Today's lesson is about the theory of relativity, baseball-style.
In other words, how good or bad the Cubs are in relation to other teams, and it doesn't take an Einstein to figure it out.
With their Sunday victory against the Reds, the Cubs are 19-7 against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh this season. Throw in Houston and Cleveland, two other also-rans, and you have a total record of 32-13.
So why aren't the Cubs contending?
Against likely playoff-bound teams St. Louis, Philadelphia, Colorado and Detroit, their combined record is 11-25.
In other words, they don't deserve to be playing into October with those teams.
OK, Mr. Einstein van Dyck, let me give you a little lesson -- this time in baseball history, and why the regular season and the postseason are two different animals. And we don't have to go back too far in baseball history for this; all we need to do is look at the records of two recent World Series champions.
In 2005, the White Sox were 6-10 in the regular season against the two teams they faced in the American League playoffs, the Red Sox and Angels. Should have been an easy time for those two teams, right? Nope, the White Sox went 7-1 against them in October.
In 2006, the Cardinals played all three of their postseason opponents during the regular season (Padres, Mets and Tigers). Combined record? 4-11. Combined postseason record vs. the same three teams? 11-5. And that was after the Cardinals nearly blew a seven-game lead with 12 games remaining in the regular season (losing seven in a row while the Astros were winning nine straight), and had to count on Houston losing on the season's final day to avoid having to play a makeup game the day after.
Point: while the task ahead of the Cubs is still daunting, if they keep winning, who knows what might happen? Stranger things have happened. Just ask the 2007 Rockies.
Oh, and today is the one-year anniversary of some game vs. the Astros in Milwaukee that you might remember.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Ryan Dempster||9-8||26||26||0||0||0||0||163.0||166||86||73||19||59||140||4.03||1.38|
|2009 - Jeff Suppan||6-9||25||25||0||0||0||0||135.1||168||86||76||20||66||65||5.05||1.73|
Jeff Suppan has pitched three times vs. the Cubs this year, with two losses and a no-decision (the Cubs won that one, too). In 16.2 innings he's posted a 4.86 ERA against the Cubs in 2009. Derrek Lee, who's been hot lately, loves hitting against Suppan: .429 (21-for-49), seven doubles, four HR. D-Lee is three RBI short of 100 this year -- tonight would be a good time to reach that milestone.
Ryan Dempster also has three starts vs. his opponent tonight, the Brewers. He's 2-1 despite a 5.21 ERA in those three outings. Dempster and Suppan faced each other on April 12 in Milwaukee, the game where Reed Johnson made the great catch to rob Prince Fielder of a grand slam. (And I thought about that and thought, "That was this year? Seems like about five years ago.) Fielder has hit a pair of HR in his career vs. Dempster, but the Brewer who hits him best is Jason Kendall (.413, 19-for-46). Incidentally, with Fielder's next RBI he will set the Brewers' single season club record; he is currently tied (126) with current Astros manager Cecil Cooper. Let's hope he sets that record starting Friday in a series against the Astros.
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Please visit our SB Nation Brewerss site Brew Crew Ball. But be careful over there; they've been known to ban Cubs fans in the blink of an eye.
Once again, just two overflow threads today -- 8:15 and 9:15 pm CDT. If there's a need for another one, please post as a FanShot.
Discuss amongst yourselves.