Despite the major’s best home record during the regular season (57 wins), Milwaukee hasn’t figured out how to beat St. Louis at Miller Park, especially when it counts.
The Cards’ dominating 12-3 win in Game 2 is crucial not only because it ties the series 1-1, but because it swings the momentum heavily in St. Louis’ favor with the series shifting to Busch Stadium for the next three games.
Winning road games has been the Brewers’ Achilles heel all year (39-42), as was evident during its two losses at Arizona during the NLDS.
To make matters worse, Chris Carpenter, fresh off a complete game shutout against the Phils and publicly disrespected by Zach Greinke, goes in Game 3 against the Brewers top-gun Yovani Gallardo, who appears the Brewers last hope to send the series back to Milwaukee.
Although a single victory for the Brewers in St. Louis returns the series back to Miller Park, you can forget any notion of a home-field advantage for the Beer Makers.
The Cardinals have won 7 of its last 9 meetings against the Brewers in Milwaukee, including a tense 3-game sweep during the first week of September that propelled St. Louis to its historic 10.5 game comeback against the Braves to win the Wild Card.
So it seems unlikely Milwaukee would win consecutive games at home against St. Louis, especially under the pressure of a Game 6 & 7.
In all likelihood, advancing the to the World Series for Milwaukee means winning its upcoming road trip. How’s that for home-field advantage.
However, for just the second time since 1995 three of the four Division Series are headed to a decisive Game 5, the first of which begins tonight at Yankee Stadium.
The last time this happened was 2001. Aside from Atlanta sweeping Houston 3-0, Arizona defeated St. Louis in five games, Seattle bested Cleveland 3-2, and New York rallied from an 0-2 hole to take the series against Oakland.
But the excitement was short lived with both league championship series ending in five games: Arizona defeating Atlanta 4-1, and New York doing the same against Seattle.
Conversely, under the shadow of 9/11, the postseason closed with one of the more memorable World Series in recent memory: the Diamondbacks winning a seven-games series against the Yankees.
Obviously, there are no guarantees this Fall Classic will follow suite with 2001. But so far, baseball’s playoffs are living up to the hype!
Cliff Lee with an early 4-0 lead is suppose to be money in the bank. But those pesky Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win to tie the series at 1-1. Dang it!
The Cards Game 2 win is arguably the biggest victory for any team this postseason, especially considering the series now shifts to Busch Stadium for Games 3 & 4.
At the very least, it’s yet another example of St. Louis’ ‘never say die’ attitude that carried them past Atlanta this September and perhaps to the NLCS and beyond.
What’s more, the Cardinals have a quite confidence knowing they took the season series 6-3 vs. Philly, including a crucial mid-September set in Philadelphia, in which they won 3 of 4 and defeated both Hamels and Halladay.
A split of the first two games squarely puts the pressure on Philadelphia, who carries not only the major’s best record (102-60), but also the lofty expectations of not just reaching, but winning, the Fall Classic.
As a Cubs fan, obviously, I can’t stand the thought of St. Louis advancing to play either Milwaukee or Arizona. But given the importance of its stunning victory Sunday night, I wouldn’t bet against LaRussa’s boys to do so.
If you’re reading this post chances are you’re one of the few Cubs fans who hasn’t tuned out the baseball season in favor of the NFL. Although, who could blame you for doing so? Nonetheless, your attention is appreciated.
Moving on…A wild-and-wooly win for the Cubs at Citi Field Sunday night. The Cubs six-run rally in the 11th covered another late-game lead squandered by the bullpen.
It’s the third straight game Chicago has coughed up a lead. Yet, somehow they managed to take 2 of 3 against the Mets to win its first series in New York since July of 2006.
Better still, the Cubs are 4-2 over its last six road series beginning August 1 in Pittsburgh. That’s helped push the Cubs record to (22-17) since July 31, tied with St. Louis for the second-best mark in the division during that span.
The Cubs are doing a terrific job at playing spoiler.
Consecutive wins against St. Louis is a crucial blow to the Cardinals’ chances of catching Milwaukee, who’s opened up its largest-ever division lead this late in a season, now 8.5 games up.
Even with the big-three of Pujols, Holliday and Berkman healthy, the Cards pitching, in particular its bullpen, can’t keep up. A Major League leading 136 double plays hasn’t been much help from the offense, either.
St. Louis is 1-4 on its current road trip. Berkman has yet to homer in August and Friday’s walk-off loss to the Cubs gave St. Louis its 12th walk-off loss of the season–the most in the majors. Take that Ryan Theriot!
Chicago has several more chances to play the spoiler’s role. The Cubs wrap up its seven-game homstand with four against Wild Card leading Atlanta this week.
That’s followed by a six-game road trip against division leading Milwaukee and three games against San Francisco, who’s trailing Arizona by 2.5 games in the West.
Two weeks playing against has-beens Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New York precludes two late September series on the road at Milwaukee and St. Louis.
However, baring a historic collapse by Milwaukee should render both series meaningless as far as the division title is concerned.
That said, it’s worth noting the Cubs only trail Pittsburgh and Cincinnati by four and fives games, respectively.
If Chicago continues to play as well as it has during the season’s second half (19-15) a third place finish in the Central isn’t out of the question. Who would’ve guessed?
Cubs sweep its first three-game series at St. Louis since 1988!
Perhaps more impressively, they do it against the Cardinals Big Three:
Garcia, Wainwright & Carpenter.
Back in ’88 it was Jeff Pico, Rick Sutcliffe & Greg Maddux defeating Cris Carpenter, Joe Magrane & John Tudor. This time around it’s Samardzija, Wells & Zambrano pulling off the Turkey!
Meanwhile, this might be the best series Chicago has played all year.
First credit the pitching, then some timely hitting and lastly Mike Quade.
The skipper is pressing all the right buttons since taking over the helm.
The Cubs are now (14-7) under Quade’s watch.
St. Louis, eight games back of Cincy, has all but handed over the division by losing a series they couldn’t afford to lose–let alone, get swept.
It must be leaving Cardinal fans feeling what Cubs fans have all year–sick.
Big Z has been ridiculous since rejoining the roation.
He’s (6-0) with a 1.37 ERA in seven starts.
I’ve held steadfast to my belief the Cubs should trade Zambrano this offseason.
His numbers, however, can’t be ignored–maybe my advise should?