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It is Sunday afternoon, Sept. 23, and I just finished watching the Chicago Cubs blank the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0. I also found out the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Atlanta Braves. That means the Cubs are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers in the race to the National League Central division title.
The Cubs have six games remaining on their regular-season schedule. All six are on the road. They have three games against the Florida Marlins (Sept. 26-28), and then they conclude the 2007 regular season with a three-game weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds. Barring some 1969-like meltdown, the Cubs should win the NL Central and make the playoffs.
The good news for us Cubs fans is the team is getting hot at exactly the right time. They have won six of their last seven games. So far during this final month of the season, they are 15-8. Last month, I wrote that whatever team wanted to win this division had to start playing their best baseball during September. The Cubs have responded. Milwaukee and St. Louis havent.
The Cubs bats are starting to catch fire as well. In the last 30 days, the team has hit 40 home runs. Alfonso Soriano has 13 of those, and Aramis Ramirez has eight. Derrek Lee has added five to that total. These are the three guys who are going to have to carry the offensive torch if the Cubs have any chance of advancing beyond the first round of the postseason. Im hoping they stay as hot as they are now (or better), and the pitching staff stays strong and healthy. If thats the case, well have a legitimate chance.
It certainly would be nice as a Cubs fan and a sports columnist to be writing about them in positive light come October. Will it happen? Only time will tell.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue