There was a lot of emotion running through the stands at Wrigley on Saturday. Knowing that we always have issues with Chris Young, or known in the clubhouse as “C-Y”. I guess if your last name is Young or starts with a Y automatically you have a nickname, Eric Young E-Y. I guess I wouldn’t want be the next guy in the bigs named Kirk Young…. Sorry, I got off the subject a bit, back to Wrigley and the emotion. With Z on the mound, you know that you are going to get your moneys worth one way or another. With the “Bayou Boys” really making a name for themselves, I could finally feel the chemistry building on this ball club. But most importantly we were putting together a pretty good homestand. We won four of our last five and three in a row. Could we finally we gaining some ground on the tanking Brewers? Can we break free of the injury plagued Redbirds? We were finally putting together some consecutive wins, all of this without our top bat in the lineup. Things were looking good, the Bunsen burner was on full blast and we were heatin’ up. Or so I thought….this is the week that was in the NL Central.
The Brewers had a tough assignment this week and were taking on the top dogs in the talented AL Central, the Tigers and the Twins, on the road. I think we all thought this would be a perfect time to gain some ground. But after getting no-hit on Tuesday, the Brewers bounced back and reeled off four straight wins. They beat the Tigers by one run in each of the next two games. It was looking as if Francisco Cordero was human as he was blowing saves left and right. But the AL Champs gave him the confidence he needed with two one run loses at home. The Brew Crew traveled to Minnesota to take on the Twins at the Baggiedome. What a miserable stadium. They took two out of three, and came incredibly close to sweeping the Twins. Justin Morneau saved us with a walk off in the ninth that just cleared the baggies. Prince “formerly knows as Grimace” Fielder, hit an inside the park home run during the final game of the series and played the rest of the afternoon with an oxygen mask. A tough road trip for the Brewers was nothing of the sort; they won four of six and gained a game in the NL Central.
The Chicago Cubs
Our beloved Cubbies played host to the Astros, the Mariners and the Padres. After a quick one game series with the Astros, and a 2-1 victory Ichiro and the Mariners came into town for a three game series. Not only does Ichiro Suzuki, have only Ichiro on the back of his jersey but the public address announcer at Wrigley only would only call him Ichiro….not his full name. I think it would be great if Cliff Floyd just had Cliff on the back of his jersey and made people announce him as that, just Cliff. Who knows, I don’t get it. The Mariners were coming in hot and stayed that way after game one. The Cubs took the next two, both one run victories. We all know the one run victory stat; this was a big confidence boost. The Padres arrived for a weekend series, and Mike Fontenot proved he belongs and wants to stay in the show. During Friday’s contest Fontenot drove in three of the four runs, and hit his second long ball of his career. D-Lee had four hits three of which were doubles, a career high. And Soriano hit a towering drive onto Waveland that he admired a little too much for the Padres. I thought it was great, and he was having a good time. But this would set the tone for the weekend and you know the rest. The Cubs would win game one but would drop the next two. Saturday in typical dramatic fashion, I mean we had it all. A fight, a no-no bid into the eighth and a Padre seven iron to win the game. Unreal, but it was an incredibly exciting game. What we don’t know is, what did “C-Y” say to D-Lee that set him off? He may be the most-mild mannered player in the game, something was said but I guess we will never know. Sunday was a debacle and we got crushed. The Padres were picking up Hill’s pitches and just having their own HR Derby at our expense. The Cubbies took four out of seven during the week. Not too bad, but it could have been better.
The St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards had a half-and-half road trip….half good and half bad, the Royals to start and the A’s to finish. The Royals took two out of three against the Cards and scored 28 runs in the three game series. In the rubber match they scored 17 runs, the Royals didn’t score 17 runs in the month of May. The Cards continued their losing ways when they arrived in Oakland losing the first game but rebounded and took the next two. Pitching was not the name of this series as 54 runs were scored between the two teams. The big blow came on Saturday when David Eckstein was put on the 15-day DL. He was leading the team with a .313 batting average and an OBP of .357. The Cards went 3-3 on the road trip and are tied with the Cubs in the NL Central race.
The Houston Astros
After leaving Wrigley on Monday night, the Astros played host to the A’s and the Mariners. Oakland took two out of three, but the Stros’ battled back and swept Ichiro Suzuki and the Seattle Mariners. If Carlos Lee could get any help, this team could be dangerous. But without any pitching and a supporting cast they will continue to drop in the Central. The Astros took four out of seven for the week and are eight games back in the Central. They are on a three game winning streak heading out west to visit the LA Angels of Burbank, Modesto, Folsom, Sacramento….sorry Anaheim.
The Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates continue to stick around and took four out of six this week. They took two out of three against the Rangers and did the same against Bridgeport. Talk about a team that is on a downward spiral, the White Sox have won 4 out of 16 in the month of June. I can’t imagine this team staying together much longer, especially since they are 10.5 games back in the tough AL Central. The Pirates will now hit the road for a series against the Mariners and the Angels. The Bucs are also 8 games back in the Central. As of right now we are 1.5 games better than the Pirates….hard to comprehend I know.
The Cincinnati Reds
If it wasn’t for the Texas Rangers, the Reds would have the worst record in baseball. The Reds took two out of six this week and it doesn’t look like it is going to get any easier as they travel to Oakland and Seattle. The Reds are a bad baseball team and need to rebuild. We are already hearing Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey’s names in the rumor mills. The Reds could get some young talent to help Harang and Arroyo. But as of right now they are a miserable baseball team….that gives the Cubs problems everytime we play them. Imagine that.
The Cubs are still in a strong position to make a run, but they need to string together more than three wins in a row. This team needs to stay healthy and out of the penalty box to have a shot. This division is still within reach and will be until it is mathematically impossible. Who’s in for the long haul???? I am.
NL Central Division Standings
- Brewers – 38-31/.551
- Cubs – 31-37/.456, 6.5 GB
- Cardinals – 30-36/.455, 6.5 GB
- Astros – 30-39/.435, 8 GB
- Pirates – 30-39/.435, 8 GB
- Reds – 27-43/.386, 11.5 GB
Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there. Happy Fathers Day to my Dad….Love you.
Until Next Time….But Always, Go Cubbies!!!