[Rich Harden, far left, and Carlos Zambrano, center, aloong with the Cubs MRI staff, displaying their zombie-fied “dead arms”]

If not for the blessings of a holiday binge and purge by the Mets and Brewers, respectively, the Cubs would be perilously close to dropping out of first place, if not out, after a sweep by the Astros at Wrigley.  Fortunately, the Brewers appear more comfortable with their lot in life as America’s Wild Card team, allowing the Cubs a long Labor Day weekend nap.  One reason for the Cubs’ slump remains Carlos Zambrano’s “dead arm.”  The undead limb was given an MRI today, and there’s good news and bad.  The good:  The Cubs banana-fueled ace will not miss the rest of the season.  The bad:  Neither will Bob Howry.  Oh, and the other bad news, Rich Harden’s name is surfacing not in the win column, but in Cub medical reports.  Still, the NL Central looks set to offer the Cubs and Brewers up as NLCD champ and wild card, or possibly vice versa.  The Cubs go either way, God forbidding a Cardinal miracle, so taking some losses now with Zambrano and Harden benched may be worth it to keep them healthy for October.

As the Chicago Sun-Times reports in this bulletin in the last hour:

Carlos Zambrano has undergone an MRI today on his right arm, and indications are he will not miss the rest of the season as some have feared.

The Cubs’ right-hander was supposed to take the exam yesterday, but he couldn’t do it because of family reasons.

Zambrano took himself out of Tuesday’s game because of an arm problem. He had missed a start Sunday to rest his arm.

Cubs Nation is starting to wonder about World Series expectations as the Cubs have lost five in a row for the first time this season. Fortunately for the North Siders, the Milwaukee Brewers also are slumping.

Combined with Zambrano’s situation is the fact Rich Harden also is complaining of discomfort in his right arm and won’t pitch until Wednesday.