Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Crosstown Series

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GROTA's Crosstown Series Recap

So often in baseball, with its epically proportioned regular season, a team can shrug off a single game, or a series, or even a bad month. "It's just one loss," you might say, or, "That team is on fire right now," or, "The Cubs are always miserable in June."

At the same time, a single game, or inning, or play -- or in this case, 30 seconds' worth of off-field antics -- can dramatically reshape a season.

It's fitting that Carlos Zambrano's latest meltdown -- the one that may well be his last in a Cub uniform, if standard Chicago media outlets are to be believed -- came on a weekend where the Cubs got their first taste of Kurt's dreaded Number of Death, as the Bears in Blue momentarily went ten games below .500 for the season. As Kurt went on to suggest, these latest events may finally bring about the changing of the guard that this team appears to need so badly.

Having said that, there were some bright spots for the Cubs against the White Sux this weekend.

Take the starting rotation -- that is, the pitchers that comprise the Cubs' starting rotation as of today. Following Ted Lilly's successful bounceback in Seattle, three of the Cubs' other four starters -- Carlos Silva, Ryan Dempster, and Tom "The Phoenix from the Ashes" Gorzelanny -- looked good, combining for 16 strikeouts to just three walks in 16.1 innings pitched.

The Cubs' pair of young, potentially star-powered position players impressed, as well. Starlin Castro went 3-for-6 on the weekend and, perhaps more importantly, didn't strike out once. And Tyler Colvin hit a home run off of a left-handed pitcher (and it was a decent one at that in John Danks), going 3-for-9 on the weekend. Also, speaking of young Cub position players, Geo Soto went 3-for-4 today, and while his .259 average may not impress you, his .398 on-base percentage should.

On the farm, the Cubs have promoted some prospects to higher levels, most notably moving Brett Jackson to Double A Tennessee. So, yeah, the youth movement is on, and it is going pretty damn well. It will be interesting to see how many long time Cubs -- including the 29-year old Carlos Zambrano -- are kept around to see it through.

Game Recap: White Sox 4, Cubs 1

Guh
Apparently in the excitement of a teeny tiny little blog war -- and the intra-blog strife of a debate on the culpability of Lou Piniella for this mess of a baseball season -- a game was played today. 

I don't know why but for some reason my Game Recap got eaten.  So this will be an even shorter, abbreviated version of my already short, abbreviated Game Recap.

The Cubs, they did not score many runs. 

Alfonso, he had another 0-fer.

Dempster, he didn't pitch like an ace, walking 6 and striking out 4.

In terms of the stories that dominated the day at GROTA, as far as I'm concerned the mini-blog war is over (which will not stop our terrific friends over at Another Cubs Blog from making their snarky comments, but I do derive a ridiculous amount of pleasure knowing that they read me while I would sooner crap into a diaper and smear it all over my head than read them) and, speaking of craps-into-diapers, regarding Lou:

As far as the anti-Lou, he must be fired sentiment goes, I am apparently alone.  Actually I'm a little shocked at how teflon Lou has been in this situation considering that he's the rebound manager from The Worst Managing Experience of Our Lives.  You'd think that once we're cynical we'd stay that way but I guess two years of winning slaps blinders on even the most scrutinous pair of eyes.

I'll save my Lou rhetoric for a post coming to a blog near you tomorrow morning, but I do have a few questions I'd love to have answered: what would Lou need to do for you to lose faith in him?  And how responsible is he -- and managers in general -- for the output of his team?

Anyway.  The Cubs lost today, dropping to 4 out of first and 1 below .500.  But don't worry - nobody appears keen on winning in the NL Central.  Tomorrow, they play for revenge!

Are you not entertained?!?!

I’ve had a hard time trying to describe what it’s like trying to watch the Cubs/White Sox series. The best way I can put it is that the games have been like watching gladiatorial combat.

Remember in the movie Gladiator how in that one scene when Russell Crowe is just mowing down dudes and hacking limbs all over the place? At first the crowd is going crazy for that stuff but then at the end – with blood and guts all over the place – they are just kind of sitting there in silence.

That’s how I feel the Cubs/Sox series has been…particularly this year. We root and chant and cheer while these teams kick the crap out of each other at their respect home parks, but it’s just kind of awkward when its all over.

As much as I loved to see the Cubs sweep the White Sox last week, I don’t like rubbing it the face of White Sox fans. On the other side, the people that I lightly associate myself with who consider themselves White Sox fans have been relatively quiet about their recent sweep of the Cubs. It’s tiring and nearly pointless to argue about who the better team (particularly this year) and the conversation ALWAYS inevitably comes to this…

Cubs Fan: You guys and your stupid ballpark suck.
White Sox Fan: Well at least we won a championship in the last 100 years.

Good lord it that repetitive.

So finally (FINALLY!) the Crosstown Series is over and we can continue on with the awkwardness that is trying to survive a 2008 season without killing ourselves or losing all our hair. Cubs fans can go back to discussing potential trades for starting pitchers and how best to use Fukudome in the lineup while Sox fans can go back o doing…whatever it is they do..

The Cubs are now heading to San Francisco to take on a surprisingly decent Giants team, but they do get a chance to tee-off on lefty Barry Zito tonight. That SHOULD do wonders for this team’s confidence…should.

I want to conclude this post by just saying that these next 7 days could be some of the most important this season. Right now, the Cubs are experiencing an emotional low of frustration (you could just see it on the field yesterday) and they need to get it together before the weekend series against the Cardinals.

I’m going to the Cubs/Cards game Sunday at Busch…so I’m hoping I’ll have a good reason to drive 5 hours with a broom in my car.

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