Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game & Series Recap: Cubs 5, Reds 2 (3 games to 0)

Their newly-extended ace has been on the disabled list with a stupidly broken toe.

Their star lefty pitcher is also on the DL and will miss at least three weeks with knee surgery.

Their star slugging left fielder is batting .253 and got dropped 5 spots in the lineup this season.

Their star center fielder is worth perhaps a quarter of his 12-million-dollar-per-year contract.

Their star slugging right fielder is batting .248 and, four months into his first season, has already been the subject of trade rumors.

Their star slugging third baseman missed two months with a shoulder injury that will require surgery.

Their new second baseman?  Couldn't hit lefties if somebody held them up for him. 

Their ace setup man is as wild as a drunken Lindsay Lohan and as consistent as an amateur's souffle.

All of that, and, after a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the Chicago Cubs are the first place team in the NL Central.  Go figure.

They did it this series by just beating the hell out of Reds pitchers.  The Cubs collected 33 hits and 11 walks this series, including 15 extra bases (7 of which were homeruns). 

The Cubs starters, meanwhile, all went 6 innings, all held the Reds down, and all benefited from good relief pitching -- the bane of the Cubs so far in 2009.  In 9 innings of relief this series, Cubs relievers held the Reds to 8 hits, 3 walks, and 5 earned runs while striking out 9.  (Okay, fine, so the bullpen bled runs, but only, it seems, when it didn't matter.)

Chicago now holds a half game lead in the Central, but they lead by 3 games in the loss column.  They've knocked the Reds back to 7.5 games out of first (and 9 games under .500) and their next challenge is the 3rd place Astros, who are 50-48, 2.0 games out. 

Current Record: 51-45
Position in the NL Central: 1st place, .5 games ahead of St. Louis
Magic Number: 65 (thanks to cubsmagicnumber.com)
Best Possible Record: 117-45
Worst Possible Record: 51-111
Record needed to win 110: 59-7
On Pace For: 86-76

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