Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCasts

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Gamecast: April 27, 2010 - Cubs vs. Nationals

GameCastLivan Hernandez (2-1, 0.75) vs. Tom Gorzellany (0-2, 2.40)

Overview
Take a look at those names and those stats.  Holy shit.  When I think Livan Hernandez, I think fat guy, and an ERA over 5.  I'm sorry, but that's what I think of.  In his three starts, he's been dominant, not allowing a run in two of them, and only allowing 2 ER in 8 innings against Colorado last time out, an outing during which he actually took an L.  Sucks.  Offense didn't support him.  Its a small sample size for sure, and Livan's not turning into a husky Cuban Sandy Koufax.  He's bound to fall apart eventually.  His BABIP this year is .155.  That's not holding up.  Let's say we help him regress to the mean tonight.

Another strong candidate for regression to the mean is the Cubs' starter tonight, Tom Gorzellany.  The 0-2 record isn't pretty, but he's been the benefactor of some shoddy run support.  Last time out he allowed 4 runs (though only 2 were earned) in 5 innings of work.  Gorzo strikes me as a 5 and fly sort of guy, which makes you wonder why the Cubs are sticking with him in the rotation instead of a guy who, I don't know, is a lot better than him?  Sigh.  Anyways, look out.  I feel a lot of runs being scored tonight.

Who's Hot
Pudge Rodriguez is hitting .411 for the Nats.  He was a late scratch for back tightness last night.  Not sure if he's in the lineup tonight.  Ryan Zimmerman has been off to a hot start for the Nats as well, he's now missed 5 straight with hamstring issues.  My fantasy team sure wishes he'd get healthy.  He might play tomorrow, but last I heard, he's out for tonight as well.  On the Cubs side of the ledger, Ryan Theriot and Marlon Byrd are hitting the ball well..but I bet you already knew that!

Who's Not
For the Cubs, D-Lee's really struggling.  His average has fallen all the way to .214.  He needs a big night to get him going.  Aramis is not hot...that's not new news.  And for once, I can say the Cubs bullpen doesn't belong here.  In the past 4 games, the pen has given up 1 run (Z on Saturday) in 9 1/3 innings.  Keep it up fellas!

A win tonight would be 5 in a row and put us over .500 for the first time this decade.  Keep the faith!
-MW

Gamecast: April 26th, 2010 - Cubs vs. Nationals

GameCastCarlos Silva (2-0, 0.95 ERA) vs. John Lannan (1-1, 5.82 ERA)

Overview
Wow, what a difference a trip to Milwaukee can make for a club. The Cubs were done and gone. The fire-sale was about to commence, Jim Hendry and Lou Pinella were on their way out the door.

So what changed? Well, the Cubs moved one pitcher to the pen,sent one to Iowa and activated one off the DL. All of this led to a sweep of the Brewers this weekend. I'm serious, well it was part of it at least.

The Cubs now take on the much improved Washington Nationals, who are currently 10-9 on the short season. Thankfully, the Nats have kept their phenom in the minors and he won't no-hit this week.

Tonight, Cy Young Award canidate Carlos Silva will toe the rubber for the Cubs. Granted, Roy Halladay will probably win the thing, but Silva's going to be a close second. Of course, it would be justified after dealing with MB for an entire year. Do you think the Mariners would be knocking their heads against the wall if it were to happen?

The Nats counter with John Lannan, who is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA in his career against the Cubs. Both of those wins came in 2008. The Cubs will likely use Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker today with the lefty on the mound.

Who's Hot
Cub starters -
The Cubs haven't a really bad game in a while now, which makes me kind of worried about the upcoming games.

Geovany Soto - Who saw this coming after his start? I was starting to get worried after the slow start, but Geo's mashing right now to the tune of a 1.064 OPS.

Who's Not

The only batters/semi-regulars below .295 right now are Aramis Ramirez (3 HR, 9 RBI), Derrek Lee (4 HR, 11 RBI), Jeff Baker  and Xavier Nady. Obviously, the Cubs need Lee and Ramirez to hit more to win, and I think it is a matter of time before that starts to happen.

