Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: July 2nd vs. Brewers

GameCastSeth McClung (3-1, 3.56 ERA) vs. Ryan Dempster (4-5, 4.09 ERA)
Story-Lines
I think that Kyle summed it up rather nicely when he wrote: "THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SERIES OF OUR ENTIRE LIVES."

The Cubs are a team who have been under-performing so often this year that it's hard to justify the inclusion of "under" in that description nowadays.  They have ungodly talented hitters who just aren't hitting.  They've got relief pitchers with ice water in their veins who are about as reliable as a tool bought at a Dollar Store.  They've got a manager with winning in his blood who can't seem to do anything right. 

And now they've got a chance to hurdle their way above the first place Brewers in one fell swoop. 

Well, sadly my friends this is not the movies.  Willie Mays Hays isn't here to make some kind of impressive (and entirely unrealistic) base-stealing play.  Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn is neither here to notch an impressive victory nor to sleep with all the hookers of Division Street.  The Cubs could leapfrog the Brewers but it would take some kind of minor -- nay, major -- miracle for it to actually happen.

Still, let's just think about it for a second.  The Cubs, sweeping the Brewers, smacking around the Braves, and then demolishing the Cardinals.  That feeling in your gut that you had just now?  That's optimism, my friends.  Cherish it while you can.

Who's Hot
Jake Fox - 9 for his last 27, batting .333 with 2 homeruns

Geovany Soto - 7 for his last 23, batting .304 with a double, triple, and homer

Sam Fuld - 2 for 4 this season.  Actually I just wanted to mention him as a way to congratulate him on getting his first-ever major league hits, and for making another outstanding defensive play recently.  Fuld may come from the Doug Dascenzo School of Athleticism, but I'd say he's earned a stay in the Majors based on his head-breaking hard play.

Dave Patton - As mentioned perhaps by Nick V (sorry I can't remember for sure, it may also have been AJ) since April 29th, Patton's line is as follows: 13.2 IP, 13 hits, 7 BB, 4 ER, 2.63 ERA.  I'm not sold on Patton, but used sparingly and if he can pitch this effectively then I'll take back most of the mean things I've said about his mother.  (But she's still a hater of cheese)

Kevin Gregg - His May line: 11.2 IP, 7 saves, 3.86 ERA.  His June line: 13 IP, 5 saves (2 blown), 2.77 ERA. 

Who's Not
In the name of optimism, we'll skip this one. 

Conclusions
I made this point earlier in the day and I will make it again now.

Stop being a Cubs fan for a second.  Pretend you support the Brewers or Cardinals, and you always have.

It's July 2nd.  The team favored to win your division has been struggling along all season long.  And here's your team, a mere 4 -- or 8 -- games over .500, only 3.5 -- or 2.5 -- games ahead of the dangerous, sluggish Cubs.

Tell me you're not worried.  Tell me that you have written the Cubs off.  Tell me either of those things and I will call you a liar and an idiot.

We are so caught up in our Cubbie Mentality that we've forgotten a few things ... all the crap that's ever happened means nothing this year.  If the Cubs and Brewers were in opposite places in the standings, we'd be crapping our collective drawers right now.  So rather than taking this pervasive, unending perspective that these are the Cubs -- so of course they'll falter and eventually fade -- maybe we should consider that maybe, just maybe, talent will win out.

That's not being an optimist, or a Pollyellon, by any means.  It is simply recognizing that -- say it with me now -- the Cubs are not cursed.  Get over this ridiculous sense of hopelessness and have some frickin' balls for once, Cub fans!

If I was a Cardinals fan

I would automatically assume that we won the division. After all, it is the job of the Central Division to hold up Pujols nuts up for him. They believed they were going to win the division the last two years; this year is no different.

Optimism

I hate to say it, but I would be more optimistic if Fuld was starting tomorrow. Lou has said Soriano is playing tomorrow.

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