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Cubs in the rearview


They've gone 8-5 since the Big Z/Barrett dustup, including two wins at our place. I'm a little perturbed to have not gained any ground on them during our big series win in Detroit, especially since I think a lot of us expected a bit of a tailspin after that and Ramirez going down.

 

They've got three tough ones this weekend against the Pads(athough they miss Peavy) but a bit of a soft schedule between now and the All-Star Game (although the Crew always plays them tough at Wrigley).

 

How close do you think they will be to the lead by then? I think our schedule should provide some padding of the lead between now and then, personally, but it feels like Pie and Soriano are turning it up a bit.

 

(And yes, I was panicking about the Cards just two weeks ago, too)

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The Cubs are clearly better than the other 4 teams in the division. I think it's fair to be worried about them.

 

Also, the Cubs have the resources to get a big-time player at the deadline, so they will likely get a lot better in a month or two.

 

 

Actually, it's kind of crazy to not be worried about the Cubs, considering that they have a much better pythagorean record than the Brewers and have the potential to improve a lot.

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Heres a better stat for u. After the all star break, the brewers only play 4 Teams that currently have a record above .500, Mets, D-Backs, Braves, Padres. I feel pretty good about our chances after the allstar break with the talent we have only getting more experienced with Gallardo and Braun and the other guys just getting better. We may not play any tough teams but if we get into the playoffs after beating easier teams, the young guys will have confidence they can beat anyone.
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in this division, I think the .500 is less of a touchstone than normal!

 

That's the part I don't understand. Do you think that no teams will finish with a winning record?

 

If the Brewers (36-30) just win half of their remaining games, they would be on pace for 84 wins.

 

For the Cubs (30-35) to overtake Milwaukee, they'd have to play the remainder of the season at nearly a 57% clip (55-42).

 

 

I don't see the Brewers playing sub-.500 baseball over the remainder of the season. I also don't see anyone else in the division winning 85+ games. Trades and injuries could drastically re-shape the race....but I just can't bring myself to hit the panic button every time a team wins 2-3 more games than expected over a fortnight.

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Milwaukee is at least a week-long losing streak AND a week long winning streak by either the Cubs or Cardinals away from dropping from 1st place. Even during this incredibly rough stretch, they've pretty much treaded water with the rest of the division.

 

Let's put it another way - if the Brewers play just .500 baseball for 2 months (56 games, say 28 -28 ) , a team 5.5 games out would have to play at around a .580 clip just to catch them. Obviously, if Milwaukee gets back to playing baseball even at a slightly winning pace, teams would have to win even more. The cubs and cards current winning percentages are hovering around .460 - they really haven't done anything to indicate that they're primed for a prolonged hot streak, they got closer to Milwaukee because the Brewers have struggled so much lately.

 

A month ago I remember Cub fans preaching that there were still 120 games left to be played and that there's plenty of time to make up ground - they're basically right where they were a month ago, and now there are about 95 games left to be played...still a lot of baseball, but IMO the rest of the division missed out on a golden opportunity to reel Milwaukee back into the pack while it played its toughest portion of their schedule.

 

To make a long story short, Milwaukee's hot start gave them plenty of wiggle room to go through some tough times - they've gone through those tough times, and if the worst is behind them, it will be VERY tough for another team in the NL Central to make a run at them.

 

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Not sure how active the Cubs are gonna be when the trade deadline rolls around - I have a feeling that until the team gets a new owner, the powers that be that are running the team (the trib) are hamstrung in adding payroll, since they technically can't sign off on any increased expense to the team. it's kind of been a developing story down here in Chicago. If money were no object to the Cubs, why aren't players like Zambrano and Barrett locked up longterm yet?

 

The Cubs roster is full of contracts that other teams get ill over when considering trading with them - Unless they can eat portions of some of those contracts, and can take on additional salary, I don't see the Cubs improving via trade. They've made a ton of moves by calling up some of their minor leaguers already, if they continue to underperform, you could see a firesale from them at the end of July.

