Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011Posted: 7:00 p.m.
By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Follow @CSNMooney Box score Photo gallery
Marmol: No one better than Rivera
Dempster: Astros didn't hit the ball hard
Quade on his ejection
After the Brewers put the champagne on ice and hand out goggles, there will be nowhere to hide inside the cramped visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field.
With the Brewers closing in on their first National League Central title, the only question is whether the Cubs are going to stand in their way.
An 8-1 victory in Cincinnati reduced Milwaukees magic number to clinch the division to four while the second-place Cardinals were still in Philadelphia waiting to play the Sunday night game.
The Brewers have already sold three million tickets at Miller Park. Their fans should be motivated to drive down I-94 for a three-game series that begins Monday night at Wrigley Field.
(Someone else) jumping around and celebrating on your field, Cubs pitcher Randy Wells said. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
In early March, the Cubs went over to the Brewers complex in Phoenix and had a dugout altercation after the first inning of the fourth game in spring training. Carlos Silva never made it out of camp, and Aramis Ramirez could play his final game on the North Side during this series.
The Brewers havent imploded yet. But theyre testing the limits of their free-spirit clubhouse down the stretch.
Were going to come at them with the best baseball we got, Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena said.
Nyjer Morgan recently called out Alberta Pujols on Twitter. Francisco Rodriguez told CBSSports.com that hes not fine with only being a setup man. Prince Fielder gave an interview to TBS and said what everyone was already thinking that hes a goner.
(Ryan Brauns) one of the best players in Brewers history, Fielder told the network. The guy hits .330 every year and hes been great. Unfortunately, this might be the last year for the one-two punch.
The six years with me and him has been a good run. Hopefully, we can go out with a blast this year. Im signed through this year. But being real about it, its probably my last year (with Milwaukee).
When the Cubs signed Pena to a one-year deal last winter, speculation immediately started that theyd go after Fielder or Pujols. Penas definitely interested in another pillow contract, though no one knows who will be making those decisions at Clark and Addison.
Pena, like Fielder, is a Scott Boras client. He hasnt been worn down by playing day baseball or in bad weather or inside the Wrigley Field fishbowl. There was hardly anyone there by the end of Sundays 3-2 loss to the Houston Astros.
Pena appeared to hit his 29th home run through the driving rain in the eighth inning. It would have been the go-ahead, two-run shot off Brett Myers. At least one umpire signaled as much.
But the ball bounced somewhere off the left-field basket. The play was reviewed and overturned. Mike Quade thought the umpiring crew got the home-run call right, but argued over where the runners should be placed.
Quade wound up with his seventh ejection of the season, which leads all managers in the majors. Before the ninth inning started, everyone had to sit through a rain delay that lasted one hour and seven minutes. Its been that kind of year for the Cubs (67-86).
At this point, the Cubs are making salary drives and trying to pad their stats.
Starlin Castro now needs five hits to reach 200. Ryan Dempster is only 9.1 innings away from hitting 200 after going seven against the Astros (52-100). Dempster will get two more chances to hit that mark for the fourth consecutive season.
At least one team will have something real to play for this week at Wrigley Field. So dont expect Quade to run out any B-Team lineups.
Its our home turf, Dempster said. Theyve had a good year, but I could really care less to see anybody clinch it on our field.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.