Conclusions
The Cubs are in a good spot right now. They are currently all alone in 2nd place behind the Cardinals. I know this season has been far from perfect, but there is still a chance to do some good. Hopefully, tonight will keep the winning streak alive.

Gamecast: April 25th, 2010 - Cubs at Brewers

Randy Wells (1-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. Dave Bush (1-0, 2.41 ERA)

Overview

How about that? The Cubs found a way to score some more runs and Ted Lilly tossed six scoreless innings to give the Cubs back-to-back wins. Now the Cubs have a chance to sweep the Brewers once again, which didn't happen a week ago.

Last night the offense was once again powered by Marlon Byrd, who picked up three more hits. Soto picked up two more and even Aramis Ramirez got into the action with a bloop RBI single.

The Cubs are looking better and even the bullpen was effectively wild last night. John Grabow had a chance to blow up, but managed a way out of it with the help of Carlos Zambrano.

What was really nice was the top of the 8th inning when the Cubs tacked on three extra runs, including Big Z's Sac-Fly. On the mound, Z did give up a run but got the job done as the Cubs held on to the 5-1.

Randy Wells looks for his second win of the year, after being denied against New York on Tuesday.

Who's Hot
Marlon Byrd -
He's only hitting .338 on the season so far with 14 RBI.

Who's Not
Derrek Lee -
He's only 3 for 24 in his last seven days. It might be a nice day to give Lee a day off.

Conclusions

The Cubs are starting to play better and hopefully are bout to run off like 7 in a row. Enjoy this great Sunday and go Cubs.

Gamecast: April 24th, 2010 - Cubs at Brewers

Ted Lilly (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Doug Davis (0-1, 11.25 ERA)

Overview

The Cubs are 7-10 after last night's win, which isn't good. The way the starters have thrown it should be much better, but we all know that. Today marks the return of Ted Roosevelt Lilly and the Carlos Zambrano bullpen tour begins, probably.

It was a curious choice to move Big Z to the pen, but the way the starters have thrown it makes a little sense. I figure it is a short term move that ends up with somebody getting traded from the rotation.

The Cubs actually looked good last night when they were pounding out clutch hits as they went to an 8-1 victory.

Tonight the Cubs face another lefty, so the lineup should look a little different. We will probably see Alfonso Soriano and Xavier Nady in the outfield with Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Baker making returns to the infield.

The Cubs beat Davis last week in the home opener with a similar lineup.

Who's Hot

Marlon Byrd - This guy is raking at the plate. In his last seven games, Bryd has 13 hits and a .433 average. He's on fire.

Ryan Dempster - It's odd to see how Jim Hendry makes some deals, but the Dempster one has worked. Dempster has 26 K's in 27 2/3 innings.

Who's Not

Jeff Baker and Aramis Ramirez - these guys could hit a little bit more to say the least. I've never seen Ramirez struggle this much, and hopefully it will end tonight against Davis.

Conclusions

The Cubs could use a winning streak and it might as well get going in Milwaukee.

Gamecast: April 23rd, 2010 - Cubs at Brewers

Ryan Dempster (1-0, 3.15 ERA) vs. Jeff Suppan (0-0, 7.20)

Overview

I knew this season probably wasn't a banner year, but I had hope that the Cubs might actually play some decent baseball for a few months.

Well, after a few weeks it sure looks like that is not going to happen. The Cubs have found a way to lose every series so far except against the Brewers.

The offense has hit, but it has failed to score runs and find a way to come through in the clutch.

On the other hand, the starters have looked great. There really isn't much to say right now that already hasn't been said, so we can see what can happen in the next week or so.

Who's Hot

Teams playing the Cubs - The Mets were regarded as a team that was going to struggle this year. Well, soembody forgot to tell them this week as they took 3 of 4 from the Cubs.

