Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Gamecast: July 20th at Phillies

Ted Lilly (9-6, 3.18 ERA) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 3.18 ERA)

Story Lines

I picked a great time to see the Cubs play this year. After a so-so first half, the Cubs did what they had to do by sweeping away the lowly Washington Nationals. Trust me, the Cubs were not perfect, but they did enough to win each night. The only night were there really was any doubt was Saturday night, but the Cubs were able to wait out Jordan Zimmermann and pick up the victory.

I saw a few things over the weekend that interested me. First off, Alfonso Soriano actually looked pretty good at times at the plate. We all know that he hit two big home runs, but he had a few other at bats that he really worked some counts. I'm not saying he's back, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

I'm pretty sure that Jake Fox shouldn't be a full-time 3B. I love his bat, but he still needs serious work with the glove after Sunday's showing.

On the flip side, many of the Cub regulars started to show signs of hitting. (Except Milton Bradley). Also, for the first time, I felt pretty good about the bullpen all season. Kevin Gregg is not flashy, but all of the sudden his ERA is respectable and he's getting people out.

The biggest question make is how will the Cubs fair against a better foe? The Phillies are red hot right now, and they have quality hitting and pitching. The Cardinals are facing the Astros, who are right at .500 as well. This series is a chance for the Cubs to prove they are heading in the right direction by winning 2 of 3. Tonight would be a great chance to take a game with Rodrigo Lopez on the mound. No wonder they want make deals for starters.

Who's Hot

Mike Fontenot - Mike went 6-for-12 with two doubles and a HR in the Nationals series. He may not hit .300, but if he can hit .275 it would help out.

Kosuke Fukudome - This is one player I can't figure out, but he did have six hits and three walks in his last four games. Maybe his teacher can help him keep it up.

Who's Not

Aramis Ramirez  - He did hit his first home run since coming off the DL, but he was 2-for-11 in the series.

Koyie Hill - He's not going to do much at the plate, and we should be ok with that. He was 3-for-15 over the weekend.

Conclusions

The Cubs are within striking distance, but we've been saying that all season. It would be nice to see them take 2-of-3, but to do they they really need to win game one. My buddy told me to stay on the road with the team until they lost, but I had to come back to grad school. Hopefully, they will continue on the hot streak without me.

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