Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: April 23rd Reds vs. Cubs Rubber Match

GameCast!
Aaron Harang (1-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 5.21 ERA)

Story-lines
It's another rubber game for the Chicago Cubs (or as I hoakingly called it, a Rubber Match).  In his last outing, Carlos Zambrano went 7 innings and gave up 7 runs.  Aaron Harang, meanwhile, appears to be his old self pre Dusty-Destructo days. 

Amazingly, Jeff Samardzija appears to be headed to Chicago.  I call it "amazing" because in order to make room for him, the Cubs are cutting a guy with a 0.00 ERA.  I'm referring to Luis Vizcaino who has 2 hits allowed, 3 strikeouts and 0 walks in 3.2 innings of work.  He's called "seldom used" by the Tribune although at this point he's pitched in 31% of the Cubs games - putting him on pace for 50 over a full season.

Maybe Lou sees something that the stat lines don't convey, but it's a little baffling that he and his 4 million owed would get cut over Neal Cotts who has turned into a pitching masochist. 

Also still on the team are Dave Patton - 5.79 ERA - and Angel Guzman - 5.87 ERA.  It just seems weird.  Then again, Luis Vizcaino never even got his own tag here at GROTA, so maybe it was just ... destiny.

Who's Hot
Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome - It's a strange definition of "hot."  It's more like "who got a hit yesterday."  But Soriano is now batting .304, by far his best start as a Cub.  Fukudome is at .348.  Ramirez is batting .362.  And Lee, who started out slow and was sluggish against the Cardinals, is still batting an impressive .344 in his last 29 at bats. 

Who's Not
Geovany Soto - He went 0 for 4 yesterday and is now batting .115 on the season.  I have a feeling that barring a really, really hot May, an All Star selection is not in Soto's future for 2009.

Milton Bradley - Lou's cleanup hitter is batting .043 on the season right now and the Cubs are still 8-5 after 13 games.  Here's a little fun math for you.  If Bradley finishes the year with a .300 batting average in 520 at bats, he'll need to go 155 for his next 497, which is a .312 AVG.  Actually, when I put it that way it seems very possible and nothing at all to worry about.  Let's talk about Bradley again 23 at bats from now.

Conclusions
The Cubs are in a crowded NL Central right now.  By that I mean that they are 1 of 4 teams playing better-than-.500 baseball.  Can you believe that the Pirates have 9 wins right now?

The Reds are 8-6 and are poised to hurdle Chicago in the standings if they win today.  And if they win I hope they enjoy it because it won't last. 

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