It is the middle of April and we are eleven games into the season. Expectations are high for the Cubs after spending a “truckload” of cash in the off-season, but to this point many of the Cubs Faithful across the country have been disappointed. The NL Central might be a weak division, but let’s be thankful. Let’s be thankful that we are going to still be in the hunt at the end of April because of the “parity” that exists in the division. Think back to when you were a kid and you parents would take you to the park, and you would play for hours and hours. You had the merry-go-round that your friends would push really fast until you begged for mercy. The swings that someone pushes you so high you really thought you were going to flip over the top the bar. But then you had the seesaw, pretty boring, up and down….up and down. Your buddy would then jump off one end and you would then come crashing to the ground, probably the worst ride at the park, in my opinion. I have a horrible feeling that we will be riding a seesaw for the next six months. Up and down, up and down, up and down, up and….
There is only one streak that exists right now in the central and that is a four game losing streak by the Pirates. The rest of the division has either won one, or lost one. Back and forth, up and down….I don’t see an end in sight. Let’s take a look at the week that was in the NL Central….get ready for an early morning ride on the teeter totter, aka the seesaw. The NL Central is going to be a battle till the bitter end. I would like to think on paper the Cubs are the favorite, but after eleven games I am not too sure that is the case. There are six teams in this division and I think five of the six have a legitimate shot of winning the title; there is no longer a clear favorite and I don’t know if there ever was. But after watching the Cubs bats this weekend, we are lucky we are in a division with such “parity”. But what makes it so frustrating is the type of “parity”, I love watching baseball but I hate to watch bad baseball….and we are in the middle of a division with a bunch of mediocre ball clubs.
Our beloved Cubbies went 1-4 this week, all at home. The Padres come into town tomorrow night for a two game set at Wrigley. We have to win the next two to make the first homestand of the year respectable, if you consider a 3-4 record respectable. I do not but in the NL Central it just might be enough. Maddux is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday….Welcome Home, Greg. When you are in town go have a chat with Z, I think he is need of some wisdom.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals swept the Pirates at Pittsburgh and split with the Brewers in St Louis. One game was ppd due to weather. This is a team that could get hot and obviously be very dangerous, but they are going to be without staff ace Chris Carpenter for a long period of time. The Cards have called up a young lefty, Randy Keisler, to take Carpenter’s spot in the rotation. The Cards are hitting .253 through the first 11 games and their depleted rotation has a team ERA of 3.03, good enough for sixth in the bigs while the Cubs sit in the 18th spot with a team ERA of 3.75.
The Redlegs lost two out of three against the dangerous Diamondbacks and then came to Wrigley and took two out of three. The two they lost against the D-backs could have gone either way as they were decided by one run. If you think back to the series against the Reds, it should have gone the way of the Cubs. Carlos imploded and they were able to score SIX runs in one inning, ONE INNING. Ted Lilly and company threw a two hitter and we lost….granted Kyle Lohse pitched a great game, but without that walk to Brandon Phillips we might still be playing and I would be frozen (Yes, it is still cold in Chicago and my seats at Wrigley are in the shade). The Reds are tough and will stick around like an annoying nat, until they take their post All-Star break slide. Let’s just hope the Cubs are there to pick up the slack.
The Astros took the first two games of the series against the Cubs and the third game was ppd due to snow and freezing temperatures. I wasn’t necessarily impressed with the Astros when they came in to Wrigley. We kept Carlos Lee in check, which has always been difficult. Chris Sampson continued to mystify the Cubs allowing three hits and zero earned runs over 5 innings of work. The Astros then stepped out of the division for a three game series in Philadelphia. Lee earned his money on Friday with 3 long balls and six RBI’s….The Crawford Boxes might get renamed once Lee gets done with them.
The Brewers traveled to Florida for a three game series against the Florida Marlins and lost two out of three. The Marlins still continue to impress, maybe it wasn’t Girardi after all? The Brewers are just a 1/2 game back of the Reds atop of the division and will give us fits all year and it did not help that Big Z opened his “big mouth” and intensified the rivalry, let’s hope they will forget by the 23rd of April when Zambrano is scheduled to open the 3-game series at Wrigley.
The Bucs were winless this past week with two games canceled due to weather out east. The Pirates were victims of two Barry Bonds HR’s on Friday night. The crowd was less than appreciative. Barry better hope he breaks the most coveted record in all of sports at home, because I do not think anyone else cares. (I know this writer will not be clapping, but saddened) The Bucs start a seven game road trip tomorrow in St Louis that will finish in LA against the Dodgers.
NL Central Division Standings
- Reds – 7-5/.583
- Brewers – 6-5/.545 – 1/2 GB
- Cardinals – 6-5/.545 – 1/2 GB
- Astros – 4-6/.400 – 2 GB
- Pirates – 4-6/.400 – 2 GB
- Cubs – 4-7/.364 – 2 1/2 GB
Up and Down up and down, this season is just beginning but the boo-birds are already making themselves at home at Wrigley. Let’s hope the guys on the Cubs’ 25-man roster liked the seesaw more than I did as a kid. I just hope someone does not jump off from the rest of the group and the Cubs go crashing to the bottom.
Until Next week….GO Cubbies!!!!