 

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Heres a better stat for u. After the all star break, the brewers only play 4 Teams that currently have a record above .500, Mets, D-Backs, Braves, Padres. I feel pretty good about our chances after the allstar break with the talent we have only getting more experienced with Gallardo and Braun and the other guys just getting better. We may not play any tough teams but if we get into the playoffs after beating easier teams, the young guys will have confidence they can beat anyone.

 

Holy cow, not only then but now! It's actually 5 teams though.

 

We don't play a winning tema until after All Star now. As of today we have 30 series left. Only 6 of them are against teams that are currently above .500. (We play Arizona twice) Of course things can change, but it's a good place to be.

 

The 5 +.500 teams are San Diego, Mets, Phillies, Arizona and Atlanta.

 

Of these 6 series, 5 of them are at home! We've played the others on the road already and will play Arizona on the road too.

 

So, this is something to really look forward to over all. We've already played teams that today have a winning record 7 times. 5 of those 7 have been on the road. We've lost 5 of those series and won 2. One home and one away. We were only swept once!

 

I think we all might hvae over reacted some to the "rocky" stretch. It was a lot of good teams one after another and that really mounts on a team.

 

Look forward to a nice summer. Also, the winning teams we have to play are spaced out some.

 

I almost think these facts need a thread....

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If the cards and cubs feel they are in it, they have the money to make a splash. Hopefully if they do, we can follow suit.

 

OK. Who will be out there at the trade deadline? Gagne? I really don't know...

 

Obviously the Cubs and Cards have huge holes to fill. I'm just hoping for a trade-deadline bust for the Cubs/Cards. Mortagage the future for all I care.

 

Another bullpen arm (mainly a lefty) would be on my short wishlist for the Brewers. Oh, and dump Mench.

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The Cubs will be better than they have been. How much better remains to be seen. They were so bad last year it would be a lot to expect one great aquisition and a couple pretty average ones to make them actually good. Their starting pitching is pretty average and the bullpen is nothing special. Their offense still seems to rely too heavily on a couple guys for them to put together the type of extended run they will most likely have to in order to catch the Brewers. Provided the doomsayers are incorrect about the Brewers imminent demise.

I'm not very up to speed on their minor league system so I don't know who these trading chips some are talking about are. I do know, despite the hype it gets every year, they still have not produced very many good major league players in the last few years. I doubt they have so much minor leaguer talent to trade that they could afford to do so without hurting the team down the road. Whether that matters to them or not remains to be seen.

Then agian I hate them like I do the Yankees so I know full well my opinion of both teams is less objective than it should be.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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Of these 6 series, 5 of them are at home! We've played the others on the road already and will play Arizona on the road too.

 

So, this is something to really look forward to over all. We've already played teams that today have a winning record 7 times. 5 of those 7 have been on the road. We've lost 5 of those series and won 2. One home and one away. We were only swept once!

 

I think we all might hvae over reacted some to the "rocky" stretch. It was a lot of good teams one after another and that really mounts on a team.

 

I've been saying that exact thing for a while now. This stretch was the most difficult of the season. I don't think any team would have fared very well. Perhaps better than the Brewers did but not to any significant degree.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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Brauns - I think 2 of those 6 series you reference are on the road. One against the D-Backs, and we play the Braves in Atlanta the weekend of Sep. 22

 

But you do make a good point and I am optimistic about the rest of the season.

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OK. Who will be out there at the trade deadline? Gagne? I really don't know...

 

Who would want what the Brewers have to offer? Realistically they won't be giving away pitching or significant prospects. I'm sure Melvin might trade Mench without blinking an eye. Problem is only two types of teams trade players. Buyers wouldn't want him because he doesn't really add much to a playoff caliber team. Sellers usuallt are rebuilding and who would want him as a part of a rebuilding project? I don't think the Brewers will be overly interested in trading away significant prospects since small market teams just can't afford to do that very often. Given this team is in the begginning of a couple year run they might be more hesitant than if they were at the end of said run.

