Monday, August 13, 2007

The Bad News Bears

In his article about ten great baseball flicks that relate to this year's pennant races, ESPN's Jonah Keri compares the Brewers and Cubs to the 1976 classic "The Bad News Bears." Keri says:
The Brewers and Cubs both apply here, and not for being a lovable group of troublemaking kids. Panic has set in for Milwaukee, which has seen its once-sizable lead in the NL Central dwindle to 1½ games, thanks to erratic pitching and an offense that's struggling to get consistent production from anyone other than Prince Fielder and "The Hebrew Hammer," Ryan Braun.

But despite a miserable 4-7 August, the Brewers have held onto their lead, thanks to an even uglier 4-8 month for the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano's injury weakened an already shaky Cubs outfield. Chicago's pitching staff, one of the best in baseball with a 4.01 ERA, has allowed nearly six runs a game this month. The team that wins this division might finish just a hair over .500. Not that style points matter, though, especially in the NL Central. Just ask the 2006 Cardinals.

I have two things to say about this:

1) Keri is right to compare this situation to the 2006 Cardinals. The Cubs and Brewers both have solid 1-2 starters with an inconsistent back-end of the rotation and situational hitting. If either team has their starters get hot as they enter the playoff stretch, watch out.

2) Where Keri is wrong is that the team that wins this division will finish a hair over .500. The Cubs do not play a team with a winning record after September 6th, and the Brewers have far too much talent to continue on this recent slide.

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