mallee's "lift the ball" approach has (overall) not been a good hitting philosophy for this team. Some players have excelled however many others have struggled. Schwarber in particular. The low contract rate of this team is a disaster. If you listen to Maddon, Coomer and others (between the lines), I don't think Mallee will be the hitting coach next season.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Quit living last year dude.. Its over. We want more. Mallee should go.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    Mallee is not the problem but could be a scapegoat at the end of the season. Most players are taking the "lift the ball" approach. Baseball players today don't care about striking out and go for home runs instead of situational hitting.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    It's mostly because that's what the data tells them works in today's game and most of the organizations that tip towards the heavy analytics side support that approach.. The high K rates aren't going away anytime soon, especially among younger players, although every team needs a couple of contact hitters and our team struggles in that area. That can be fixed but it isn't going to be fixed this year.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    Not meaning to single you out, and I get what you're saying, but for the last 50 years of being a Cubs fan all anyone ever said was "get me one and I'll be good for the rest of my life". Pretty much every single Cubs fan I ever knew said a variation of that at one time or another. Now we're struggling through a tough season, importantly not not a "lost" season just yet, and I've never seen Cubs fans so angry. I watch a lot of baseball, maybe parts of 300 games a year, and this year is unsurprising in the scheme of things. No World Series winning team has won their division the next year since the 2009 Phillies and the Cubs still have a chance to do that. I'm sure I don't even have to give the examples of how hard it is to actually repeat as champions. It does not mean you have to be happy about it, it does mean that you can't be angry but the perspective seems to be sorely lacking and I'm not sure why. This weekend was the first time I doubted for one minute that this team would win the division. I still think they're the most talented of the three teams but they may be a little tired, a little too young and probably not quite as hungry as Milwaukee is, and of course St. Louis just wants us defeated as they should given the rivalry. This happened in Boston after they ended their World Series drought too and the fans were brutal. East Coast fans in general are pretty awful. Let's not be those kinds of fans.

  • In reply to TC154:

    By the way, just so everyone understands, I'm not good with them not winning another the rest of my life, but I'm ok with say 2 in 6 years because that would be quite the achievement.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree with people that Maddon has made some questionable decisions.

    Again not singling out specific people. But many think that they know more about baseball than X. It happens in all sports Q has won THREE cups in 7 years. Yet there are many similar comments on hawks boards over the last two years.

  • In reply to HJW49:

    I'm not disputing that at all, it's OK to disagree with Maddon's decisions. He's unconventional which opens him up to criticism, and I fully get that. I guess I would ask two things; 1) What manager have you ever seen in this game that makes all the right decisions 2) Who would you replace him with? Now that's an interesting discussion. The bottom line for me is that he is to me, without question, the best Cubs manager any of us have seen in our lifetimes. That doesn't mean he's infallible, and it's OK to want better, just be careful what you wish for.

    As much as I try to stay positive I'm as disappointed in this season as anyone. Part of it I attribute to baseball being baseball. The fact that I posted about the Cubs trying to be the first WS winner since 2009 to win their division the following year attests to that. Another big part I do blame on some of the players who are clearly not as motivated as they were the last two years. It's real and it's noticeable, but I also know they're human beings and it happens. If it happens two years in a row then it might be a different story but I have faith in the group running this team that they will fix what they need to. Plus, it ain't over yet.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I agree on all of the above you wrote.

    Here's a question. If Maddon does an ok job managing game 6 & 7. Are there as many people out there right now this angry at him? I don't think so.

    B/c even I, whose some what a Maddon apologist, shudder when I think about game 6 & 7.

  • In reply to HJW49:

    The team carried him game 6 and 7.

  • In reply to TC154:

    You make good points TC, but I live in the heart of cardinal country and don't want to here their crap all winter, so Please lets keep the dirty birds out of the playoffs. LOL

  • In reply to mwillie:

    Oh, well I totally get the anxiety ;). Yes, Cardinals in the playoffs would be awful.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    mwillie I hear you about living here in STL if Cards make it and the Cubs fail it will be a long off-season at the office.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    The "real" hitting coach is Maddon, he should go. We don't have a future with him.

  • In reply to mwillie:

    If moving to the next year means whining all the friggin time, then I think I will pass. Trade Bryant! LOL

  • The Eugene Emeralds beat Vancouver to even their best-of-five series at 1-1, so there's that.

  • Panic has set in here! Pitiful.

  • Last year was a dream season. Division was basically clinched in May. We're not likely to see that again. This year the Cubs are gonna have to fight for it. They were considered down and out against the Dodgers and Indians last postseason and fought their way back. It's now a sprint to the finish and we're still in 1st place. Baseball's weird. 19 games left to settle this thing.

  • I've been supportive of the Cubs and Maddon all year, but I'm having hard time shaking that Brewers series, because they didn't even show up.

