So, the Chicago Cubs sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4 game series for the first time at Wrigley since 1972. The Cubs are currently 10 and 3 against the second-best team in the Majors, 0-7 at Wrigley, making the Cardinals 0 for 10 in that Toddlin' Town of Chicago. You'd think this Cub fan would be happy. I am, but I am also frustrated.
Subtract that 10-3 record (0.769 WPCT) against the Cards, and you've got a bustling 33 and 58 (0.363) record against the rest of the schedule. Why, going back to last season when, like this season, the Cubs were bad and the Cards were solid, are the Cubs dominating? Perhaps Cubs manager Dusty Baker is able to get his team to play up to the competition, regardless of who it is. Possibly. Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a different take:
Sure, I understand that the Cubs are pumped up to play the Cardinals. The Cubs are having yet another dreadful season, with no chance at the playoffs, so when the Cardinals come to town, it's the World Series. But what I don't understand is why the Cardinals play so poorly, and have so many knucklehead lapses, when they see the Cubs.
... And then there are the managers. It's become fairly predictable to see Dusty Baker get the best of Tony La Russa. Baker is 34-29 against La Russa since becoming Cubs manager in 2003. Previously, in San Francisco, Baker had a 38-33 edge over La Russa. Baker isn't a good manager except for his ability to get inside La Russa's head. The two of them are so caught up in their personal rivalry, they turn Cubs-Cardinals confrontations into irritating exhibitions of overmanaging.
(italicized emphasis is mine). So, it's a matching problem between the managers? Whatever it is, the Cubs play like the Yanks of yore when the Cardinals are the opponent. Other than that, they play like, well, the Cubs.