Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: April 27th - Cubs in Arizona

Cubs at D-Backs
Ted Lilly (2-1, 2.41 ERA) vs. Rich Haren (1-3, 1.38 ERA)
Story-lines
After 17 games the Cubs are merely 1 win over .500.  That's not exactly what we thought would happen.

Probably the most interesting thing - besides wondering whether or not the Cubs will actually win - is the continued lineup juggling.  In case you're not up to speed, here's the latest ...

Derrek Lee missed yesterday's game due to neck spasms.
Aramis Ramirez missed yesterday's game because of a nagging leg injury.
Alfonso Soriano didn't miss any time despite taking one to the noggin.
Milton Bradley remains "a long ways away" from returning from a groin made sore in an Other Than the Fun Way. 
Carlos Marmol probably won't be ready just yet to return to action out of the bullpen.
Neal Cotts pitches as though he has a bladder control problem.

That's five players on the 25 man roster who may be playing at less-than-100%, assuming they play at all.  Did we mention that, for some reason, the Cubs aren't putting any of their walking wounded on the DL?  Can't wait to see how that story plays out.

Who's Hot
Alfonso Soriano - Sori looks like he may finish the month of April with a better-than.300 AVG.  That would be a first for him in his career as a Cub.
Ryan Theriot - Theriot is back to batting in the #2-spot, where he spent some time last year.  I can't exactly figure out how, but Yahoo Sports has him scoring 3 runs in yesterday's game despite having reached base only once, via a hit.  (A closer inspection reminds me that he reached twice more, once by error and the other by fielder's choice)
Kosuke Fukudome - The birthday boy didn't hit his 4th homerun last year until June 5th.  So far this year he's on pace to hit 38.  Remember back in Spring when everybody was all "ooooh he sucks, it's painful to watch him swing a bat," well, like, how do you feel about that NOW?  Awww snap!
Micah Hoffpauir - All mocking aside, Hoffpauir is doing exactly what you'd hope to see from the team's top bench player/pinch hitter.  He's putting up monster numbers in limited at bats while reminding us defensively why he's better off saved for those key situations. 

Who's Not
Reed Johnson - On a day when the anemic Cubs offense couldn't be contained, Reed Johnson responded by having a big ol' 0-fer.  I'm wondering if he'll play tonight or if, should Lee return to the lineup, Reed will return to the bench for Hoff to move to RF and Fukudome to CF.  (Man, the Cubs juggling act is kind of insane)
Geovany Soto - Here's a crazy thought.  You know how he missed some time because of a sore shoulder?  What if his shoulder is still sore and it's affecting his swing?  Just thinking aloud.
Neal Cotts - Cotts appears hell-bent on putting together the worst streak in baseball.  He seems to want to give up 1 hit, 1 walk, or 1 run (or more) in every single outing.  So far this year he has yet to have a perfect inning, or even a perfect outing.  The "closest" he's come is April 10th against the Brewers when he pitched 0.0 innings and surrendered 0 hits, 0 runs, and 0 walks.  Of course, he did hit the one guy he faced...
Dave Patton - Has the Patton experiment ended yet?  Perhaps soon?

Conclusions
Arizona kind of sucks, so we've got that going for us.  Ted Lilly has been the steadiest starter on the team, which is funny if you think about it since he got his ass kicked in the first game he pitched against the Astros. 

Maybe the one thing we should really be looking for is consistency.  The Cubs have completely lacked in that so far - aside from consistently having some very nagging injuries.

And I'd like to add one other thing ... if the Cubs lose tonight, it reallllly doesn't mean much.  So please don't panic, unless of course Soriano, Fukudome, and Ramirez have a three-way outfield collision that sends them all to the DL.  Then - and only then - the Cubs are screwed.

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