Welcome to first place

I wrote earlier that if the Cubs could make it through their series with the Cardinals within a few games of first, they had a very good chance of taking the NL Central.

After winning four of five from the Cardinals and following it up with a should-do-but-rarely-get sweep of the Brewers, the Cubs are in much better shape. With the Astros loss today, in fact, they are in first place. Both Houston and St. Louis have nine games left with teams .500 or better (six of those are against each other), while the Cubs have only three in their upcoming series with the San Juan Expos.

Most surprising of late is the Cubs’ hitting. In the 7-1 week they just wrapped up, the Cubs averaged 5.8 runs a game. The Sausage Whacker has been surprisingly good and Sosa continues to be hit a homer just about every other game.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, though. In a three-team race such as the NL Central is, anything can most assuredly happen. But the Cubs are in a good spot, and they’re hot. They haven’t pulled off this kind of string of victories all season long. I’m glad it’s happening now.