Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Gamecast: July 27th vs. Astros

GameCastWandy Rodriguez (10-6, 2.72 ERA) vs. Carlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.48 ERA)

Story Lines

The Cubs are in first place. That is the biggest and best story line of the season. After months of losing and not hitting, the 2009 Cubs have found a way to get to the top of the heap in the NL Central. To stay up on top, the Cubs must continue to hit and pitch well.

Most of the newspapers focused on how the Cubs are not taking first for granted. Also, there's Rosenbum with his take on Milton Bradley. Leave it to him to take all the joy of getting to first place.

There are still few rumors when it comes to the Cubs and the trade deadline. There is talk of a lefty in the pen. There is also talk the Cubs and Pirates are talking.

The Cubs will probably make a move, but I highly doubt the Cub faithful will be jumping up and down about the deal.

Needless to say, the Cubs are playing well heading into the series with the Astros, but this is still a big test. The Cubs have beat up on bad teams since the break, but now it is time to show that they can beat teams that are playing well.

Who's Hot
Kevin Gregg - Our closer gave up 11 earned runs in the months of April and May. Since then, he's given up 7 earned runs in 26 innings, and picked up 15 saves. There is a direct connection between the Cubs moving up the standings and the bullpen getting better, and Gregg's been pretty good of late.

Milton Bradley - I'm going to give Milton a little good news for once. He's 2-for-3 in his last two games with a HR and three runs scored and two walks. Overall, his OBP is up to .382, which is only behind Aramis Ramirez on the team (Plus we know Aramis missed two months).

Alfonso Soriano - Two more hits and his average is up to .253. His OPS (.760) is climbing as well, which is what we pay him for.

Who's Not
Derrek Lee's neck - This is probably going to be an issue all season, but at least Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir are on the team, instead of Phil Nevin.

Mike Fontenot - Just when we thought he was breaking out of the slump, Fontenot goes 1-for-18 in his last five games. If the Cubs do make a move, I bet it's to bring in a 2B.

Conclusions
This a tough match up for the Cubs. Wandy Rodriguez has given the team fits this season, but if the offense can put together a few runs it should be a Cub win tonight.

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