A close look at the National League playoff contenders' schedules the rest of the way reveals the one team that has almost as much power to put the Phillies in the postseason as the Phillies have themselves: the Chicago Cubs.
At this point, the Phillies essentially have to play better than just one of two teams -- the Brewers or the Mets.
Of the Cubbies' last 13 games, six are against the Milwaukee Brewers, and four are against the New York Mets. TEN GAMES against the Phillies direct playoff competition. They already did us a favor this week, no-hitting and otherwise humiliating Ed Wade's previously white hot Houston Astros in two games, knocking them 2 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race and putting a severe hurting on their playoff hopes.
If the Cubs hang tough for the rest of the season and give the Brewers and Mets the fits, it really, really eases the path to the postseason for Philadelphia. Each Cubs victory is almost as good as a Phillies victory.
AN URGENT PLEA to Lou Piniella! PLEASE don't put your J.V. team on the field once you clinch! The integrity of the game depends on it! I mean, you want to keep your starters sharp, after all. Keep 'em busy until the very end. No lull in the action. If I see Kerry Wood at a Mexican resort with Jessica Simpson next week, I'll be quite peeved!!!!!
So, Phillies fans, it's time to hoist a flag for our friends in Chicago. It's time to come together. Calzone and deep dish, cheesesteak and Italian beef, Comcast Tower and Sears Tower, big bellies and broad shoulders... we're in this together! At least until October...
Ghostbusters (1984) "Cats and Dogs" speech in Mayors Office (via LarryNorman)