Entering a crucial four-game series with the Brewers on Monday, the Cubs held a perilous one-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central. Pundits across the board were claiming that this would be the series where the Brewers finally took over first place and claimed their spot as the best team in the National League.
As Lee Corso might say, not so fast my friend. Chicago swept the Brewers in Milwaukee, defeating both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets on consecutive nights and finished the sweep off with an 11-4 drubbing last night. The Cubs now sit a comfortable five games ahead of the Brewers and also got Rich Harden his first win in a Cubbies uniform. Significantly it is now August, and teams now only have about fifty games left in the season. Losing four games in four days is a huge problem at any point in the season, but this is a particularly tough way to slide back. The four straight losses also pushes Milwaukee closer to the pack in the National League. The Brewers have 60 wins, but the Phillies have 59 and the Mets and Marlins have 58. Even Arizona has 56 victories. No longer can we just assume that the runner up in the Central will have a lock on the Wild Card (despite my claim yesterday that that was the case).
We’ll have to see how each team responds to the big series this week, but for the time being, the Cubs have absolutely distanced themselves as the best team both in their division and in the league as a whole.