Tagged: Cubs

Today until July 6th will tell much about the NL Central

July 6th will be the makeup game between the First Place Brewers (36-32 as of Friday 6/16) and the Chicago Cubs (32-33 as of Friday 6/16).

The Brewers just completed a very tough schedule by winning 3 out of 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals which historically has been a tough place to play for them.

From now until July 6th, not one team at or above .500 will play Milwaukee. This includes San Diego, Pittsburgh, @ Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, Miami, and Baltimore (19 games).

The Cubs only have one series at home series from now until July 4th (14 games).

The reason why I say this is because there is a pretty eye opening reason why the Cubs are underachieving this year.

The Cubs before Friday’s game have a road record of 13-18. It seems like every time they turn a corner and look to go on a run, they negate it with a loss. They have NOT won a road series since April 24-26 at Pittsburgh.

The Brewers on the other had have the 3rd best road record in the NL at 19-13.

What these two teams do before July 6th might be telling. Hopefully for the Brewers, they can begin to separate themselves from the pack of the NL Central.

The kids from AAA (Brett Phillips, Lewis Brinson, and Josh Hader) have arrived already.

People say it’s still early but July 6th won’t be so early anymore. The Brewers have the best of both worlds. First place during a rebuild season. This has been the most fun I have had watching this baseball team since 2011.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!!

NL Division Series Preview

Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals All games on TBS

For the first time ever, one of baseball’s oldest rivalries meet each other in the playoffs for a trip to the NLCS.

The Cubs are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plans to be perennial playoff contenders while the Cardinals are the veterans who are always in the conversation of playoff contention.

The only thing I know for sure is that at some point someone is going to get hit by a pitch. Hopefully unlike the Wild Card game it won’t turn into this.

Both teams have their strengths. The Cubs are the better road team, have the better younger talent (Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Anthony Rizzo), and have the better offense.

Cardinals have the better overall team pitching while the Cubs have Jake Arrieta.

For the Cubs to win this series, Jon Lester (who will probably pitch twice) needs to pitch like what his contract is worth. While at times he has shown signs of that, he is not the best pitcher on this team. Jake Arrieta is only available for game 3 and possibly game 5 in the bullpen (which I think this series will go to).

For the Cardinals to win this series, they need to score much more consistently than they have had all year. For a team that won 100 wins which was the most in the majors, they were one of the worst scoring teams in baseball ranking 24th (0ut of 30) with 647 total runs (averaging 3.6 runs per game).

Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright are also big wild cards (no pun intended) in this series. If they play anything like they do when healthy, St. Louis will be a tough out. Wainwright will pitch out of the bullpen.

You also have to be concerned about the unpredictability of the Cubs bullpen which I have titled “bullpen roulette” since they are inconsistent depending on the day. You just don’t know what you get until you go to them.

Even Arrieta and Joe Maddon were honest in saying Wednesday they had no thought of using the bullpen. That is a telling admission that even the team knows the Cubs biggest weakness is their bullpen.

Since I am a rival of both teams, my heart says the Cubs because of the couple times St. Louis has broken the Brewers World Series dreams. My head says to go with St. Louis because you have to go with the team that always competes for a title, right? Brewers fans are split 50/50 on who they think will win this series and so am I.

Since I have to pick, and since all road teams have been successful so far in the playoffs for the first time since 1970, the slightest edge goes to the Cubs.

Cubs in 5

New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers All games on TBS

East coast vs West Coast. Biggie vs 2 Pac, Atlantic vs Pacific, #1 Market vs #2.

Mets vs Kershaw and Greinke.

That is what I feel is the key in this series in a nutshell.

The Mets before the trade deadline had fantastic young pitching but could not hit to save their lives. They before the trade deadline were ridiculed for having both their 3rd and 4th hitter batting under .250 even to the point of sports writers suggesting that MLB should investigate them for not spending money on better talent.

Then the Mets had traded for Carlos Gomez, got mad it got linked to the media, claimed they never traded or were interested in Carlos Gomez, and ended up acquiring Yoenis Cespedes. The anemic offense got a huge lift and surged into the playoffs over favorite NL East pick the Washington Nationals.

The concern is that as recently as the 2nd to last game of the season, the Mets got no hit on their own field by Max Scherzer. The Mets will get that similar kind of pitching at least three times this series from Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Kershaw is quickly gaining the title of great pitcher in the season until the playoffs where he pitches like the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 90’s. He has something to prove. If this Dodgers team does not make it out of the Division Series, you also have to start questioning if Don Mattingly is the right manager for the job.

