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JEFF'S SPORTS BLOG - WHAT A DIFFERENCE ONE WEEK MAKES

Jeff Ardito - Dean's Team Listing Specialist!

The Cubs and Sox are still in first place but with the developments of this past week, can either team really feel that confident about their chances for the rest of the season?  In a rather unusual turn of events, the Cubs lost two of their best pitchers for at least a couple of starts in Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden.  For the Sox, they probably have lost third baseman Joe Crede for the year according to manager, Ozzie Guillen and they may have lost their star outfielder, Carlos Quentin for the remainder of the season as well.  Quentin fractured his right wrist and will have surgery on Monday.  So, one week ago, each team looked poised to make a very strong push to postseason and now you have to wonder what the outcome will be.

The Sox have strengthened their lead to a game and a half over the Twins but without Quentin, will they be able to sustain their offense over the next three weeks?  They responded to the adversity yesterday as they scored ten runs and pounded the Anaheim Angels.  The Sox pounded out 15 hits three of which were homeruns.  This is a mark of a good team when they can respond to this kind of adversity.  The loss of Crede will not be as devastating although it certainly begs mentioning.  Juan Uribe has been an excellent fill-in for Crede and yesterday, he pounded out two homeruns and drove in four runs.  I think the Sox will be able to weather the storm if their pitching comes through.

The Cubs are a different story now than one week ago.  For the immediate future, their rotation is a mess and they really haven't had a dominating performance for over a week now from a starting pitcher.  Literally, the entire team is in a slump in all three categories: pitching, hitting and fielding.  The Cubs managed just six hits yesterday against the Reds, committed another fielding error and had starter Ted Lilly go only 2 innings and give up five earned runs.  The Cubs have now lost six straight and have to trot out Jason Marquis tonight in the hopes he can stop the bleeding.  It'll be a tough task with the Reds throwing some very good left-handed hitters in their line-up.  The outlook is bleak for the Cubs given the rest of this difficult road trip.  Yes, they may still make the playoffs but they are going to enter postseason with a lot of questions.

Football is starting tomorrow for our Bears, so hopefully they'll be able to give us something good to talk about as the Cubs and Sox battle for a postseason birth - each team now having to overcome some major adversity.

JEFF ARDITO & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO

Posted: Saturday, September 06, 2008 7:54 AM by Dean's Team

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