Commentary: Cubs ready to test their mettle


by - Columnist -
Jim Young - USA Today Sports
Jim Young - USA Today Sports

Everyone is starting to get excited about this 2018 Cubs team, finally, as they completed a four-game sweep of the lowly Reds and a split with the equally lowly Tigers. That is good as these are the teams they are supposed to beat and finally are.

The next two weeks will test their mettle, and we will see how strong they are. The competition is going to be a bit better, although not overwhelming by any stretch. Three at home against the hated Mets and then off on a road trip that seems like the wonks designed it over in the NHL. Atlanta for a make-up rain game, up to Philadelphia for three, back to Milwaukee for three and then back to DC for four. Does anyone at MLB have a map?

Atlanta is leading the East by three over Philadelphia who is in the thick of the wild-card race, that includes Milwaukee, who still think they can catch the Cubs, they can’t, and then the Nationals, who since they ripped apart the team have shown signs of life. These are formidable teams, and the Cubs are going to have to pay attention against them or risk losing the momentum they just picked up.

With deGrom pitching for the Mets, it is going to be a tough game. Atlanta can feel it right now, and they love the new ballpark, even if the fans are still staying away in droves. Philadelphia has a murderous line-up and if Aaron Nola pitches forget it.

We know all about Milwaukee, and honestly, they don’t have a chance against the Cubs right now. Finally, Washington is a complete mess and just the kind of team you never want to play because they are only good enough and mad enough to beat the crap out of you if they want to. When Scherzer pitches, it is another game you expect to not do well in.

So that takes the Cubs into mid-September, holy crap where did the year go, and for the rest of the season, with the exception of the Reds again, and who knows which White Sox team shows up, the rest of the schedule is against teams fighting for a season or a new contract, either way, tough to play.

I still stand by my prediction of the Cubs clinching against the Sox, hopefully on Sunday which is Hawk Harrelson’s last day, which would be so sweet. If it works out that way, I promise you I will not be able to sleep the night before knowing how his day will be toast. Mercy.

But I digress into my happy place, sorry. Where was I? Oh, yeah.

I have maintained since the All-Star break the Cubs agenda was to win each series and split where it was a two or four-gamer. So far, they are holding serve and continuing to do so will lock up the Central, no problem. Getting through the next two weeks will tell us, and them, if they have what it takes to make a run, a long run, in October.

The players are excited, the fans are finally losing touch with reality at an alarming rate, and now is the time to floor it and grind the life out of these teams. You want them to know that if they have the misfortune of facing the Cubs in the playoffs, they are done like dinner.

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