It would have been nice, a three game sweep of the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, but two out of three is not too bad. The Cubs showed a lot of fight this weekend, they never gave up, something that has been a problem for this team in the past. I was able to attend all three games this weekend, and Wrigley was rockin! Being able to battle back on Friday was nice, but Saturday was the game that shook 1060 West Addison….literally, I was a little scared. More on that later, let’s take a look at the week that was in the National League Central.
As of late the Brewers have hopefully been showing their true colors. I do feel they are the team to beat in the Central, but I don’t think they are going to run away with the division crown. The Brewers had some trouble with the Phillies losing three out of four on the road and continued their losing trend at home against the Twinkies. During each series the Brewers managed to hold off a sweep by winning the last game. JJ Hardy continues to crush the ball; he is hitting .372 in the month of May. He is two long balls away from leading the majors, as of today he has 14 and Prince Fielder is right behind him with 12. This team has a great balance of big ball and small ball but is streaky and the Cubs need to take advantage. The Brew-Crew was 2-5 this past week, and the Cubbies are still 6 back.
The Astros went .500 this week, keeping themselves hovering around the .500 mark for the season. They had a three game series at home against the Giants and took two out of three. The miserable Texas Rangers came into Houston and took two out of three. During Sunday’s game Houston pitchers gave up six home runs and 18 total hits. The Astros are a team that likes to make a late season surge; if they continue to stick around they could cause some problems down the road. As a team the Astros are hitting .252, Carlos Lee is leading the ‘Stros hitting .311 with 9 HR’s and 40 RBI’s which is good for second in the NL. So far, money well spent.
We all know what happened to the Cubs this week, but here is a short recap. The Cubs lost three out of four to the powerful Mets. This series could have done permanent damage, losing late can really have a lasting effect on a team, especially when you give up 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th….awesome. But the Cubs answered back and took two out of three against the White Sox. It is not the fact that they won, but how they won this past weekend. They battled and played smart baseball. Ozzie Guillen tried to take the focus off the game and put onto him, surprise, but it backfired and he was clearly out managed this weekend. The Cubs stumbled on Sunday and were not able to secure the 3 game sweep. With Z on the mound and Nick Masset getting his first big league start you would think we had it in the bag. But as soon as Z walked the first batter of the afternoon, I knew we were in trouble. He continues to be inconsistent and erratic when he is on the mound. Basically he is crazy and needs to get some help….today. It was great to take the series and is a nice confidence boost heading out west.
The Pirates had the Marlins and the Diamondbacks this week. The Bucs took two out of four from the Marlins and lost two out of three against to the D-backs. The Pirates are hitting .246 as a team and are really having a hard time getting base runners. They are just above the struggling Nationals with a .308 OBP.
St. Louis Cardinals
And for Buster Olney’s biggest disappointment so far this season, the St Louis Cardinals. The Cards are really struggling and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. After a dormant off season and a rotation that was completely retooled this team is just flat out bad. The Cards have been on the road all week, traveling to LA to take on the Dodgers and had a three game series in Detroit on the way home. The road trip started off pretty good with an 8-4 victory in LA, but after that it all went downhill. Albert Pujols is hitting .273, a career .330 hitter. The Cards are hitting .247 as a team, and their catcher Yadier Molina is leading the way with a .294 average, he hit .216 last year. But the problem stems from their miserable pitching; they have a team ERA of 4.69. Once a promising talent, Anthony Reyes is 0-7 with a 5.84 ERA. It really hurts me to write such stats….yeah right.
And finally the Cincinnati Reds, they are also digging themselves a pretty deep whole, or should I say grave. In the last 10 games they are also 3-7, and have been on the road all week. The Reds traveled to San Diego and lost two out of three, winning in extra innings on Tuesday. Ken Griffey Jr hit a solo shot in the 12th to put the Reds in the win column. One of the few bright spots for the Reds is Griffey, it seems he has found a way to stay healthy and is having a good year. On the way home the Reds stopped in Cleveland for a three game series and managed just one victory. Reds rookie Josh Hamilton was also rushed to the hospital this week with a stomach aliment. Things just aren’t going their way so far.
Off to the Wild Wild West to face the Padres and the Dodgers. Both teams are above .500 and will battle all year for the NL West crown. The Cubs need to win in bunches and put together a nice string of wins. Our lineup should be 100% going into Tuesday’s game, and I am excited to see the changes that Sweet Lou has planned for the bullpen. You never know in this game, nothing surprises me anymore. After a long emotional weekend at the Friendly Confines, I am looking forward to an off day…..Get your rest we are going to have some late nights this week.
NL Central Division Standings
- Brewers – 27-17/.614
- Astros – 21-22/.488, 5 1/2 GB
- Cubs – 20-22/.476, 6 GB
- Pirates – 19-24/.442, 7 1/2 GB
- Cardinals – 16-25/.390, 9 1/2 GB
- Reds – 17-27/.386, 10 GB
Until Next Time….but always Go Cubbies!!!