Cubs could land back in second place

Aug 14, 2001 4:12 AM

Teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Braves and Twins are lamenting last week’s performances. They were swept by Oakland, Phillies, D-backs and the lowly Devil Rays. The results made the division races and the wild card spots closer than your next breath.

Games for August 17-19:

Pirates at Astros: Astros are closing in on the Cubs in the N.L. Central Division and have the lead in the wild card race. Pittsburgh is no threat at this stage of the year. Dave Mlicki and Pedro Astacio will pay dividends for Houston.

Phillies at Cardinals: Here you’ll find the Phils running into a hot Cardinal team that put the hex on the Mets by sweeping them, eliminating any thoughts they might have had for a wild card place. This will be a tough series but we’re going with Darryl Kile and Dustin Hermanson to stop the Phils.

Cubs at Diamondbacks: This will be a testing road trip for the Cubbies. They face Houston for three games and Arizona for the next three. The Cubs are liable to come back home in second place in the N.L. Central and out of the hunt for a wild card. D’backs should win with Curt Schilling and Albie Lopez and could sweep if Randy Johnson gets the call.

Mets at Dodgers: Looks like the Mets have thrown in the towel. Dodgers, however, were lollipops on the road but will be tougher at home. They should rebound with victories by Terry Adams and Eric Gagne.

Braves at Giants: Greg Maddux looks human and everyone knows the Braves’ pitching staff is pretty weak without  Maddux and Glavine. Going with Livan Hernandez and Shawn Estes who pitch better on home grounds.

Mariners at Yankees: Yanks don’t look like cinches any more to make wild card or division spots. Oakland is breathing fire and the Red Sox may get Pedro Martinez back. Going against   Clemens and Mussina.

Angels at Indians:  The Indians are struggling to win their division while Anaheim keeps up  hope of making the playoffs. Going against Charles Nagy and C.C. Sabathia.

Orioles at Red Sox: If the BoSox can catch their second wind they’ll really pressure the Yankees for the division title. Going with Tim Wakefield and David Cone. We see Cone reversing his last outing where he was whipped.

Devil Rays at Twins: If the Twins don’t get back in the groove, they’ll  lose their postseason plans. In this series, Ryan Rupe and Tanyon Sturtze will administer a double dose of defeat on the home team.

A’s at White Sox: A’s go on the road for six games, three in Toronto and three in Chicago. No cinches on this road trip.  Hard to go against a team that has this momentum. Sox take two with Danny Wright and Jon Garland handing losses to the As.