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Brewers (45-41, -8.5) at Cubs (47-40, -7)
by alex ciepley
At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
[Alex]: Prior. Wood. Sosa. The Cubs still have a few guys banged up (Borowski and Gonzalez being the most prominent), but at last they have their rotation intact and their most important offensive player in the fold. For Zambrano and Clement, Lee and Ramirez, the lonely days are over. That the Cubs are still within solid grasp of the postseason despite losing so much of the Big Three's seasons is a minor miracle. Winning the division is a very tough task - and highly dependant on the Cardinals stumbling - but winning the Wild Card is every bit conceivable. All the Cubs can try to do about their situation is win.
Take a look at the lines for the Brewers starters. Not bad! I'd argue that Ben Sheets enters the second-half as your Cy Young leading candidate, but the rest of the supporting cast has some surprisingly good numbers as well. As opposed to years past, this series is not a cakewalk.
[Christian:] Man, those three days over the break are really long and boring. I actually watched a couple innings of the AAA All-Star game last night to get a little fix, but it didn't really help.
This Milwaukee series is going to be a challenging one. In the comments, Neal pointed out that the Brewers have played the Cubs tough recently, and it's true. Last year, despite ending the season 20 games behind the Cubs, Milwaukee won 6 of the 16 games the two teams played. So far this year, the vastly improved Brewer team has swept the Cubs at Wrigley North, and the two teams hook up 14 more times this season (as opposed to only two more Cubs-Cardinals games) so the road to the NL Central title, one way or the other, is going to go through Milwaukee.
Ginter: 5-10, 500/583/1700, 3 HR
Podsednik: 6-10, 600/600/700, 4 K
Jenkins: 3-10, 300/364/600, 1 HR, 3 K
Helms: 3-13, 231/286/308, 8 K
Cubs vs. Brewers Bullpen
Alou vs. Burba: 6-23, 261/393/522, 2 HR, 5 BB, 5 K
Sosa vs. Vizcaino: 2-12, 167/286/417, 1 HR, 5 K
Macias vs. Burba: 2-10, 200/333/200
Sosa vs. Burba: 5-35, 143/189/314, 2 HR, 14 K
Walker vs. Burba: 2-14, 143/143/214
Grudzielanek vs. Burba: 1-15, 067/067/067
Brewers vs. Cubs Bullpen
Grieve vs. Hawkins: 6-15, 400/471/467
Jenkins vs. Farnsworth: 2-10, 200/333/500, 1 HR
Spivey vs. Rusch: 3-11, 273/333/455
Counsell vs. Rusch: 3-13, 231/231/308
Helms vs. Rusch: 1-11, 091/167/182, 3 K