i would answer that question with another question: how long have you been a cub fan?
here are the probable matchups the rest of the way:
- marquis v danny barone (career as a starter 5 gs, 0-3, 8.31 era)
- trachsel v scott olsen (post-asb 13 gs, 3-8, 6.88 era)
- hill v bronson arroyo (post-asb 15 gs, 6-5, 3.48 era)
- zambrano v aaron harang (post-asb 16 gs, 7-3, 3.75 era)
- lilly v homer bailey (post-asb 2 gs, 11.1 ip, 6 h, 3 bb, 8 k, 2.38 era)
conversely, here are the brewer matchups:
- villanueva v brad thompson (as starter 16 gs, 5-4, 4.98 era)
- gallardo v jack cassel (career 3 gs, 14 ip, 24 h, 2 bb, 8 k)
- sheets v greg maddux (post-asb 15 gs, 6-5, 3.89 era)
- bush v chris young (post-asb 12 gs, 1-5, 4.97 era)
- suppan v brett tomko (post-asb 13 g, 10 gs, 3-4, 4.50 era)
it's obviously very likely that the cubs win it, right? milwaukee's pitching has been a train wreck in the second half, right? unfortunately, having endured a disaster august, they've looked pretty solid in september -- going 14-9 with a staff era of 3.72 in spite of a .322 babip against. if you're looking for real weaknesses, you have to look at tactically-questionable manager ned yost and his use of a volatile bullpen.
do not discount the possibility of a one-game playoff -- as reassuring as any binomial odds report may look, the probability of a cub playoff spot doesn't have to go from 90% to 0% over the next five games to get ugly but instead just to 50%. some combination of the cubs going 2-3 while the brewers go 4-1 is hardly impossible here. it becomes particularly possible if the cubs somehow fail to capitalize on florida's weak pitching today and tomorrow. in the event, lou piniella has said he would send jason marquis, very probably against yovani gallardo.
anyone like that matchup? me neither.
so what am i saying? basically just this: assume nothing. it is very probable that the cubs win the national league central -- but these are the cubs, not the yankees. when the magic number gets to zero, then start talking playoffs. until then, my advice to you is to start drinking heavily. if past is any kind of prologue, this may be the most taxing week of the season.