Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: June 5th - Cubs at Cincinnati

GameCastCarlos Zambrano (3-2, 4.22 ERA) vs. Micah Owings (3-6, 5.10 ERA)
Story-lines
It seems that whenever Carlos Zambrano is the story it's bad news.  Either he just punched out his catcher, or he ejected the umpire from the game (I always visualize Zambrano picking the ump up by the pants and heave-hoing him into the stands) or he's missed a team flight or he's breaking through walls or something. 

That's fine.  Zambrano has never shied away from drama and he's never wilted under the intense pressure of his own emotions.  And I certainly don't speak for Cub fans everywhere but it wouldn't bother me at all to see him acting like a child if he had a better record than 3-2, and a better ERA than 4.22.  If Carlos was 7-1 with a 2.65 ERA he could be drowning kittens between innings and I'd be mosty okay with it.

Tonight he's under the microscope.  As I am writing this a little late I'm pleased to note that he started out just fine, striking out swinging the first 3 batters he faced -- although he took 21 pitches to do it. 

Who's Hot (sorry, I'm just copying it straight from the last, rained-out GameCast)
The Gooz - He hasn't allowed a run since May 8th and
he has turned into the most reliable pitcher out of the pen.  I'm happy
to have apparently been wrong about him as I would have voted him off
the island back in March.

D.Lee - A .381 AVG in the past week is nothing to scoff
at.  Lee is still a ways away from being "on track" but at least now
he's on pace to hit 22 homers, 33 doubles, and to drive in 77 RBI. 
Wait -- 77 RBI?!  As he has only exclusively batted 3rd or 4th this
season, I cannot emphasize how tremendously this can be used to example
just how ridiculously bad the offense has been.  77 RBI.  Sheesh.

Kosuke Fukudome - Well, "hot" might be the wrong word for it.  More like "warm."  Fuku is batting .286 with an OBP of .353 in the past week.  He's slown down from his earth-shattering start, although I wouldn't scoff at his numbers.

Who's Not
T.Fonz - He's 5 for his last
28 with 9 strikeouts.  Fonzie is a hot-and-cold kind of player.  The
only problem is that he's been exclusively cold for a while now.  Lou
needs to think about sucking it up and dropping him in the lineup.

Geo Soto - Although Geo is indeed slumping, and may
indeed lose some play-time to Three Finger if Hill earns it, Soto
exited May with a .278 AVG, a .376 OBP, and a .730 OPS.  Not fantastic,
although that puts him in the top 6 among catchers with as many-or-more
at-bats as he had last month.  Just some levity for you.

Conclusions
State-the-obvious time: this is an important game and an important series.  The Cubs can get within range of first place if they can trounce the Reds.  As of this writing they are winning by 1 -- never a safe lead in Chicago -- and Zambrano is effective but wasting pitches.  Well, wasting pitches is fine.  Wasting opportunities to win is not.  That is all. 

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