  • Here's some more good news to brighten up your Monday morning. While the Cubs were being swept this weekend, the Rockies swept the Dodgers meaning the Cubs two game lead over Colo. for the second wildcard if needed also disappeared. We now trail them by a game. Fun times!

  • The Magic Number Watch has been on hold at 18 over this terribly disappointing weekend.

    But you know what, it is still a Magic Number Watch. The Cubs are still in 1st place. Yes, a 2-game lead is much more precarious than a 4- or 5-game lead. But it is still a lead and better than the alternative.

    MIL hosts PIT Mon-Wed, then travels to MIA for the weekend. StL hosts CIN for 3 Tue-Thu, then travels to Wrigley for 3.

    If the Cubs are 10-9 in their last 19 games, then either MIL or StL will have to go 13-6 in their last 19 to pass the Cubs. If the Cubs and MIL split the last 4 head-to-head games in MIL, and MIL wins their series ending series in StL 2-1, they will have to go 9-3 in their other remaining games. If StL wins 4 of the remaining 7 games against the Cubs and wins the season-ending series against MIL 2-1, StL will have to go 7-2 in their other remaining games. Both MIL and StL still have to play very good baseball over all the remaining three weeks to pass the Cubs.

    Yes, losing the 4-gamer in MIL or 5 of 7 vs. StL makes things more difficult. On the other hand, winning the 4-gamer and taking 4 of 7 vs StL makes things easier. This will not be the magic carpet ride we fans hoped for, but it won't be dull, either.

    Go Cubs!

  • Back....off....the....ledge

    Too many people are panicking.The cubs got outplayed it's that simple brewers did everything better this past weekend, but the brewers lost one of their best starters for the season & matt garza is the alternative.R-e-l-a-x

  • Fans and bloggers advising one another how to feel. Does how I feel affect the team's play? I don't believe it does. So I'll indulge in hysteria and seek scapegoats to alleviate anxiety. America's pastime.

  • A few pennant race tidbits.

    Everyone might well have heard that WAS has clinched the NL East. While it was a foregone conclusion until recently that LAD would have the top seed in the NL playoffs, WAS is only 4 games back.

    After the NL Central, the second closest division race is the AL East, where BOS has maintained a 3.5-game lead over NYY. In every other division, the lead is 9 games (NL West) or more.

    NYY is holding onto the 1st AL Wild Card, 3.5 games ahead of MIN. LAA is a game back MIN for the 2nd WC, and there are 5 teams between 2.5 and 3.5 games back.

    In the NL WC, ARI has a firm 5 game lead on the 1st WC. COL still has the 2nd WC, now with a 3 game lead over MIL and StL.

  • Have the Cubs regressed because of age, lack of leadership in clubhouse, lack of coaching, injuries? Something is amiss is the Cubs clubhouse. Look at how the Cardinals maintained success over the years with a limited budget, various managers. We have the talent to be better than we are currently for a long time, but we have regressed. Is it Theo's fault? Bosio was very solid until Maddon arrived? It seems Maddon has lost the team, similar to the regression in Tampa? Just wondering.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    None of us can really presume to understand what's up. Bosio is a damn fine pitching coach, and was last year under Maddon. There have been injuries, Hendricks lost half the season. The biggest mistake I've seen this year was playing Zobrist for two or three weeks while he was nursing a wrist injury. He's been ineffective ever since. Just can't get my head around it.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    Maddon needs to take his happy-fun-time, hippie road show somewhere else at this point.

  • In reply to Roe Skidmore:

    How about because teams regress after winning the World Series as a general rule? Go back 20 years and you'll only find a few exceptions. It's part of the game. Throw in the development of young players being nonlinear, as we've spoke about here for years, as well as some regression from guys like Hendricks and Lester and you don't have anything going on that's earth shattering or unusual. Just as an aside do you know how many managers were launched after that subpar year following a championship? Zero. There are some things that have to be looked at after this season. I don't know that looking at John Mallee with a critical eye and thoughts of a possible change is a bad idea if a you think a new set of eyes might help. Of course that said this FO sought out Mallee because his approach to hitting dovetailed with their own ideas so any replacement is likely to look at hitting in a similar way, perhaps with some new wrinkles and a different way of reading the metrics, but similar. I also think you'll see some tweaking of the lineup as it's clear (at least to me) that another contact hitter is needed and this might have to involve a trade. You'll see another starting pitcher and another batch of arms to compete for the bullpen, but this idea of radical change being needed is not only short sighted it's simply not how the game works. All that said, we still have to remember that this season is not over yet and the Cubs have a chance to be the first World Series winning team to win their division since 2009. Reading these comments lately would make you think we were talking about a 90 loss team.

  • PIT beat MIL. It does not affect the Magic Number, but every MIL loss is a good thing. One less game to get the wins they need.

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