Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
Magic Countdown: 4
by Derek Smart
The subtitle on the novelized version is: Cubs 2, CC 0.
The one thing the Brewers have been able to count on since acquiring CC Sabathia has been a victory on the day he pitched. Sadly for the Brewers and their fans, the only two times that hasn't been the case have both been when they could least afford it: against the Cubs.
What I'm curious to see over the next two days is if the same sort of downward spiral occurs for Milkwaukee in this series, as occurred in the four-game drubbing they received at the Cubs' hands up north in August. Both sets began with tight games featuring the best pitching the Crew had to offer. Both of those hard-faught contests went the Cubs' way, and last time around, the Men of Beer folded in the aftermath.
In the end, it doesn't matter much, at least as far as the Cubs' fortunes are concerned. Even as an ever cynical fan, always looking out for whatever possible failure lurks around the next corner, I have to admit that this thing is as good as done. Glancing at the BP PECOTA-based playoff odds this morning, I saw the number all the way up to 99.99767, which means that the simulations had roughly 23 instances where the Cubs did not make the playoffs. Out of 1,000,000. Is it a for sure, for sure thing? Mathmatically, no, but considering the machinations that would have to occur between at least four different teams - that includes the Cubs - for such a horror show to occur, and really, I think it's okay to start thinking about how the postseason lines up.
Of course, the quicker this gets wrapped up, the quicker guys like Lee, Ramirez and Soto can start getting some extended rest. Get this done on Thursday, and you can let Z and Harden throw two or three innings in each of their next starts, just to stay sharp and get their feet wet, while keeping them fresh. Finish it tomorrow, and Marmol and Wood can relax a bit while you sort out the last spot or two for your playoff bullpen. End it before the week is out, and Fukudome can get some sorely needed at bats to hopefully get right before the stage gets exponentially larger.
First things first, though, as tonight features a less than favorable matchup between Ben Sheets and Jason Marquis. I won't say anything nice about Marquis here, because I haven't in forever and, near as I can tell, his performance has been the better for it. So, I say unto you Jason, that your mother was a hampster, and your father reeks of elderberries.
Now, go out there tonight and make that number 2, boys!