Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Series Preview - Cubs vs. Marlins

The Cubs probably didn't want to start the second half 2-4. They also probably didn't want that to coincide with a seven game winning streak for the Brewers. Again, I could be wrong about both those things, but I believe them to be safe bets. But facts are what facts are and life is what life is and a one game lead with 61 games to go is nothing more than that. And in related news, and apple is an apple, a cat is a cat, and a monkey who doesn't throw his poo is hardly a monkey at all.

I could go on, but I believe my point has been made. Right? Right.

The mediocre Marlins are now coming into Chicago for a four game set and have as much on the line as the Cubs. They sit a scant one game behind the Phillies and Mets who are tied for the NL East lead and the Marlins the advantage of watching those two teams beat up on each other. This is a great opportunity for the Marlins and so we know they'll be all lathery and feisty and, just possibly, all mojo'd up. So the Cubs will have to be sharp this weekend if they want to keep the Brewers in their rightful place: Second.

Luckily, the rotation is set up to demonstrate the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station rotation (erm, sorry, got a little carried away there. Had a little nerdgasm. Speaking of which, see Dark Knight).

Series Preview

Cubs vs. Marlins

The Matchups

Thursday, July 24th, 7:05 PM CT

Carlos Zambrano vs. Scott Olsen - Carlos wasn't particularly sharp in his first post-All-Star break outing after having looked so very sharp after coming off the disabled list (including the All-Star game itself). I'm chalking this up to the same post-All-Star game hangover that has spread throughout the team*. I fully expect Zambrano to regain his control and return to the dominant force that we know and love (making him the subject of many a non-sexual man crush).

(* Scrappy white guys appear immune )

Scott Olsen goes for the Marlins and has been pretty good so far, although without those sexy peripherals I like. He strikes out too few and walks too many, but that hasn't stopped him from compiling a solid sub-four ERA. Of course, it helps when you play in a hitting vortex like Dolphins Stadium as Olsen has an ERA around five on the road. Looks like a good matchup for the Cubs on paper, but that's why they play the play the game on grass (not paper).

(Actually, that's not entirely true. They could play the game on little torn up bits of paper, but then they would be kind of like hamsters and, while that's fine in and of itself, I think it would be a little odd to see them drinking out of those little bottles that hang outside down. I'm not sure how they feel about ceder chips, but I believe the fielders would have a hard time getting true hops)

Anyway.

Friday, July 25th, 1:20 PM CT

Ryan Dempster vs. Josh Johnson

Dempster was outstanding in his last start and is now 11-4 with a 3.05 ERA. And who thought Dempster would even win as many as 11 games all season, let alone with an ERA hovering around 3? Hmm? That's right, you all should be ashamedof yourself for doubting that Dempster would be anything less than an All-Star this year. You didn't see this coming because you are nothing but a Doubting Thomas and a Negative Nancy and, I'm sorry to say, a Hemmoraging Harold (that last one isn't so much a personality issue as something you should probably get looked at before you bleed out).

Because I totally saw this coming. Because I'm awesome.

*cough*

Josh Johnson has pitched in all of two games and, unless he was also drafted by the San Diego Padres, I have nothing to say. Except that he got his hair cut and it's on the internet. With a comment expressing disappointment at this fact.

Maybe Buzz Bissinger was right.

Okay, running out of time before work. Speed round!

Saturday, July 26th, 12:05 PM CT

Rich Hardin vs. Chris Volstad

Harden...so good. Can't...find words. So. Beautiful. Should have sent...a poet.

Volstad has had an excellent first 16 innings. Here's to things evening out.

Sunday, July 27th, 1:20 PM ET

Jason Marquis vs. Rick VandenHurk

Marquis has actually been solid of late, although still quite unspectacular. Since he's apparently going to be in the rotation, I'll take it.

VandenHurk has the kind of name that makes me want to punch him in the face. And why isn't the "D" capitalized?

Okay, time to get things turned around. Welcome home, Cubs. Now get some wins.

Go Cubs.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award