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Bless Your Hearts, Schedule Makers
by Phil Bencomo
Thankfully, no game today. I can only take so many consecutive blowouts. Lou and company better spend the day off tightening up screws, remembering how to count, learning the rule that says you score runs by getting runners to home plate not by leaving them on the diamond. That sort of thing.
And so the Cubs enter June seven games under at 22-29, but only six games out of first. Such is the NL Central.
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There's still time to turn the season around, and the forthcoming series against Milwaukee (June 4-6) is an opportunity to make up some ground. I only hope it's just coincidence that those games fall right in the middle of National Headache Awareness Week.
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The Brewers, who feasted on bad teams early in the year, may soon make another such run, says Jim Molony at Brewers.com:
There are a few factors, however, that would seem to suggest a turnaround could be coming for the Brewers. Milwaukee is 18-8 at home, the best home record in the National League and third best in baseball behind the Red Sox and Angels (tied at 18-7).
There's another factor that could help the Brewers. After playing six consecutive series against teams with winning records, the schedule over the next two months appears to be a bit less formidable.
After Wednesday's game against the Braves, the Brewers begin a stretch during which only six of their next 38 games are against teams with winning records (based on records through Tuesday).
Milwaukee has a three-game Interleague series at Detroit (June 12-14) followed by another at Minnesota (June 15-17). The Tigers began play Wednesday in second place in the American League Central with a record of 30-21, while the Twins were fourth at 26-25.
The stretch also includes series against Texas (currently in last place in the AL West), San Francisco (tied for last in the NL West), Kansas City (last in the AL Central) and Washington (last in the NL East). Twenty-six of Milwaukee's next 45 games are at home.
That makes the Milwaukee series of even greater importance.
The inhabitants, a k a Cubs players, just got through holding a players-only meeting in the wake of what might have been their worst-played game of the season, a 9-4 loss to the Florida Marlins the previous night.
The players meeting broke up about 4:15 p.m., at which time Cubs president John McDonough, general manager Jim Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush and club director Crane Kenney marched through the clubhouse and into Piniella's office for a meeting that lasted nearly two hours.
"Hopefully this is a bottoming-out game," Piniella said. "We didn't hit. We didn't pitch. We ran the bases good tonight."
That was a bit of morbid humor based on the poor play of Tuesday, when the Cubs didn't run the bases so "good." But on a Wednesday night with the wind blowing out, their hitters managed just 5 singles, while the Marlins hit 4 homers, 3 against Cubs starting pitcher Ted Lilly (4-3).