Who's Not

Aramis Ramirez - He had a chance last night to make up for some early season struggles, but it didn't happen. I know one thing for sure: he probably will not opt out of his deal this time.

Conclusions

The Cubs and Brewers usually have fun a series. I just hope Ryan Braun doesn't make us look silly with six HR in the series (or tonight).

Gamecast: April 22nd, 2010 - Cubs at Mets

Tom Gorzelanny (0-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. Johan Santana (1-1, 3.00 ERA)

Overview

We are one day away from the Carlos Zambrano bullpen debut, but until then we have another start from Tom Gorzelanny.

The Mets will counter with Santana, who will probably dominate the Cubs. The Cubs did take a game last night that saw them score nine runs.

The offence was sparked by Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano, who we will cover in the Who's Hot section.

The Cubs have been hitting the problem was scoring runs. It doesn't get easier tonight, but maybe last night was the shot in the arm the team needed.

Who's Hot
Alfonso Soriano -
Watch out, because Sori is on fire. He's 10-for-his-last-21 with a 1.446 OPS during that time. He missed the cycle by a 2B, mainly because Lou pulled him out before he got another chance to bat.

Marlon Byrd - Byrd has eight RBI in his last seven days. He's been a real bright spot and I hope he keeps it up.

Who's Not

Aramis Ramirez - Ice cold. I mean sub-zero.

Jeff Baker - He would be nice if he could hit to give Aramis a breather, but it hasn't happend. Baker is 3 for 20 in the last few days.

Conclusions

The Cubs are counting on Tom Gorzelanny to stay in the rotation, or pitch well enough to be traded to someone that could bring a bullpen guy over. The Cubs really need to start winning to have a chance to stay in somewhat contention.

Gamecast: April 20, 2010 - Cubs @ Mets

Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 9.45 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

Overview
Well, yesterday was predictable.  Good start by Wells, a bunch of hits scattered, but not a lot of runs, then the bullpen breaks down, allows a bunch of runs, and the Cubs lose.  Certainly seems to be the way things have gone this year.  I know its early, but I've seen enough of Jeph Spellcheck.  Has he been sent back behind the barn and put out of his misery?  No?  Can we?

We're facing a righty tonight, and Fukudome's leading off.  We'll see how that goes.  Z's making his 4th start, he's got one good one, one meh one, and one miserable one.  Which will we see tonight?  It's all the fun of playing russian roulette w/o the death.  Can I be Chris Walken?  Pelfrey takes the bump for the Mets, and like Z, he's making his 4th apprearance.  One of them, however was in relief during the 20-inning debacle last Saturday night.  Saturday was his likely throw day, and he only pitched one inning, so that shouldn't be a concern.  His last start out he was dominant against the Rox in Denver.  I pray he's not that good tonight.

Who's Hot
The same guys Yarbage noted yesterday still apply as Soriano got 2 hits, and Soto got on base twice as well.  That's about it.  I know my temper is hot with this team as well, as is most people's i'm sure.

Who's Not
The pen has lost 6 of our 8 games and has an ERA of 6, and thats with good work by Marmol and Marshall mixed in there.  I'm ready for new faces, honestly.  D-Lee is 3 for 20 since coming back from his short hand injury.  Small sample size, obviously, but I'm throwing it out there.

That's it for now.  First pitch is in 60 minutes.  God help us all, we need a W tonight.

-MW

Gamecast: April 19th, 2010 - Cubs at Mets

GameCastRandy Wells (1-0, 2.92 ERA) vs. Jonathon Niese (0-1, 6.55 ERA)

Overview

The Cubs finished a less than stellar homestand 3-3 after losing two games in a row to the Astros. That's not a great way to start the season. The Cubs try to get back on the winning train today against the New York Mets.

Apparently, Lou is tinkering with the lineup even more and will move Ryan Theriot down in the order against lefties. This means Marlon Byrd will leadoff against LHP. I can't say I'm too shocked about this, because this is what bad teams do. I'm worried that the Cubs are this kind of bad team.

