Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: July 19th at Washington D.C.

Hopefully Cub fans are bringing their sweepin' brooms to the game.
GameCastKevin Hart (0-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Garrett Mock (0-2, 6.92 ERA)

Story-lines
Wise words from the ShoutBox

Ryno:
I think the series coming up in Philly will be a good barometer of what the second half will be for the Cubs.

It's hard to disagree with that.  As fun as it's been to see the Cubs trounce the lowly Nationals, a truer test of their talent will be the first place Phillies. 

Still, I don't think there's a true Cub fan out there who's actually complaining about the team winning their first series after the break.  The Cubs are -- as they have been in the past -- one good weekend away from seizing the division lead, something that many people have doubted possible.  And it's even possible -- albeit unlikely -- that the Cubs will be in a position to tie for the lead tomorrow.

Perhaps at last the slumbering bear is coming out of hibernation.

Who's Hot
Derrek Lee, Three Finger Hill, Kosuke Fukudome, Alfonso Soriano, Mike Fontenot, Reed Johnson
- Since the All Star Break, this group of players have combined to bat .385, feasting on the poor pitching of the Nationals.  Considering that Fukudome, Soriano, Fontenot, and Bradley are the current incanation of the Questionable Quartet, we'll take that as a good sign.

Kevin Gregg
- In the month of July, 1-0, 0.90 ERA, 5 saves.  But he's pitched in the last 3 games, so don't expect to see him today.

Carlos Marmol
- Also in July, 0-0, 1.13 ERA, 9 SO in 8 IP.  Then again, he's also walked 5.

Who's Not
Milton Bradley, Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez - Ignoring their few-and-far-between big hits, these three hitters are batting .171 since the break.  At this point I'm pretty much over Bradley -- wait 'til next year, kid -- but Ramirez is troublesome as he may or may not be of help to the offense with his damaged shoulder.

Conclusions

Hart is an enigma who will give me cold-sweats whenever he faces Dunn.  Mock is a first-time starter with a terrible record so far this year.  I like the Cubs' chances.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award