Series Preview: Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros
Hey, look, it's time for real baseball! And do you know how I know it's time? Because it snowed last night in Chicago (oh look, I just killed myself). Nothing says baseball like a thin coating of slush and a 24 degree wind chill.
But no problem for the Cubs because they'll be playing it beautiful Houston under a starry sky (assuming, of course, that they paint some sort of starry sky on the roof of the Houston Dome. Again, nothing says baseball...).
Alright, enough talking about the weather as a) unless you're my grandparents, you stopped feigning interest 175 characters ago and b) the weather sucks. Here are your keys to the series:
- Has Houston recovered from their climate fatigue? You may recall the devastating hurricane at the end of last season that left Houston mentally unprepared for their game against the Cubs, resulting in a no-hitter for Carlos and a one-hitter for Lilly. Will they be up for today's game? I'm so excited to find out, I think I just soiled myself!
- Hey look! Ten seasons at Minute Maid! That's just...super.
- Questions still linger as to whether Wandy Rodriguez has recovered from World Pillow Fight Day. Who knew he was allergic to down?
- While the word is that Lance Berkman remains inconsolable at the loss of Megan Joy, I don't see this affecting his game any. The man's a professional.
It's baseball time in America (And Texas). Let's take a look at the matchups.
Game One - Carlos Zambrano vs. Roy Oswalt
Can Carlos dominate the Astros without the aid of a Hurricane? I say yes because, although opening day has not historically been a friend to Carlos, last year he handled the Astros to a tune of a 2.96 ERA and I don't believe a hurricane could have hit before more than half of those games. Besides, Carlos is exceptional on 6+ days rest, and I don't have a record of him pitching in over 6 months.
Roy Oswalt is probably even a little better than Carlos (god, I hope Carlos isn't reading this. If his is, I live at 100 Wallaby Lane, Australia City, Australia) and is easily one of the best pitchers in the league. Against the Cubs, however, he has not be particularly dominating and last year he only managed 3 strikeouts in his 15 innings.
It's an epic matchup, people! Set your VCRs!
Game Two - Ryan Dempster vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy name is an adjective (Harry Potter's wand was rather wandy); Ryan Dempster's sounds vaguely like "dumpster." Edge? Let's give it to the better pitcher. Ryan Dempster was the staff ace last year and, up until his epic fail in fifth inning of Game One last year, he was great. Wandy makes me think of a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Fries and a Frosty.
Game two goes to the Demp.
Game Three - Ted Lilly vs. Brian Moehler
Brian Moehler is about as good a third starter as Sean Marshall is a fifth starter. Which is to say, Moehler is not a good third starter. But when your other options are Mike Hampton and...some other guy, you clearly don't have enough options. Moehler checks in a solidly mediocre with a 4.50 ERA and an 11-8 record.
Ted Lilly was the best #3 in baseball last year* with 17 wins in his pocket (along with, interestingly enough, 14 fingers. Watch your back, Koyie). Lilly was roughed up in his last start, but this is the big time now and look for Lilly to step up. Of course, this is the classic frustrating Cubs matchup and exactly the kind of game I hate.
(* note: may not actually be true. No time for research, gotta write!)
I'm going with the Cubs taking two of three (pick your two) against the Astros as a) I'm a Cubs fan and b) the Astros sort of blow.
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