Who's Hot
Geovanny Soto -
Watch out, but Geo's swinging a pretty good bat in the last seven days. He has a 1.372 OPS, while hitting .467.

Alfonso Soriano - a weak start has turned better. He's hitting .412 in the last seven, but with no HR's.

Who's Not
Cubs Bullpen -
They seem to give up runs all the time that led to three losses this week. If the Cubs dream about contending they need fix that soon.

Kosuke Fukudome - So much for "The Dome". He's only 3 for 17 in his last seven days.

Conclusions

The Cubs are playing a bad, but it can end today against the Mets. I'm sure the Cubs will play a stretch of games that will make us believe that they can win this year. It might as well happen early.

Note from Kurt
For baseball prospect enthusiasts, this should be an interesting series due to the debut of Mets prospect Ike Davis.  Davis is a powerhouse lefty first baseman who, despite all prejudicial appearances, is as white as a piece of Wonder Bread.  He very well may bring with him fear and domination, but we can safely expect a relatively slow start -- even if he does have the chance to face Tom Gorzelanny in a few days.

Gamecast: April 18th, 20100 - Cubs vs. Astros

GameCastRyan Dempster (1-0, 3.52 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 5.11 ERA)

Overview

Sorry for the late column, but I totally blanked this morning as I tried to do some things around the house (The curse of new home ownership I guess).

As for the Cubs, they are currently tied 0-0 in the bottom of the third and are looking for their second straight series victory.

Who's Hot

Extra Innings - Seriously, did anybody see that game last night? Maybe the Cardinals will be thinking about that game the rest of the season.

Who's Not

Aramis Ramirez - is the only regular batting under .200 in the last seven days.

Conclusions

Hopefully, the Cubs will continue their winning ways today and tomorrow in New York.

Gamecast: April 17, 2010 - Cubs vs. Astros

GameCastTom Gorzellany (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (0-0, 3.75 ERA)

Overview
After a slow start, the Cubs offense finally got it going in the 8th yesterday, putting up 6 runs off a trio of Astros pitchers, leading to a nice 7-2 victory.  And it was a quick victory as well, as the time of the game was 2hrs and 27 minutes.  I don't know about anyone else, but I like my baseball games nice and quick like that...unless I'm at the park knocking back 1 or 2(00) beers, then they can go on all day for all I care.

After a slow start, the Cubs offense has certainly come to back to life, though it remains to be seen whether that was their own doing, facing some awful pitching, or some combination of both.  The degree of difficulty is stepped up today as the Cubs face Roy Oswalt, who, depsite being 0-2 already, is definitely better than the last few starters the Cubs have seen.  Oswalt's in a different league than the likes of Felipe Paulino, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, and Doug Davis..no disrespect to those gentlemen or their mommas. 

Because of how late today's Gamecast is (blame the author), the lineup is out.  It's the same lineup we saw on Opening Day, complete with Soriano in the 6th hole.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm hoping for another 6 good innings for Gorz (who despite his line of 0's at the top, actually has started a game).  I can't realistically expect him to throw 6 shutout innings, but 2 runs or less would be nice, especially against this shit souffle the Astros are trotting out masquerading as a big league offense.

Who's Hot
Carlos Marmol - Preseason, I said I didn't trust him.  Well, he's meeting me eat those words thus far.  5 1/3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 11 K's.  Not only that, he's looked downright filthy doing it.  Keep it up big ears.  I'm rooting for you to make your 2nd All-Star team this season.

Who's Not
The Middle of the 'Stros lineup - Their #3 hitter is Pedro Feliz (and he blows), and their #4 and #5 hitters are hitting .103 and .108 respectively.  Add in that their lineup today includes Jason Michaels (sucks), JR Towles (1 for 18), and other luminaries like Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella..well, I mean, COME ON.

Go Cubs.  Keep the faith Goat Riders.
-MW

 

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