Bank On It, Cubs Will Take NL Central, Maybe More

Benji MaurerContributor IJuly 31, 2008

What a week for this team.  The Chicago Cubs were an unimpressive 22-30 on the road entering Milwaukee for this four game series with the talented Brewers.  They had Milwaukee dwellers splurging as much as a reported $1000 for a seat behind home plate, and $200 for a bleacher seat.  

They had Brewers' All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun talking some minimal trash by saying all the pressure was on the Cubs, that the Brewers were as confident as they'd ever been, and they had nothing to lose.  Well, I have a question? 

Where's the confidence level now Ryan??? 

The Cubs not only responded by their best road series of the year, but they crushed the Brewers in every facet of the game.  Sending them reeling from one to five games out and possibly third place in the National League Central.  

Everyone was talking about the Cubs needing to somehow figure out CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, while no one was discussing what the Brewers were going to do about facing Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Rich Harden in order.  

How 'bout 22 IP, 16 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 27 K, and three wins.

That would be what the Cubs' "Big Three" did to the Brewers' stacked lineup in the latter three games of a four game sweep.  That's not to mention Ted Lilly, who opened the series also notching a quality start.  

This isn't to say that the Cubs will see any more of the Brewers for the rest of the season.  In fact, I believe the Brew Crew will outlast the Cardinals and everyone else for the National League Wild Card.  With that statement comes an obvious prediction.  Yes, the Cubs will win their second straight division crown. And this year, unlike other years, is really saying something.  

To do what they've done this week in Milwaukee says something about their resiliency. This was the first time all year they were really faced with pressure to maintain their division lead, and also their identity as the NL's best squad.  They responded brilliantly with dominant pitching, contagious hitting, and also very solid defense.

Despite the stomping of their division rivals, I refuse to predict any further.  Being a lifelong Cub fan, I'm smarter than that.  One thing I do know, however, is that this is the best chance they have had since I've been watching them to win the whole thing. There's not a team in the NL (possibly in the majors) with more talent and depth top to bottom than they have.  

Regardless, it's going to be a really fun final two months of the regular season.  Just about every division outside of the AL West has a serious race going on, and it will be a treat to watch.  

However, I do believe that we Cub fans will have the most fun.