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Tied Up

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 2, 2007 2:00PM

When the Cubs hit rock bottom on June 2, they had just lost their sixth game in a row -- Lou Piniella had just thrown his on-field tantrum, and only a day earlier Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett went at it in both the dugout and the clubhouse. The Cubs sat at 22-31, nine games below .500 and 7 1/2 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central standings.

2007_08_sports_cubs_in_first.jpgTheir dramatic 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, combined with the Brew Crew's loss to the New York Mets, puts the two teams into a virtual tie atop the NL Central standings. The Cubs are currently edging out the Brewers with a .538 winning percentage to the Brewers' .537.

How did the Cubs finally climb their way to the top on August 1? Since their season-low nadir in early June the Cubs have been on a tear, with the best record in baseball since then. The Cubs are 13-6 post All-Star break, compared to the Brewers' 9-10 record.

Will their surge in the Central continue now that they've caught the Brewers? It does look that way. The Brewers look like they're fast fading away, while Piniella seems like he's found the lineup he likes with his new ball club, and the Cubs show few signs of letting up. While neither team made any substantial moves at the trading deadline, the Cubs should be adding Kerry Wood to their bullpen by week's end. If the Cubs can get Wood healthy and back on the mound at Wrigley, all things are possible.

Photo by AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh