Looking ahead to August
It has become habit at this point for me to look ahead to the coming month's schedule in order to make some kind of prediction as to the play of the team. I sort of did this for July - while noting that it would be a tough schedule, I predicted that the Cubs would "lay waste" to many of their opponents. Well, I suppose I was right when I needed to be.
The Cubs play 28 games in August. They start out with 9 at home against the Pirates, Astros, and Cardinals, before going on the road for 6 against the Braves and hated Marlins. On August 19th, they return to Chicago to play 6, 3 against the Reds, 3 against the Nationals. They then will take a 3-game detour to Pittsburgh before returning home for a 4-game series against the Phillies in order to finish the month.
All told, the Cubs play 19 at home and 11 on the road. 10 of their games are against teams I would currently label as being competitive.
If the Cubs are the team we hope and believe them to be, then they should pull away from the pack in August as they have a much easier schedule than what they've seen up to this point.
Point of fact, in their 28 games played, I believe the Cubs are capable of going 17-11 without breaking much of a sweat. I'd submit that if they do worse than that, even to the tune of 16-12 or 15-13, then it will be a tight race until the last day of the season. However, if the Cubs can win their 17 - and they truly should be capable of winning as many as 20 - then it might not be as much a race in September as it is a victory lap, because I don't think Milwaukee or St. Louis will be able to keep up.
Looking Back on Yesterday
I'm just going to tack something to the end of this because it drives me nuts -
I'm looking at Chicago Sports and I see not one but two headlines that have probably increased my blood pressure. The first:
Cubs on verge of sweeping Brewers. I know that, while this article was written by Sullivan, he almost certainly didn't write the headline so he gets a pass. However, unless this headline was written later today, with the Cubs epically leading the Brewers in the box score and with only a few outs remaining in the game, then it is incredibly too soon to proclaim that they are on verge of sweeping the Brew Crew.
Buyer beware: Cubs fans can be rapid - literally. Maybe I use a different dictionary than Mike Downy - or that same jackass headline writer - but to me, the word "literally" means "exactly as described." So, unless that article literally features details about the tragic Wrigley '08 rabies pandemic, then, no, Cub fans are not literally rabid.
I usually don't get so ridiculously annoyed by headlines, but to see these two on the same front page at the same time really irked me. C'mon, you guys are professionals, you can do better.