Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Gamecast (July 2, 2010) Reds @ Cubs

Happy Independence Day Everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's July 4th and the Cubs have a game today. We live in the greatest country on the planet Earth so let's not get too down (well, Kurt lives in Canada, but let's not hold that against him! Smiling I wanted to mention one other thing from yesterday's game. During the game there was a play where Randy Wells laid down a bunt and didn't run hard to first and it resulted in a near wild throw that should have ended up with Wells on first base.

Now, Bob Brenly lost his mind. He screamed at Wells for not booking down the line but realistically, I am happy he didn't. I don't want these guys to risk hurting themselves running the bases. Please, Randy, jog down the line. Don't hurt yourself. You're an automatic out anyway. Whenever you reach base, it's gravy. If Wells pitches like he did yesterday all year, I don't care if he walks up to the plate and takes 3 batting practice fastballs down the middle of the plate and then takes a left turn back to the dugout.

On to today's game:

Today's Matchup: Mike Leake (95.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 4.42 xFIP) vs Ted Lilly (86.2IP, 3.12 ERA, 4.61 xFIP)

Two pitchers who have an ERA significanly lower than it should be hook up today. Lilly is a fly ball pitcher who needs to keep people off the bases per the walk. But you all know that. Leake needs to get ground balls to win. He has a ground ball rate near 50%. The question is this. Can Leake keep the ball on the ground. I do think the Cubs will have the advantage if the wind is blowing in but the Reds will have the advantage if it's blowing out. Of if the Cubs offense takes the field Smiling

Who's Hot: My man Starlin is 8 for 20 with 4 doubles and 4 unintentional walks since June 26th. People who say there is no good reason to watch the Cubs this year should focus on this player. He is 20 years old and I think he's at the beginning of what is going to be a great career. That is enough reason to keep watching.

Who's Not: There's no longer a good reason for the Cubs to keep batting Tyler Colvin near the top of the lineup. His OBP has drifted down to .316. I don't think he's that bad at that aspect of the game but he is always going to be a bit of an out machine. He will need to hit the ball out of the park regularly to be valuable long term. It's been a nice 3 months but I think we're finally starting to see the real Colvin.

Conclusion: The result of yesterday's game is the reason why I have been dumbfounded by the Cubs this year. See, the starting pitching is so good that they should win games like this. Fairly low scoring games that the Cubs come out on top of should be their forte this year. Instead they've been losing those games all year. The truth is one of two things is going to happen in the second half. Either the Cubs' starting pitching will get worse or the team will surprise people by putting together a bunch of unexpected wins. It shouldn't be enough to get them into playoff contention but I confess, I've never seen a team with starting pitching this good lose so regularly.

I disagree. There is NO

I disagree. There is NO excuse for a player to not hustle-- especially for a player on a team as bad as the Cubs are. I don't care if it's a sac bunt or not, you hustle your ass down the line.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award