The Incredible Shrinking Lead
Down five games in ten days and plunging like a stock market correction, the I-Cub divisional lead that’s been in double digits much of the summer has been cut to five as the PCL regular season enters its final week. Granted, it still sits at five with only eight games remaining, but the last four are versus the onrushing Memphis Redbirds, winners of nine of their last ten (including a series sweep of Iowa), here in Des Moines, culminating with the season finale on Labor Day. The playoff berth that once seemed a fait accompli now hangs in the balance of the last two series.
Over the weekend, the I-Cubs hosted Nashville, featuring a roster supposedly fortified by reinforcements from Chicago. Friday night, for instance, the first four hitters in the lineup were Messrs. Almora, Bote, Zobrist and Descalso. Zobrist, in particular, was very warmly welcomed by big crowds on Friday and Saturday. But the game-action highlight of the weekend turned out to be Colin Rea’s 14th win (against only three losses) which ties the franchise season record. He’ll get a shot to break it on the road this week in Okie City. Still, the general organizational trends right now are that Cardinals can’t lose and Cubs are sputtering.
I read where the C-Cubs are tentatively planning to have Contreras use I-Cub playoff games as a rehab stint. But you know what often happens to the best-laid plans of mice, men and even Theo Epstein.
Baseball seasons are long. Not long enough, though, more often than not, lest anyone’s forgotten.