I wouldn't. Considering they lost 2 of 3 in Chicago, they had a nice trip overall. What nits are there? A couple:
- Carpenter is back on the DL. That's a big blow to their playoff hopes. We all had been counting on Carp and Wainwright to return to the rotation and have a big impact down the stretch. Now it's only Wainwright, and his role appears to still be up in the air (which, to my mind, is ridiculous - start him guys!). A 100% healthy Carpenter for 2009 is significantly more important to the organization than to have a 75% healthy Carpenter for September 08 and risk losing him for part of next season, so no heartburn there from me.
- St Louis was really only outplayed in 2 of the 10 games on this trip (coincidentially, both Sunday games). They led the first game in Chicago in the seventh (chronicled earlier), and they led early 3-0 in last Tuesday's game in Florida. I guess you could count the last 8 innings of that game as them being outplayed, since they didn't get a guy past second after Ludwick's 3-R double in the first, so let's make it 3 of 10. Good effort there.
And that's it. The bullpen settled down on the trip (yesterday's meltdown notwithstanding, but it was 4-0 after 7 so I'm not losign sleep over it) and pitched very well. Ryan Ludwick deserves serious consideration for MVP honors in the league. I know VEB did a post earlier this month on AP's chances for the MVP award; we should look at Ludwick's numbers as well. Wellemeyer continues to impress, and even Looper and Piniero pitched well.
The problem is they went 6-4 and made up no ground on Chicago, actually losing a game in the standings. They did make up 2 games on Milwaukee, though. Again, as mentioned in an earlier post, the Division title is all but gone. Cubs have 38 games left. If they go 19-19, the Cardinals need go 25-10 just to catch them. Not happening. However, 2 games back in the Wild Card is certainly do-able, and they dealt a serious blow to the Marlins hopes taking 3 of 4 last week (and the Cubs assisted by taking 2 of 3 this weekend).
Right now it's a 3 team race for the last playoff spot - Milwaukee, St Louis, and Philadelphia (who's currently reeling). To steal a phrase from the local team, Keep The Faith.
Off today, host Pittsburgh tomorrow. Cubs are also off; Milwaukee hosts Houston (Wolf vs Sabathia).
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