Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recap: Astros 5, Cubs 3 -- Harden hardly helped himself

Game Recap
On the news that he would not get traded to a playoff contender, Cubs pitcher Rich Harden had one of his worst outings since the first half of the season last night.

Harden pitched only 5 innings, surrendering 5 runs on 5 hits and 6 walks while also striking out 9. He's probably got a fair shot of winning 10 this season, and getting his ERA below 4, but I have a feeling that he will be one of the bargain pitchers on the market this year. In other words, the Cubs might want to hesitate to offer him arbitration, lest he pulls a Maddux, accepts it, and gets paid more for one year than he would've made on the open market.

He was relieved by three guys who struck out 6 in 4 innings -- giving the Cubs 15 strikeouts as a team against the Astros -- and gave up 0 runs, which is always pointlessly nice. One of those successful pitchers was Aaron Heilman, whose continued presence on the Cubs is baffling. Didn't the Giants claim him? Were they willing to deal anything to get him? No? Then the Cubs still should have let him go.

Offensively it was a pretty dry day, except for Derrek Lee who hit his 26th of the year. It's amazing that he might finish the year with 30 homeruns, considering the time he's missed -- mixed in with the neck problems he's had. Wasn't Lee supposed to be on the decline?

On a side note, the waiver deals this year are continuously surprising to me. So far there have been some odd moves. The White Sox, who were actively trying to improve just a few weeks ago, are now active sellers and are breaking up their team in a way that Jim Hendry should be taking notes on. They've dealt away Jim Thome and Jose Contreras after having acquired Jake Peavy and Alex Rios. It's interesting because they are "only" 6 games out of first place. The Cubs are "only" 5 games out of the Wild Card, and like usual Jim Hendry will not break apart his team or try to gear up for 2010. But after more than half a decade of seeing Jim in the front office, I can honestly say it's not a surprise.

The Cubs play for revenge later today.

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