It seems as if the Cubs, the best team in baseball this year, are imploding again. Their pitching has been shaky, their defense atrocious, and their hitting has been lousy at best, non-existent at worst. This is not the same team that swept through the National League all year. They have scored more runs than anyone but the Texas Rangers, and allowed fewer runs than anyone but the Toronto Blue Jays and the - surprise - Dodgers, which adds up to the largest run differential in the Majors. They had the best home record of any NL team. They had the best record on grass fields, equally good records during the day and night, and won 5 of 7 games from the Dodgers this year. Of course, this all adds up to an 0-2 record and an early exit from the playoffs, again.
Give credit to the Dodgers, though. They have Big Mo on their side right now, rolling into the playoffs on the strength of a very, very good pitching staff and a rejuvenated offense led by Manny. "Led by Manny." That seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?
As for the Brewers, they were arguably the Team On A Roll Going Into the Playoffs, and are now the Team On A Roll With Ketchup and Pickles. Game One saw the immortal Yovani Gallardo start, but do a very respectable job keeping the Brewers in the game. However, the batters, who this week came up BIG, had 4 hits and 12 strikeouts. Not good. Then, in Game 2, the best pitcher this year (except for Cliff Lee, of course), lasted only into the fourth inning and gave up more runs in that time than in seven complete games combined this year. And that was only since July 8th! But let's not ponder his October kryptonite. The hitters were equally as bad for the second night in a row. Only 3 hits. RBI's by the Hardy and Counsell. COUNSELL! Prince Fielder is hitting a nice round 0.000 in the post-season. Ryan Braun can't do it alone. (Quick, invest in Ryan Braun cards before they climb out of reach!)
Give credit to the Phillies, who blew it last year in straight sets to the Rockies. They are proving that they belong, and their pitching has been fabulous. Hamels and Myers look like Spahn and Sain right now.
I feel for the Brewers and the Brewers fans. I like the Brew-crew. A down-and-out city like my Cleveland. Always waiting for next year. Well, this was supposed to be next year. This was the year to go for it all, and they did, mortgaging a big chunk of their future to get C.C. to lead them into the playoffs and beyond. Step One, complete. Step Two, well....
So, the playoffs continue to surprise every year. This year is no different. The best we can expect is the unexpected.