d theres this sea of colour and movement and it looks from 123's blog

CHICAGO -- While a bunch of teams are fighting for playoff spots all over baseball, the Chicago Cubs are feeling their way through rare territory. Custom Hank Aaron Jersey .The Cubs clinched the NL Central title a full three weeks before their first playoff game, giving the organization plenty of time to rest players and analyze possible postseason opponents, but also making for a tricky stretch when it comes to staying sharp when there isnt as much at stake.After the Cubs dropped three of four against the Brewers last weekend, manager Joe Maddon met with his hitters before Monday nights game against Cincinnati and talked to them about making the most of the final part of the season.Its unusual being in this position like we are right now, Maddon said after the meeting. So youve got two weeks of baseball, major league baseball, left in September, so lets work on some stuff. Lets work on things that we need to work on individually or as a group. Like I said, not unlike a spring training situation, while within the context were just going out there playing the same game, were trying to win this game.The Cubs began the day with a six-game lead over Washington for the best record in the National League and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The Mets, Cardinals and Giants are fighting for the two wild cards, making one of them the likely division series opponent for Maddon & Co.I probably will watch Washington more than anything right now, Maddon said. Thats the one that were shooting for, is to have the best record.While the wild cards likely will go down to the final few days of the season, the Cubs will have organizational meetings Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss possible playoff matchups and how they might line up for each series. They have scouts watching each potential postseason opponent.Each team presents its own set of challenges and might have roster implications one way or another, too, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.The Cubs also are planning for their four-day break between the end of the regular season and their playoff opener on Oct. 7, which Maddon also covered in his meeting with the hitters.Thats a long time, so we have to really get our minds right over the next couple, three weeks to really be prepared properly for that first game, Maddon said, and I wanted it to start today.Epstein said the Cubs are considering having a simulated game during the four-day break before Game 1 of the Division Series, providing a chance for the starters and relievers to get some work in and for the hitters to see live pitching.The 42-year-old Epstein has never been in a situation like this before, with the team clinching so early, but said he likes it compared to the alternative.I think its what you make of it, he said. To me, its a lot better than having to push your guys extra hard and put more innings on guys arms and not giving them enough rest and then maybe waking up and being worn down.Chicago had to wait until Sept. 25 to clinch its 2015 wild card, and then made it all the way to the NL Championship Series before it was swept by New York.The early clinch also allows the Cubs to go as slow as they want with any players with health issues. Maddon said outfielder Jorge Soler, who left Fridays 5-4 victory over the Brewers with tightness on his right side, could be available to pinch hit on Tuesday. Key reliever Pedro Strop, who is coming back from knee and groin injuries, is on track to pitch in a simulated game soon.---Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap Braves Jerseys China .ca NBA Power Rankings, ahead of the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. Dansby Swanson Jersey . Luis Suarezs double powered Liverpool to a 4-0 victory over Fulham, and Southampton easily overcame Hull 4-1 to continue the south coast clubs impressive start to the season. Liverpool and Southampton sent Chelsea down to fourth place as the west London club was held to 2-2 at home. http://www.custombravesjersey.com/custom-bob-hendley-jersey-large-407z.html . PETERSBURG, Fla.INDIANAPOLIS -- Carlos Munoz remembers spilling into the streets of his native Bogota the minute that Juan Pablo Montoya crossed the finish line to win the Indianapolis 500. He was just a boy back in 2000, but Munoz looked around at everyone celebrating the triumph and understood what it meant: That someone from Colombia could break through on one of motor racings grandest stages, swill some celebratory milk and kiss the famed yard of bricks. "Hes my idol," Munoz said, "and you have to admire someone like that, the first Colombian to win an F-1 race, and the first to win here. You have to admire that. Hes an example." Hes an example Munoz hopes to follow. The 21-year-old sensation will start in the middle of the front row on Sunday, just as Montoya did as a rookie more than a decade ago. He hopes to go straight to the front, too, just like his hero, and dominate the race in the same fashion that launched Montoya to stardom. "One of the cool things about him, he is a really nice kid, really down to earth," Montoya said from Charlotte, N.C., where hes racing in Sunday nights Sprint Cup race. "I think he has a good future, and its nice to see another Colombian racing in Indy and doing so well." Munoz said that he doesnt know Montoya well -- hes actually better friends with Montoyas brother, Federico. So he was surprised when Montoya reached out to him recently with a few pointers. What exactly did Montoya say? "Its a secret," Munoz said with a smile. "He said its going to be 500 miles and you have to keep your head. ... I have to go step by step and not make any mistakes." Therein lays the rub, the stark truth that has so much of the field on edge. Montoya may have been an Indy rookie in 2000, but he was also the defending champion in CART, back when that series rivaled the Indy Racing League. So he had plenty of experience running against elite open-wheel competition, including on high-speed ovals such as Michigan. Munoz, the Indy Lights point leader, will be in uncharted territory. "Hes had a couple of wild moments out there," said Pippa Mann, who helps call Indy Lights races for IMS Radio, and who will start near the back of the pack on Sunday. "So the analyst in me is going to say, Id love to see him settle down a little bit," Mann said, "and the driver whos going to be on the track him would love to see him settle down a little bit, too. Hes super-fast. Hes just young and inexperienced." In the case of Munoz, though, inexperience may play to his advantage. He knows no better than to run wide open. "Hes getting away with a lot of stuff Ive never seen people get away with," Graham Rahal said. "On onee day last week, he literally put two wheels in the grass on the inside of one and didnt have a single snap. Sean Newcomb Jersey. Thats ridiculous. Ive never seen a car have that much grip here." Former Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever has seen Munoz make a couple of those moves. "Hes incredibly brave," said Cheever, who will help call the race for ABC. "Hell put the nose of his car anywhere and still get out of trouble. If Im sitting in the managers chair, Im thinking, How am I going to manage so much talent and so much speed for a 500-mile race?" One thing Munoz has going for him is his equipment. Hes in the fifth car fielded by Andretti Autosport, the program that has dominated the month of May. And while hes often overshadowed by defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, popular teammate Marco Andretti, and even E.J. Viso and James Hinchcliffe, Munoz proved with his four-lap average of 228.342 mph during qualifying last weekend that he has one of the cars to beat. "If he finishes, hes going to be in the top five," Andretti said. "But hes got to finish. Its a long race, and the biggest thing for any rookie is youve got to not force the issue, let the race come to you, take the necessary chances but not the unnecessary chances." Yes, even Munozs own teammates are wary of his go-for-broke attitude. Theyre also curious to see how he reacts to the pressure and pageantry of Indianapolis. "The biggest thing is you drive around all month long with these grey grandstands," Hinchcliffe said, "and they all of a sudden are not these grey metal structures anymore. They become living, breathing things, and theres this sea of colour and movement and it looks completely different. "Its almost a completely different race track," he added, "and the first time you see it is at the speed of the race, hurtling into Turn 1 there. Its something you have to be ready for." Pole sitter Ed Carpenter, who will start next to Munoz on the grid, said theres no way to truly prepare for taking the green flag for the first time. Thats what makes him tense. "Youre always more comfortable racing with guys you know," Carpenter said. "But its not the fact that hes a rookie that makes me nervous, or anything that hes done this month. I just dont know him. I dont know what to expect. And hell be nervous, no doubt about that." At least, until he makes the walk from Gasoline Alley to the track. Then, Munoz said, hell begin to block everything out. "When youre inside the car," he said, "youre not nervous. Ill be nervous before going in the car, but once youre in the seat, the helmet and everything, it will all be OK." ' ' ' 

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