Saying that, I don’t think the Mets have enough offense to beat the tandem of Kershaw/Greinke 2 times over a 5 game series.

635731841663930912-USATSI-8674320

Dodgers in 4

MLB Wild Card Preview

October means cooler weather, leaves falling, and baseball’s postseason!! Here is a preview of the Wild Card Games Tuesday and Wednesday:

Tuesday 10/6

Houston @ New York 7 PM (ESPN)

The Houston Astros are finally returning to the postseason. One of the most surprising teams may not have won the division but have a great young core.

Dallas Keuchel will be pitching on short rest. The southpaw has been fantastic posting a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA in 33 starts. Hopefully he will not get nervous playing on the big stage.

The trade that brought Carlos Gomez has helped to provide some veteran leadership to a young core of good players Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Jed Lowrie.

The Yankees have all of the postseason history. News today about CC Sabathia was surprising. For a team that returns to the postseason for the first time since 2012, they will have Masahiro Tanaka (12-7 3.51 ERA in 24 games) taking the mound.

The last time these two teams met this happened:

As it seems to happen a few times every season it involved Carlos Gomez. It will be interesting to see if there is still a little bad blood from this.

The Yankees are coming into this game losing 7 out of their last 8 games including avoiding a 4 game sweep against their rival Boston Red Sox at home. Not good.

Ironically in the video above Dallas Keuchel pitched a great game that in the Bronx tossing 7 scoreless innings in a 15-1 thumping.

You have one team happy to be here and one team trying to continue a tradition of greatness in October. In this game though I think Houston is not just happy to be here, they have something to prove (especially since losing out in the AL West division title). The Yankees while they have Alex Rodriguez and a core of veterans, are arguably the worst of all the postseason teams making it this year. And let’s be honest, they have steadily struggled since falling from the AL East division title picture to the last week of the season. You usually surge into the postseason, not limp.

I think Houston moves on

Wednesday 10/7

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh 7 PM TBS

Welcome back Chicago Cubs. On a side note: Its a shame that the three best teams in the baseball have to play each other where only one will make it to the NLCS.

This has to be the most intriguing of the Wild Card games. Both teams know each other. Both teams have traded wins all year. Jake Arrieta who in my mind should be the NL Cy Young winner has pitched amazing since June. He is 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA.

jake-arrieta-mlb-chicago-cubs-los-angeles-dodgers1-850x560

The Pirates will go with Gerrit Cole (19-8 2.60 ERA).

These two teams are very even in my opinion so that is why this game is so tough to predict. You have the Pirates vets like Neil Walker, Starling Marte, and Andrew McCutchen vs young Cubbies like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber. I think this will be a low scoring game and runs will be at a premium.

The Pirates play very well at home going 53-28. The Cubs are the best road team in baseball going 48-33. It actually might be a blessing in disguise that they are playing on the road. I think there is a chance the Cubs would have been playing a little tight in this game if it was at home.

Arrieta is going to have to pitch deep into this game because as some people who know me, I nicknamed the Cubs bullpen “#bullpenroulette” because you never know what you will get when Joe Maddon goes to them.

Cole does not necessarily have to pitch deep into this game because the Pirates bullpen is the best in baseball. The team leads the league with a 2.67 ERA.

I think if you have these teams play this series every day in October, it would be 15-15 heading into a tiebreaker on October 31st. They are that even. If the Cubs don’t have to go deep into their bullpen, I see them moving on.

I will go with the Cubs.

The Sights of April Baseball

Gotta love baseball in April. From freezing is 30 degree weather to being comfortable in wearing a fleece at the end of the month, spring in the Midwest is fickle. The league has probably set the record for the most snowed out games both in Denver and Minneapolis!! At least I got a rain out April 10th game moved to a 1:20 July 30th game! 🙂

Still its fun to know that warmer temperatures, the smell of grills going, and the happiness that people have in the summer months is right around the corner!

Here is some sights and highlights of the games I went to in April. Happy May days!!

April 9th Cubs-Brewers game

IMG_0235IMG_0236

IMG_0238IMG_0239

Highlights

April 12 Cubs-Giants Game

IMG_0240IMG_0241

Highlights

April 18 Brewers-Giants Game

IMG_0246IMG_0247

IMG_0248IMG_0249

IMG_0252IMG_0256

Highlights

April 29th Cubs-Padres Game