The Brewers' magic number to clinch the NL Central is four.
Thus it is possible for Milwaukee to accomplish this feat at Wrigley Field this week. Personally, I'd rather make them wait, especially because the Brewers are prone to having low-key celebrations like this one:
Anyway, here are some ways this can be accomplished.
The Cardinals play the Phillies tonight in Philadelphia and then play the Mets on Tuesday and Wednesday night at home. St. Louis also plays the Mets on Thursday, but we're only concerned here with what happens at Wrigley during the Brewers series. Also, the fact that the Cubs/Brewers game is a day game on Wednesday means that St. Louis will know what they have to do to stay alive before their game starts that evening.
Scenarios to avoid watching the Brewers celebrate at Wrigley:
If the Cubs get swept, the Cardinals must win all three games to avoid being eliminated. While the Brewers are a better team than the Cubs this year, the Cubs did win three of four from Milwaukee on their previous visit in June.
If the Cubs win one of the three games, the Cardinals must win two of their three.
If the Cubs win two of the three games, the Cardinals must win just one of their three.
And if the Cubs somehow sweep Milwaukee, the Cardinals would go into Thursday with a magic number in the division no less than one, no matter what they do. And, remember that the Cardinals trail the Braves in the wild card race by just 3.5 games and still have a shot at that playoff berth.
Castro SS, Barney 2B, Ramirez 3B, Baker RF, Soriano LF, Byrd CF, Peña 1B, Soto C, Coleman P
I imagine there will be some comments about this lineup. However, keep in mind: there is a lefthander going, and this game actually does mean something to the Brewers.
Hart RF, Morgan CF, Braun LF, Fielder 1B, Weeks 2B, McGehee 3B, Hairston SS, Lucroy C, Narveson P
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Casey Coleman||2-8||19||15||0||0||0||0||72.2||95||59||57||8||41||60||7.06||1.87|
|2011 - Chris Narveson||10-7||28||26||0||0||0||0||151.1||151||75||74||14||57||120||4.40||1.37|
This is about as big a pitching mismatch as you're going to see. Chris Narveson has made five career starts against the Cubs and won them all, with a 2.51 ERA and 33 strikeouts and just six walks in 28.2 innings. Somehow, though, several current Cubs have decent averages against him: Geovany Soto (5-for-16, .313), Jeff Baker (5-for-13, .385, one HR) and Starlin Castro (4-for-11, .364). So maybe there's hope.
Casey Coleman has three career starts vs. Milwaukee, two decent (including one on August 28 in Milwaukee, even though the Cubs lost) and one bad. Keep him away from these two, though: Ryan Braun (7-for-10, two doubles, one HR) and Corey Hart (5-for-7, one HR).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7:05 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.