GAMETIMES: 7:05 Thursday, 1:20 Friday, 3:05 Saturday, 1:20 Sunday
TV: CSN Thursday and Friday, WGN Saturday, ABC Sunday
YA HEY DERE: Brew Crew Ball
Davies v. Arrieta
Just how we drew it up, or dreamt it up, in March. The Cubs would storm through the season, proving that they are the class of the league in every sense, play stress-free baseball in September on the opposite side of the coin than why it used to be stress-free, and stand on the precipice of clinching the division, they turn the ball over to… Mike Montgomery? Ok then. Ours is not to reason why…
At some point in this series, the results won’t matter anymore. Sure, there’s still the best record in the NL to clinch, but that’s also a foregone conclusion and there won’t be champagne for that. Well, with this team there might be. There might be champagne for another David Ross homer, for all we know. Whenever it comes, the rest of the games will have an odd sort of feel, because there won’t be anything at stake. We’ll just enjoy the baseball for the baseball, which is nice.
Tonight should be a pretty special atmosphere at 1060 West. This will only be the third time the Cubs can clinch the division at home, following ’03 and ’08. You’ll remember the charge in the air around here before those games, and both of those were in the afternoon. This being a night game, with everyone getting more of a chance to gas up, could have it bordering on a zoo.
The Brewers won’t just lie down and simply be a prop for this, though. They’ve been spiky of late, including taking two of three from the Cubs last week on the other side of the Cheese Castle. They swept the Pirates to start the month and rob the Bucs of any dignity they might have had left, took two from the Cubs, and split with the Cardinals in Bud-land. They did lose a series to the also left-behind Reds to kick off this week.
While the Brewers have gotten some promising outings of late from Davies and Anderson, you couldn’t say the same of both Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta (and his missing L), both of whom the Cubs will get a look at this weekend. Nelson has given up 18 runs in his last five starts, and walked 13 as well. He’s got a 6.23 ERA in that time. Peralta has been turning around and seeing a lot of outfielders’ numbers of late, giving up seven homers in his last four starts.
It obviously doesn’t matter what’s been going on of late, because we know Ryan Braun and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are going to hit in these four games, because it’s just what they do against the Cubs. Keon Broxton has showed some spice too, doing more than just robbing Anthony Rizzo of a game-tying homer last week. Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar have also showed a power stick of late, each with seven homers over the past month. No, not all of Villar’s came against the Cubs. It just felt that way.
The division isn’t the ultimate goal of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it tonight or tomorrow or whenever it comes. Anyone who says you shouldn’t can get fucked. This hasn’t happened often around here, and it’s such a long season that these things are worth marking with fun. It’s another chance to bask in just how special this season has been. Sure, it’s just a first step, but it’s a first step that took nearly six months to get here. The beginning of a journey is always worth celebrating.
Let’s do it.