As of right now, September 16th at 10:45 pm, the Cubs lead the NL Central by 4 games–the Brewers are in second place and the Cardinals are in 3rd at 5 games back. Earlier in the week, like on Monday (today is Saturday), the Cardinals looked like Cole Trickle at the end of Days of Thunder, just headed for the finish line and likely to overtake both the Brew Crew and the former Lovable Losers for 1st place in the whole thing. The Cubs just got Swiffered big time by the Brewers, who sent Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson, and the 15-year old bat-boy named Zach Davies who the Brewers send to the bump every 5th day, all to the mound and dismantled the Cubs like a T-1000 going into the lava at the end of Terminator 2 (top 5 flick of all time, get at me if you disagree). He doesn’t likely own a razor and probably has a hard time buying booze, but he can throw a baseball and people have a hard time hitting it, with the way it moves and all. Especially in the second half. The Cubs were outscored 20-3 in the series. No surprise–this is the 2017 Cubs. They pile up runs against the likes of the Braves, Pirates, and Reds, but when they face good pitching, they all of a sudden become the offensive version of Henry Rowengartner AFTER his arm goes back to normal. Along with the Cubs now suspect bullpen, and this sweep by the Brewers, in my eyes at least, they’re probably toast. And don’t get me started on their “closer” Wade Davis. He is a train wreck. How he is 30 for 30 in saves is beyond me. He throws about 30 pitches each time he goes out, seems to walk guys non-stop by throwing needless junk in the dirt, and to compare him to Corey Kluber, if the Klubot has video-game stuff, and we continue to talk about pitchers in this sense, Wade Davis is the Oregon Trail on one of those green-screen looking computers on an old-ass Apple II you used in grade school¾that is, if you went to school back in my day. If you are a young millennial, he’s an iPhone 4. No group of guys in any bullpen since the All-Star break has walked more guys than the Chicago Cubs. NONE! Do the relievers have dysentery?
But then the tornado switches directions and all of a sudden the Cubs handle the Cardinals with ease. I mean, the fellas in STL successfully rescued their cat, Tommy Pham is legally blind and is the best hitter right now in the NL Central, Wacha and Lynn and Luke Weaver seem to be throwing well. All sounds good, yeah? Don’t worry, the toilet is about to flush. Dexter Fowler came off the DL today, and then good old Wade hit him in the hand in the ninth. Took one at 96 mph, then made an audible noise to signal that really hurt and walked down the line, letting out a gasp of you gotta be kidding me! Big shocker right there, cause Wade’s control isn’t suspect or anything. Randal Grichuk had a good August, .258/.296/.538, 5HR 13RBI, but his September sucks: batting 46 points lower and slugging over 100 points lower. Grichuk is just one of probably a half dozen guys, including Stephen Piscotty and Kolten Wong, who have all hung out down in Memphis and Palm Beach this season. Jedd Gyorko is back from the DL, hamstring of course, just like everyone else in MLB. With these guys, I swear it’s either hamstrings or oblique injuries. I mean, I have a copy of Abs of Steel on VHS, want it? Maybe eat some more potato chips and your hammies won’t pull and cramp up or whatever. I mean, if I have to see Yoenis Cespedes limp around the bases again on his 4-year $110 million bad legs, I’m gonna punch myself in the face. He looks worse than Kirk Gibson did when he hit that 2-run home run off Dennis Eckersley in the ’88 World Series¾and that’s when he’s “healthy.”
Back to business, STL was 2 games back and coming in hot, and then all of a sudden the Cubs don’t look like a traveling circus slideshow. Yes, I said SLIDE, as in slide into those DMs Willson Contreras. However, The Cardinal Way could kick in at a moments notice and we could all see another David Freese and David Eckstein. Just remember, the 2006 Cardinals were 83-78 and won the World Series.
My pick for the division in June was the Brewers, who at one point led the NL in home runs and were like 5th in stolen bases. All good qualities when you have the best starters in the division and the best bullpen. Ya know, Anthony Swarzak and Corey Knebel. And Josh Hader looks like Andrew Miller out there with the way he throws. But then good Lord Jimmy Nelson broke his shoulder during a pickoff attempt. Not him trying to nab a guy on first, but he was on first. John Lackey tried to pick him off, guess he thought the 6 foot 6 inch 250 pounder nicknamed Big Sweat was gonna move on ‘em (guessing he got that name from his local BBQ joint). And side note, coaches, you know, you guys with all the stats and data, moratorium on sliding head first, especially for pitchers who look as un-athletic as Peyton Manning did in the pocket. True story, my girlfriend asked me “is something wrong with Manning, like Forrest Gump wrong?” Everyone is breaking fingers this year and missing 6-8 weeks. Just a few weeks ago, Kris Bryant was “powering through with a strained pinkie.” This isn’t real, right? Broken fingers sliding into bases is the NFL equivalent of beating your spouse and getting suspended for drug use and/or being part of “an incident at a nightclub.” It’s everywhere! Coaches, tells these guys to stop. Jimmy Nelson might be the first person on earth to have shoulder surgery, season-ending mind you, because he slid into a base. I mean, how hard are these bases? Like physically, are they cement or something? You see guys like Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton damn near break their legs in half on first. Nuts, but that’s another convo for another 6-pack.
The Brewers lost to the Fish tonight 7-4. Little Zach gave up 6 in 4 innings to a Marlins line-up that popped him for 8 hits, 3 being of the extra base variety. Surprising and not surprising at the same time, as this September, the Brew Crew manhandled the Nationals by taking 3 of 4, then were promptly swept by a Reds team that has a $100 million pitcher with an ERA of a touchdown WITH A 2-POINT CONVERSION! He’s their ace, man. Maybe the Reds decide the outcome of the division, as they play all three teams involved in this NL Central race¾next to last week of the season they play the Cards at The Great American Ballpark, then the last week of the season they head to Miller Park, then to the North Side.
My guess for the division–the Cubs. They had the easiest schedule in all of baseball in the second half, so that’s set them up for this 4 game lead as they head into the homestretch. They have to beat their division in these end-of-year head to head match-ups to win this thing, teams they see a lot and should be well equipped to handle. And they haven’t had any serious team injuries. But also, a UFO could fly down and beam me up with a laser beam and do tests on me, and the Pirates could win the division when I get back and I still wouldn’t be surprised by any of it.
Either way, how this thing ends is beyond me. I can’t tell if this division is competitive or if it’s the equivalent of potty train 3 kids at once. Whoever makes the poopy first wins. And if you poop your pants, then you lose.