Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: April 21st Reds vs. Cubs

Reds Vs. CubsMicah Owings (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Rich Harden (0-1, 5.00 ERA)
Story-lines
Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds come to Chicago.  Cub fans have to wonder what Dusty will bring with him on this trip.  Will he make excuses about the number of day games?  Perhaps he'll put a little bit of the blame on the fans for not supporting the team if the Reds play poorly?  I suppose he could always imply that we're racist and overly-critical of him.

Nevertheless, the Cubs will be looking to extend their stranglehold on the NL Central with a throttling of the Reds who themselves are only half a game out of first. 

Who's Hot
Aramis Ramirez - A-Ram batted .462 in his last series against the Cardinals with 1 homer and 5 RBI.  He's swinging a heavy stick right now and is on pace to hit 53 homers and drive in 193 RBI.  (Reminder: it's only been eleven games.)

Kosuke Fukudome - We're going to learn a lot about Fukudome this season.  For example, if his totals drop down to around .265 or .270 again, then he's a flash-in-the-pan hot starter.  If he can stay fairly level all season long, then he's a genius hitter who adjusted to the league.  At this point, 'dome is on pace to hit 44 homeruns.

Ryan Theriot - Hmm.  Ryan Theriot is batting .400 right now.  He's speedy.  He's actually hitting a fair number of doubles.  He bats righty, Fukudome bats lefty, and Ramirez bats righty.  Sounds like the ideal 1-2-3 R-L-R combo the Cubs need at the top of the order.  And yet he'll be batting 8th tonight - if we're lucky.

Who's Not
Geovany Soto - Jack Sparrow's stunt double needs to find the white pearl pretty fast.  (In case the metaphor is just too stupid to be sensible, the white pearl in this case would be a pitched baseball.)  When Geo isn't pirating the Caribbean, he's experiencing 0-fers.  But it's not as bad as it looks.  He's had 5 games in which he's had 4-or-more plate appearances, and he's failed to hit in 3 of them.  Okay, 60% is pretty bad, but it's still a very small sample size. 

Aaron Miles + Mike Fontenot - Our two-headed, switch-hitting, ring-bearing, Mount-Doom-Heading second base duo isn't exactly winning over old enemies right now.  Between the two of them Miles and Fontenot are 10 for 51 (.196) with 3 extra base hits.  That cute girl wearing a DeRosa game who's sitting next to you at the game tonight will be secretly crying when you aren't looking.

Derrek Lee - On a bigger scale, Lee's doing much better now, thank you.  But he batted a meager .214 in 3 games against the Cardinals.  It'd be nice to watch D.Lee (still DP free, by the way) have a big series against Dusty's boys. 

Conclusions
As Rob noted, Rich Harden is throwing tonight and apparently that guy could crap a 10 strikeout performance if he had to.  There's one thing the Cubs are missing, but luckily it's something every team is "missing" early on in the year - consistency.  The offense will set the world on fire, but the pitching will crap the bed.  The pitching will come close to shutting down the opposition, and the team will still lose 1-0.  The rotation will be aces, the bullpen will be eights.  You get what I'm saying.  But nobody "puts it all together" in the first two weeks of April. 

Still, the Cubs are in a position to pummel the Reds, and I'm pretty sure they're entirely capable of doing it. 

Quick Links
Series Preview: Reds at Chicago Cubs

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Wow, I've gotten it both on here and Desipio! Guess everyone else is watching the game like a normal person.

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Neal Cotts & David Patton

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