Gamecast (July 18, 2010) Phillies @ Cubs
If you hear anyone suggest that anyone other than Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the NL right now, don't believe them. The Cubs have a tough task tonight. Halladay does with his does by keeping the ball down and in the strike zone. Think of him as a much better version of Carlos Silva. He doesn't blaze fastballs at 98 MPH through the top half of the zone. He just doesn't walk anyone and he allows a ton of grounders when he's not racking up his 7.5 or so K's per nine. Plus he is extremely durable and likes to complete his games.
Tonight's Matchup: Roy Halladay (148IP, 2.19ERA, 2.95xFIP) vs Tom Gorzelanny (74IP, 3.19ERA, 3.93xFIP)
Halladay is leading the NL in xFIP and is second in the all of baseball in that category (There's an AL pitcher in first in that category, but he's extremely underrated so without looking up, I don't think you can guess who it is). Gorzelanny is no pushover, however, and given that he is basically the Cubs' 3rd or 4th starter (depending on your opinon of Carlos Silva), it says nice things about the Cubs' pitching staff. I've said it before, watch how many walks Gorz issues. If he can limit himself to 1 walk max per 3 IP, this is going to be a nice pitcher's duel. Otherwise, it will be another long Sunday night.
Who's Hot: It was suggested by one of my colleagues here at Goat Riders that Starlin Castro be sent back to Iowa on one of his patented "Do Something" posts. I for one think he will never see the minor leagues (except on an occasional injury rehab assignment) again in his career. Castro is hitting .333/.400/.556 in July and making a case for some rookie of the year votes. On top of that, he has shown all of us Cub fans what a real shortstop looks like and even has a steal of home. He's only 20 and his existence, if nothing else, on this team makes me very excited for the future.
Who's Not: I don't really have a problem playing Tyler Colvin over Kosuke Fukudome if the Cubs want to do that but I do think it's debateable whether or not Colvin is actually a better player than Kosuke right now. Colvin is hitting a pitiful .213/.275/.404 in the month of July and needs to, at the very least, be removed from the top of the order.
Conclusion: Tonight would be a big win for the Cubs, one of the biggest of the year. Beating Roy Halladay and winning the first series of the second half would be huge. I am still a believer that the Cubs can and should try to give a good showing in the second half. I acknowledge that losing will mean some good things also, like a draft pick, but I just can't root for my Cubs to lose and refuse to do that. Let's beat the Phillies tonight and remove the taste of Marmol's blowup yesterday.