The Chicago Cubs' Long Road to October: Part Two

Josh TollesonCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

CHICAGO - JUNE 30:  Pitcher Sean Marshall #45,catcher  Koyie Hill #55 and pitching coach Larry Rothschild #40 of the Chicago Cubs meet on the mound during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 30, 2007 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Welcome back, Cub fans. Tuesday, I published the first of four articles previewing each Cubs series for 2009.

For those of you who have yet to read it, be sure and read it here. Thanks for your kind words thus far.

We continue with the "second quarter." Through 41 games, I have the Cubs with a 24-17 record. Will the Cubs continue to play solid baseball? Let's find out!

May 22 - May 24 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ San Diego Padres

The Cubs conclude their 2009 season series with the Padres, heading out west to beautiful PETCO Park. Most feel the Padres will be in rebuilding mode in 2009, but you can never disregard the bat of Adrian Gonzalez or the arm of Jake Peavy.

Another arm to keep an eye on is Heath Bell, who will replace Trevor Hoffman as closer. The Cubs offense should be enough to overcome the young Padre ball club.

Prediction: Cubs win three of three

May 25 - May 27 (Three-game Series)

Pittsburgh Pirates @ Chicago Cubs

The Cubs finally get a glimpse of the Pirates. Not much has changed in Pittsburgh: young pitching, inexperienced bats, and a fan base that's growing more impatient by the season.

The Cubs manhandled the Pirates in '08, posting a 14-4 record. There's no reason to believe things will be much different in 2009.

Watch out for A-Ram here.

Prediction: Cubs win two of three

May 28 - May 31 (Four-game Series)

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs

The Cubbies welcome Manny Ramriez, Joe Torre, and the Dodgers to Wrigley. Cub fans are looking forward to the opportunity of retribution following last seasons NLDS debacle.

The Dodgers are a scary team this season and shouldn't be taken for granted. Look for the Cubs to have difficulty and perhaps press a bit too much.

The Cubs talent should avoid a series loss, but look for a split.

Prediction: Cubs win two of four

June 2 - June 4 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Atlanta Braves

With a revamped starting rotation and young players with upside, the Braves should be an exciting team to watch in 2009.

The Cubs wouldn't be too thrilled to see Derek Lowe, who contained the Cub offense last October. Despite the Cubs sweeping the Braves 6-0 last season, look for Atlanta to be healthy and improved this season.

Prediction: Cubs lose two of three

June 5 - June 7 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Cincinnati Reds 

Look out, it's those pesky Reds again! The dog days of summer will be creeping up, so perhaps the Cubs will be catching the young Reds ball club at a good time.

If the Reds starting rotation remains healthy, they'll give the Cubs and the entire NL fits. The Cubs may face a June-swoon.

Prediction: Cubs lose two of three

June 9 - June 11 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Houston Astros

The Cubs and Astros reach the mid-point of their season series schedule. Look for plenty of offensive explosions in this series. It'll be interesting to see how the Texas-heat takes it toll on the young Astros arms.

The Cubs should win the series and finally end the mini-road trip.

Prediction: Cubs win two of three

June 12 - June 14 (Three-game Series)

Minnesota Twins @ Chicago Cubs

Inter league play gets underway! Cub fans, who normally root for the Twins to knock off the White Sox, will look forward to stiff competition in the form of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Francisco Liraino.

Twin fans are highly concerned with the health of Mauer, who's currently suffering from inflammation of his lower back. Since there will be no DH this series, there's a chance the Cubs may only see Mauer in pinch-hitting duties depending on his health.

I like the Cubs to out pitch the young Twins rotation.

Prediction: Cubs win two of three

June 16 - June 18 (Three-game Series)

Chicago White Sox @ Chicago Cubs

Let the war games begin!

Nothing beats taking in a heated Cubs/Sox game at Wrigley. There's so much noise being made and smack being talked, you'd think you were in a mosh pit at a Metallica concert (congrats for the Hall of Fame induction, BTW!).

Baseball prospectus has the White Sox finishing LAST(!) following last season's division-winning efforts. The Sox always give the Cubs tough competition, but Ozzie and comp. will get pushed around this series. See you back on the South side!

Prediction: Cubs win two of three.

June 19 - June 21 (Three-game Series)

Cleveland Indians @ Chicago Cubs

Following a disappointing, injury-plagued '08 campaign, the Indians look for a fresh start. Travis Haffner and Victor Martinez should be fully-healthy and carry big bats.

The Cubs could also see AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who has a tall mountain to climb to match his '08 credentials.

It'll be tough for Cub fans to see Mark DeRosa utilized all over Cleveland's defensive alignments. Also, look for Kerry Wood to get a huge ovation when he takes the mound, even when he gets two saves this series.

Prediction: Cubs lose two of three

June 23 - June 25 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Detroit Tigers

Fearless Prediction No. 1: The Detroit Tigers will win the AL Central by five games.

You heard it right here, folks. The Tigers will be a force to be reckoned with this year. As long as their offense performs as it should, and their pitching rebounds from an awful '08 campaign, the Tigers are a force.

The only question mark they have is their closer. Brandon Lyon has been rocked this spring training, which gives Cub fans hope for this series.

The ball will be flying this series, and the Cubs will be lucky to leave with one win!

Prediction: Cubs lose two of three

June 26 - June 28 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Chicago White Sox

I'm devoting this segment to Hawk. You can put the Cubs sweep on the boooooarrrddd, YESSSS!

Prediction: Cubs win three of three. White Sox...THEY GONE!

June 29 - July 1 (Three-game Series)

Chicago Cubs @ Pittsburgh Pirates

My big fear with this series is the potential for a let-down following the high-energy White Sox series. The Cubs have had a bad habit of playing down to their competition in seasons past, and Lou will need to keep his veteran ball club focused.

The Cubs should ride the wave of momentum and handle our Bucko friends.

Prediction: Cubs win two of three

July 2 - July 5 (Four-game Series)

Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs

We've reach the halfway mark of the regular season. The All-Star break will be featured in our next installment.

These two ball clubs will be quite familiar with one another at this point. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are capable of carrying the Brew Crew on their backs, and I like the Brewers to make a statement to Cubs fan at Wrigley.

Prediction: Cubs lose two of three

We're now halfway through my four-part series previewing the Cubs 2009 season. I show the Cubs with an impressive 47-35 record.

I hope you guys are enjoying these articles; they're a blast to write! Be sure and comment and vote on my polls. Thanks for reading!


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