So  did anybody think that we would be here after the first three games of this series? Not me. And while we’re at it did anybody think that Ryan Dempster would be this effective? Not me.  And is anybody ready to talk about the Cubs being in the World Series yet? Not me. But it might be fun to begin to think about it.

I had the privilege of going to the first two games of the series at Miller Park (which I love) and I want to take some time to bring up some of the things that I noticed.

The Brewers are a fun team to watch

In case you did not notice the Brewers are a tough team to beat. With Sabathia, Sheets, and Parra at the top of the rotation they are fornidable. But their line up is dangerous. With Durham, Hardy, Braun, Fielder, and Hart you could stack those guys up against almost anybody’s top five….offensively.

The Brewers have holes

Those five guys are strong offensively and weak weak defensively. Multiple bad plays have allowed the Cubs to dominate this series the way they have. The throw away on the double play ball in the first game, misplays in the outfield in the second game, the wild pitch ball that got away from Kendall and was thrown awaying allowing the Cubs to score the first run in game three and the Cubs score big runs on all of them.

Their weaknesses vs. our strengths Creature from the Black Lagoon divx

The Brewers bullpen is noticably bad. In game one the Cubs  fans were actually cheering when Erik Gagne came into the game. You might ask how I know it was Cubs fans and not Brewers fans who were cheering him? I’m not sure, but I know it was.  The Brewers need bullpen help and we will see if they  get any before the deadline.

I feel like the Brewers have a tremendous weakness when it comes to their manager. I think Ned Yost left Sabathia in too long in game one (and definitely waited too long to warm someone up), left Sheets in too long in game two, and Parra in too long last night. With Sheets and Parra the game was almost lost once the reliever was brought in. Because the cities are so close, and because the teams have been close for a couple years I have watched a good amount of Brewer baseball and I am shocked at many of Yost’s decisions. That has been apparent in this series.

The catalyst

The last time I wrote I gave a mea culpa on my thoughts about Soriano. I was wrong. He is the catalyst or the Cubs offense. I think it is interesting that our most explosive hitter is Soriano, our most consistent hitter is probably D-Lee, and our most clutch hitter is A-Ram. That’s nice that the three are different. Since Soriano returned he has ignited the offense. I think he as also taken more pitches and walked more. He has undoubtedly been more of a threat to steal a base as well. He seems to be all healed now and this could be deadly.

The bats

I like how Lou is using DeRosa everyday and rotating Fukudome, Johnson, Edmonds, Cedeno, and Fontenot. Just another way that I think we have the best manager in baseball. Fukudome seems to be rested and is hitting smarter and better again. By the way I was surprised to hear that D Lee is among the league leaders in hits and other consistent offensive categories. Hits are hits and I guess he comes through more than I thought. People used to say that Sammy only hit home runs when it didn’t matter. I don’t know how you hit 600 meaningless home runs. Lee gets hits and they matter. Theriot continues to shine with another multi hit game- something like 45 multi hit games now.

The starters

What can you say- amazing. Except Lilly did the home run hop twice the other night. And I have never seen a pitch hang like the one he threw to Ryan Braun in the first game. Remember last year when Lilly was our number two going into the playoffs? Hello number four (if necessary).

The Pen

I think Bob Howry has given up a  solo home run in every appearance this year. How big does the addition of Chad Gaudin look? I like that Lou used Cotts to close the game last night. Now that Marmol is rested more he seems to be sharper again. How bad can a blister be? Can you believe the Samardzija love? What has he done to deserve it? He might be good, but he isn’t there yet. How bad can a blister possibly be?

The Rivalry

The first two games were playoff like but I think the crowd was quieter last night because the Cubs hit them hard the first couple games. The first two games were 45,000 plus seemingly split half and half. The rivalry is a lot of fun and it doesn’t seem as hated as others. It is just good and the toe to toe of the first game was something to behold.

The trade deadline

Today is the day and there is rumor that the Cubs are looking at Raul Ibanez from Seattle. I doubt it will happen. However, it might make sense because Ibanez is a better option than Ward and can play outfield positions. I guess to me it seems like Ibanez is really a replacement for Ward depending on all of the permutations of the thing. It might be interesting. I think the Cubs might look at making a run at a bullpen guy because I think they are becoming less confident in an imminent return for Woody. Everyone seems to think that Eyre will be traded today.

Hopefully the Cubs can score some runs and get Rich Harden a win and a sweep of he Crew.

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