Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Gamecast: July 12th vs. Cardinals

Game 1: Kyle Loshe (4-4, 3.99) vs. Carlos Zambrano (4-4, 3.47 ERA)
Story Lines

First off, who thinks that Ted Lilly signing was bad now? The more and more I see him pitch, the better I feel. Lilly's effort yesterday, plus a little hitting, gives the Cubs a chance to end the first half on a good note.

The Cubs and Cards will battle twice today for a chance to gain some momentum heading into the All-Star Break. I'll focus more on Game 1 today, with Kurt coming in to focus on Game 2.

In Game 1, Carlos Zambrano tries to follow up his solid outing on Monday. Big Z is the perfect guy to go in first game. Kurt made a point in his recap that "Mastermind" Tony LaRussa is throwing Lohse in Game 1, which I don't understand either. Lohse hasn't made a start since June 3rd, and I feel an Aramis Ramirez big day coming.

With Geovany Soto out for the time being, it looks like Jake Fox might see some time behind the dish. It makes sense, but I have a feeling the Cards might run all day long. Of course Fox could just smash a 3-run home run to shut up everyone.

Who's Hot
Carlos Zambrano - In his last two starts, Z has given up 3 runs in 13 innings of work. Too bad he's 1-1 in those starts. He pitched on 3-days rest last time out and was very sharp, except against Brian McCann.

Ryan Theriot - He had two hits, and two runs score yesterday to push his average up to .297. He also drew a walk in the process. As long as he keeps getting on base, Derrek Lee's home runs won't be solo shots.

Who's Not
Kosuke Fukudome - I can't figure Kosuke out. One day he looks great, then the next two he's a combined 0-for-9. He's still got a .370 OBP, so that's something.

Conclusions
The Cubs really need a sweep today to make all of use feel better. A sweep and the Cubs are 1.5 games out with five more games to play than the Cardinals.

Game 2, by Kurt: Adam Wainright (9-5, 3.09 ERA) vs. Randy Wells (4-3, 2.48 ERA)

And here's where things will get interesting.

If the Cubs can manage to take advantage of the long break between outings for Lohse, then they have a fairly good shot of sweeping the day for one reason: the Cardinals bullpen will be depleted and LaRussa will be inclined to use Wainwright for too long.

On the other hand, it might not go so splendidly -- and with the Cubs, we've known that to often be the case in this, our season of woe.

Yesterday in the Game Recap I wrote something about how the Cubs would be playing for the season today.  Probably that was a bit dramatic.  Still, if the Cubs win today they will enter the All Star Break with the fewest losses in the Central and within 1.5 games of the division lead.  And if they lose both games, then they will have been dealt a crushing, demoralizing blow that might just be the dot at the end of the exclamation point on how crappy this season has been. 

What would perhaps be the most Cub to do would be to split -- they'd still be 3.5 games out, nothing lost nothing gained.  Our hopes wouldn't be quite dashed nor would they be confirmed ... it'd be treading water as usual. 

So c'mon, Cubs, do something unusual today.  Win!

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