There needs to be a King Thames version of the bible.
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I think the schedule's a good point, too, but I guess I tend to gravitate towards things like an under .500 Twins team that always plays us tough, road trips to the Brew Crew's Black Hole aka PNC Park, four head-to-heads against the Cards and Cubs (three of those on the road), etc

 

This is a different Brewers' team this year, though, gotta keep reminding myself of that

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As of today we have 30 series left. Only 6 of them are against teams that are currently above .500. (We play Arizona twice) Of course things can change, but it's a good place to be.

 

This is nice to look forward to, but what does the remaining schedule look like for the Cubs/Cardinals? They obviously have at least one more above .500 team (..us) to face, but I can't imagine their schedules being that much different?

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Don't look now but we are 8-7 in our last 15 games. It might seem like we've played horrible recently but we've kept our heads above water since the Braves series.

 

I'm glad someone said that. Personally I believe that the Brewers have righted the ship, so to speak. They are by no means playing as well as we all would like them to, but they have at least stabilized after a rough stretch. With some nice homestands coming up I expect them to be 10 games over .500 within 30 days.

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it's kind of been a developing story down here in Chicago. If money were no object to the Cubs, why aren't players like Zambrano and Barrett locked up longterm yet?

 

If your logic is that the Cubs won't add payroll because it's clear they're not spending money, I have to disagree with it. They could still pick up a rental player that makes a lot of dough for whom they would have no obligations when they team is actually sold (after the season.)

 

For the Crew to win 88 games, they just have to play at the same pace as they have all season. For the Cubs to catch that, they have to play at a .597 clip the rest of the season. They have a great line-up, and have been blessed with better than expected pitching. But I think sooner or later that pitching will come down to earth. I think it already has to some degree. Lilly and Marquis are starting to show a little more closer-to-career stats than previously, and Hill.....well I'll just hope he can't keep that up.

 

I am concerned about the Cubs. I think it will be close, and that's why I think the Crew/Cubs series will be big. It's more than bragging rights this time. And for some reason I think we actually play better at Wrigley against them than at the venerable Keg. Let's hope that's the case in a few weeks and in August.

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It's not necessarily taking on payroll that I'm saying the cubs can't do - it seems that the Cubs organization is currently a frozen asset, and it looks like it may be more difficult than normal to change the makeup of their roster, whether that be a contract or a trade. I can see their rationale for not extending Barrett - although they really have nothing in their farm system at catcher to replace him with, but the whole Zambrano contract extension is fishy. He accepted an offer given to him by Hendry, but the trib hasn't approved the deal, since it obviously guarantees money in future years.

 

If anything, I think Hendry's trying to figure out what to do with his roster with all these recent callups from their minor leagues - he did a great job of throwing the bank at any player who wanted to play in Chicago, now Pinella's been stuck with trying to field a team with a roster full of 2nd baseman and corner outfielders.

 

They could very well trade for a player in a walk year, much like Texas did with Carlos Lee last year - I think they will have a difficult time putting together pieces to trade back to teams looking for prospects and inexpensive pre arby players compared to the other teams looking to be buyers at the trading deadline, though.

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I think the Cubs are pretty low on prospects these days. The guys who are worth anything (Theriot, Pie, a few pitchers) are already in the majors and generally essential to what success the Cubs have had. They traded away a bunch of good pitching prospects to the Marlins to get Juan Pierre and Derrek Lee, most of whom have seen major league time and been somewhat successful (Sergio Mitre chief among them).

 

Like the Brewers, the Cubs have way too many corner outfielders, but again like the Brewers, those guys they have aren't worth much in trade. How much would you give away for Jacque Jones, Cliff Floyd or Matt Murton? None of those guys are really starter-caliber players these days, and with the Cubs' general focus on experience over talent, they'd be more likely to trade Murton, who's probably actually less valuable in trade than Floyd, who at least has a good bat.

 

I'm worried more about what the Cubs have on the field than what they might get. Lee and Soriano are always dangerous, Pie is for real, and the rest just have to get on base for them/get base hits to knock them in. I hope they slide with three infield spots taken by backup infielders (Theriot, DeRosa, Izturis and Fontenot) while Ramirez is on the DL so we can gain more ground on them before he comes back.

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