We are now 2.5 games back of the Cubs and the Giants for the wild card, thanks to a 3-game sweep of the Reds. This afternoon, Kent and Berkman led the offensive onslaught that has somehow ben missing all year. Kent hit a grand slam and Berkman went 3-3 with a solo homer. Both have hit six homers in the last eight games. In the series, the Stros hit 10 homers and outscored Cincinnatti 28-6. We've won 14 out of 17 since August 15.
But let's not get too excited. Like Larry Dierker reminds us in his article for the Houston Chronicle (http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bb/2771727), we still have a ways to go — and four teams to leapfrog. Still, we have a relatively easy schedule for the remainder of the season. Our next 10 games come against Pittsburgh and Cincinnatti, and we only have three series against playoff contenders (St. Louis 2, San Fran). The Cubs also have an easy schedule; their only difficult series come against Florida (twice) and Atlanta. The Giants, Padres and Dodgers each share two series against one another, so they will hopefully beat up on each other. Florida might have the toughest road — they face Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia twice each.
Well the point is, we gotta win. The past three seasons, it seems like we've had major problems 1) beating the teams we're supposed to beat and 2) ending the season with a bang. But it's been a long time since we've been the underdog. I suppose it might be easier — or at least more exciting — to be playing catch-up instead of looking back over your shoulder all the time.
More importantly, though, I'm 21 now. And it's great.