On August 16–six weeks ago today–I ruminated in this space about the Chicago Cubs and their lack of offense after the Alfonso Soriano trade. I wrote the following sentence about NL Central predictions:
My guess is another six shutouts, and possibly as many as 10, will be visited on the Cubs before the season ends in St. Louis, six weeks from now.
With that NL Central prediction on the record, let’s take a look at how well my crystal ball works:
The Cubs were shut out by the Dodgers on August 28 (4-0), the Reds on September 11 (6-0), the Brewers on September 18 (7-0), the Cardinals on September 27 (7-0), and were shut out again by the Cardinals (4-0) on the last day of the regular season. That makes five legitimate shutouts, and one technical shutout that I proclaimed after a 15-inning loss where they failed to score over the first 12 innings of the game.
Since I counted that as a shutout, that makes six shutouts over the final six weeks, just as I had provided with another successful NL Central prediction.
Let move to another prediction that I made, where I tried to handicap the three-team race that was the NL Central this year. Based on factors such as schedule, previous performances, and managerial expertise, I made the following prediction on September 9:
If I were a betting man on NL Central predictions, my trifecta order would be Reds to Win, Pirates to Place, and Cardinals to Show.
It’s clear that a straight trifecta bet with this order would have been a loser, since I had the Cardinals and Reds finishing order reversed. But I’m happy that I got the Place prediction right, as the Pirates and their fans have suffered an awfully long time for postseason baseball, or even winning baseball in general. It’s as if the lights went out in Pittsburgh after Sid Bream scored the winning run back in 1992. But the Pirates have been redeemed at long last, and they should definitely savor the moment on Tuesday night.