Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: May 9th Cubs vs. Brewers

GameCast
Ryan Dempster (2-1, 4.86 ERA) vs. Yovani Gollardo (3-1, 3.02 ERA)
Story-lines
Last season, I often complained that I wanted a "perfect" season, sort of like the superlative season I described a few weeks ago.  I wanted a year without stress.  While '08 was stressful at times, looking back on it the Cubs really blew the NL Central out of the water and didn't have too much trouble getting to the playoffs. 

Where they were promptly swept and eliminated.

Looking back even further than that, the 2003 Cubs were - up until the playoffs - probably the most exciting team of our lifetimes.  They delivered big games, tremendous performances, prodigious offense, exciting pitching, unlikely heroes, it was all there.  And they also gave us one of the most exciting Septembers ever, where they went on a torrid run in order to capture the NL Central crown before storming into the playoffs.

In other words, it was not easy for the '03 Cubs.  They overcame deficits and didn't definitively become a playoff team until the last month of the season. 

This year we have an immensely talented Cubs team that is already showing us the signs that they could be very good but they're being impeded by obstacle after obstacle.  Their ace is down, their star slugger is down, their offense is slumping ... and it's only May.

Rather than look at it like this is something for us to be nervous about, maybe we need to see these problems as the kind of things that winning teams often need to overcome in order to be cohesive and confident come playoff time.  Maybe in October the Cubs can look back to now and realize that if they can overcome these problems then maybe winning 3 games in a short series won't be so tough.

Just a thought.

Who's Hot
Ryan Theriot - batting .308 in his last 26 at bats with 2 homers and 17 RBI
Three Finger Hill - In his last 7 games he's batting .348 with 4 RBI
Aaron Miles - .300 AVG in his last 20 at bats with an OBP of .391

Who's Not
Milton Bradley - 5 for his last 26 with 1 HR and 2 RBI
Fukudome - The sump is on!  He's batting .143 in his last 7 games

Conclusions
Dempster needs to turn it up tonight.  He's had some bad luck which I believe he can improve on, but the Cubs are facing the ace of the Brewers staff and Ryan really needs to start earning his new, big contract.

I'm outta here.  Recap tomorrow.

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