Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: August 31st vs. Astros

GameCastRoy Oswalt (7-5, 3.86 ERA) vs. Rich Harden (8-7, 3.99 ERA)

Story-lines
Have you ever been in a long relationship that was pretty much a shell of itself for a month or two before it actually ended?  Perhaps you knew by the second week of November that there was no future with your significant other, but Thanksgiving was coming up and, y'know, you didn't want to be a sad participant explaining to mom and dad why another one got away... not to mention Christmas was just around the corner and he/she'd been hinting for a while at getting you something spectacular, and is six more weeks not worth a great Christmas gift?  That's sort of what it's like with Rich Harden and the Cubs right now. 

Chances are, they aren't going to sign him once this off season rolls around.  Odds are that whatever the Twins were offering was probably as good or better than anything they might get if he signs with another team and the Cubs are awarded a draft pick.  But while the relationship is all-but-over, the Cubs have another month of baseball to play and they're doing it more for the symbol than the possible result.  After all, if they let Harden go to Minnesota, then they would be giving up on the 2009 season while being "merely" 4 games out of the Wild Card.  Appearances are everything, though, and so no trade was made.  It kind of makes one wonder why they would have waived him to begin with.

Anyway, let's be honest.  Blogging about the Cubs right now sucks.  Hopes are diminished, games remain to be played, and here we are churning out on average more words about the Cubs on a daily basis than perhaps any of the major papers that cover the team.  Sometimes it's not fun, but like Harden, the Cubs, and you and your significant other, we're too invested to quit now. 

But don't worry ... just because things are ending soon doesn't mean it has to be dull.  The nasty photoshops are coming.

Who's hot
Aramis Ramirez - 11 for his last 26, with 8 RBI in his last 6 games, maybe Ramirez should play with a hurt shoulder all the time.

Derrek Lee - He's batting .320 with an .890 OPS in the past week.  Not to repeat myself a lot, but I'd love it if all the Lee haters and Hoffpauir supporters would man up and admit just how wrong they were.

Milton "Eff You" Bradley - Now that it's pretty much too late to matter, Bradley is putting on a clinic.  He's 12 for his last 22 with 2 homers, 5 RBI, and 9 runs scored in the past week.  In other words meet Fred McGriff, version 2.0.

Kosuke Fukudome - He's batting .333 with a .391 OBP in the past week.  His power numbers haven't really been there over that span, but it's not so important so long as he bats leadoff.

Who's Not
Ryan Theriot - A .154 AVG in the past week.

Jake Fox - His only 2 hits in his last 13 at bats have been a double and a grand slam. 

Conclusions
As bad as the Cubs have been, Houston's been worse.  Playing them at home, even as erratic as they've been, with Harden on the mound leads me to believe this should be a win tonight.  Don't prove me wrong, Cubs.  ::shakes fist::

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