Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: April 26th - Cubs at St. Louis, our fragile shells are cracked edition

Cubs at Cards
Rich Harden (1-1, 4.20 ERA) vs. Todd Wellemeyer (1-1, 5.29 ERA)
Story-Lines
The sky is falling!  The Cubs have lost 4 straight!  Run, run for your lives!  Abandon this team before it's too late! 

Erm, sorry about that.  I need to chill.  Anyway, I wonder what it would be like to live in Lou Piniella's brain on a day like this.  The team he's managing - expected to be the best offensive team in baseball - is struggling, is sluggish, and is losing a lot.  Like Murtaugh, he's probably feeling way too old for this shiz.  I'm waiting for Lou to crack.

Who's Hot
Theriot, Fukudome, and even Fontenot all managed 2 hits yesterday.  Regrettably the Cubs left 9 on the bases and have struggled to get the hits when they count.

Who's Not
The heart of the lineup and the bullpen.  It was a testament to the '08 Cubs that they were able to win so many games when the top of the lineup struggled.  Believe it or not, they are still that deep.  They're just having trouble getting the engines revved up. 

As for the bullpen, I think that the release of Luis Vizcaino has complicated matters.  Maybe he was an attitude problem; probably he was pissed to not be used often enough.  But his departure plus the promotion of Samardzija minus the reliability of Marmol plus the flailings of Patton and Cotts equals a volatile situation.  I get the feeling that once the Cubs pull the plug on the Patton experiment - due any day now - the last few spots of the pen will become a revolving door until somebody mans up and takes the job with authority ... or until Hendry makes a few trades.

Conclusions
I would expect the Cubs to play hard today.  They don't want to get swept by the Cardinals, they don't want to fall a game under .500, and they certainly don't want to cause Lou to stroke out in the dugout.  (Hmm "Stroke Out in the Dugout" could totally be a song.) 

Which isn't to say that they will win today, or escape their current troubles by having one magical performance, but if you don't think the Cubs are a better team than how they've been playing then I have nothing for you.

One last note
I'm posting this a little early today because I have the always-exciting marriage course to go to in order to gain the church's permission to have a Catholic wedding.  I sure am happy I get to do that rather than watch baseball.  (Hint: that was sarcasm)

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at St. Louis
Game Recap: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3, rising tide of panic
Game Recap: Cardinals 8, Cubs 2, our season is clearly over

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