Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Series Preview: Cubs at Houston

Overview:
Okay -- I know I'm crazy, but hear me out for a second.

First -- the Cubs are toast.  You know it, I know it, even they know it.  There's just no way they have the guns to make up a 10 game deficit in 2 months -- nor are they going to catch the Wild Card Giants who have an even better record than the Cardinals do. 

That means that trades should happen.  Parts should be sent elsewhere.  The team should rebuild and reload. 

But if you look closely, you'll see that, shockingly, this team isn't so bad.  Certainly, with Ramirez hitting the way he's capable of, they're better than a .455 ball club. 

With a few young pieces, like Castro and Colvin, along with a few veterans who are actually living up to their abilities, it's conceivable that the Cubs could string together two months of decent baseball.  It's possible, then, that they could finish the season with a .500 record or better.

To accomplish this goal, Chicago needs to win 36 of their remaining 63 games.  They only need to go 36-25 -- not an impossible feat. 

It wouldn't mean much in the long run, but as fans of the Chicago Cubs, I'm sure we could all appreciate that kind of play -- it would be gutsy, it would be fun, and it would be a rare display of a team not quitting just because they're only playing for pride.

So far, the Cubs are off to a good second half start -- they're 6-4, and just finished putting the hammer to the Cardinals.  But now they're on the road -- and winning outside of Wrigley has not always been easy for them.  Here's how they match up starting tonight:

Monday, July 26th - Carlos Silva (9-6 3.86 ERA) vs. Wesley Wright (0-0, 4.40 ERA)
Much like his bottom, Silva's season has gone pear-shaped.  A month ago, he was 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA.  Since July 1st, though, he's given up 15 earned runs in 16 innings of work, raising his ERA to 3.86.  I knew he was inclined to mid-season blow-ups, but not even I thought it was possible. 

Silva's facing 25-year-old Wesley Wright, who made his first start of the season against the Cubs last week.  Wright went 4.2 innings of work, surrendering 6 hits and 6 runs, but only 1 was earned.  The Cubs will try to whup him again tonight.

Tuesday, July 27th - Ted Lilly (3-8, 3.88 ERA) vs. Brett Myers (7-6, 3.24 ERA)
Hey, who knows -- Lilly may not be around to start this game.  His inevitable departure from Chicago is reaching its crucial point -- the trade deadline is less than a week away, and any team who'd want Lilly would want him fresh.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if he didn't pitch tomorrow's game.

Lilly -- or whomever -- will be facing Brett Myers, the former Philly who most resembles a less expensive Jason Marquis -- modest numbers, some winning seasons, but nothing to sing to mom about. 

Wednesday, July 28th - Randy Wells (5-7, 4.07 ERA) vs. Bud Norris (2-7, 6.08 ERA)
Wells is doing his best to recover from a nearly fatal start to this season.  I'll admit it -- he's probably not the one-year-wonder I accused him of being last month, but he's a long ways away from proving without a doubt that I was wrong.  Still, his July is a great start -- he's 2-1 with a 1.26 ERA in 4 starts, and he hasn't failed yet to reach the 7th.

Norris, who has decided to go with the name "Bud" rather than "David," looks like a Bud.  Seriously -- go look at his sneering photo.  The guy looks like fat white trash.  He also pitches like trash -- he's rocking a 6.08 ERA this season, on the tail of his rookie effort which was a 4.53 ERA.  Not great.

Conclusions
The Cubs need to take 2 of 3, and the Astros are bad enough that they just might.  In baseball, momentum is everything -- don't believe me, just think back to the last two post seasons in which the Cubs were vigorously stomped. 

Well, folks, it's time for the Cubs to do some stomping.  And the Astros are primed to get flattened. 

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Spoiler and Silva

Carlos Silva after yesterday's game is 10-4. Not bad considering that I said that the Bradley trade would be a major success if Silva won 11 games. One win away from being a success in my book. lol

I think the Cubs can play the role of spoiler. I want to say that they have 12 more games with the Cards and 6 left with the Reds. I want to see the Cubs make the lives of those two teams miserable.

If you believe Fangraphs' WAR

If you believe Fangraphs' WAR numbers, Silva has been worth 2.1 wins above a replacement player this season, while Milton Bradley has been worth -0.1 wins.

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