Goatriders of the Apocalypse


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One trade makes sense for the Cubs.

In terms of how the 2010 roster is built, I'd say the Cubs have a surplus of one thing, and are at the same time missing one prominent piece of the puzzle.

We have too many starting pitchers. Case in point: Z is in the 'pen. We've got a guy in Iowa doing everything he can to earn his way into the rotation (Andrew Cashner), and our mop-up/LOOGY/set-up man has starting experience as well (Sean Marshall). So we're, what, eight deep?

And normally that's all well and good, except the Cubs are lacking a right-handed power reliever (how 'bout a big WHOOPS for trading away Mike Wuertz for next to nothing?).

So first, you gotta ask: which starters could be moved?

I mean, theoretically we could trade anyone without a no-trade clause. But I don't think there are many teams out there that want to take on an extra $30 million in guaranteed dollars. So that eliminates Dempster (owed $12.5m this year, $13.5m next year, and has a player option which you can assume he'll take for $14m in 2012), and of course, Carlos Zambrano (owed nearly $18m for each of '10, '11 and '12).

If the Cubs' window is indeed closing on this group of veterans (and I think we all agree that it appears to be doing so), then it would be stupid of the team to trade a younger pitcher for an older reliever just so they could feel marginally better about this year. So it's probably not in the team's best interest to trade Wells or Gorzelanny.

That leaves two candidates for the Cubs' trading block, effective immediately:

1) Ted Lilly - owed $12 million for 2010, FA in 2011
2) Carlos Silva - owed $8 million in 2010, $6 million in 2011, and a $2 million buyout in 2012

Given their recent performances, I think it's difficult to say which contract is more valuable. I suppose y'all can argue about that in the comments.

Now that we've got guys we're willing to move, we need to identify a reasonable target. Given the performance from their starting rotation so far this year, and the fact that they have a pretty decent team aside from the back of their rotation, I think the Colorado Rockies are a good trade target.

Furthermore, and most importantly for the Cubs, the Rockies have a surplus of decent, hard-throwing, right-handed relief pitching. Even if we assume they want to hold on to their closer, Huston Street, they've got two well-paid righties in the 'pen beyond him:

1) Rafael Betancourt - owed $3.775 million in each of '10 and '11
2) Manny Corpas - owed $2.75m and $3.5m in '10 and '11 respectively

How about Carlos Silva, Jeff Gray, and $5 million, for Rafael Betancourt?

Game and Series Recap: Cubs 5, Rockies 11 (1-3) -- Moving on!

The Cubs did not look very good this weekend.

A lot of that had to do with injuries. Carlos Zambrano was unable to take the mound for his scheduled start; perhaps more detrimental was the fact that he was unable to inform the team of that fact until moments before the first pitch was scheduled.

Tom Gorzelanny was hit in the foot with a comebacker that ended his start prematurely. Actually, maybe that Caridad guy pitched better than Gorgonzola would have, but still, injuries suck.

Also, Aramis Ramirez' shoulder is acting up again. I've even seen rumors that he might be headed to the DL. That would really suck, although perhaps this time around we'd see more Jake Fox at 3B, and less Mike Fontenot.

Having said all that, I think the real head scratcher (that's a technical term) from this past series was Sunday's game.

On the one hand, the Cubs had to be disappointed by the untimeliness of Randy Wells' first failure as the team's most recently anointed stopper. After having allowed just one earned run in his last 15.1 innings pitched, Wells was decidedly less-than-shutdown against the Rox, allowing five runs in 5.1 innings pitched.

Then again, there's also the flat out astounding issue of the hit column in that game.

If I told you the Cubs outhit their opponent, 17 to 14, and lost, you may have been a bit surprised. But how do those numbers translate to an 11-5 rout?

Let's look specifically at some of the missed opportunities from that game.

  • 1st inning: men on 2nd and 3rd, 2 out, Kosuke K's.
  • 2nd inning: men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out, Wells grounds into a DP (instead of bunting...?).
  • 3rd inning: men on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, Soriano flies out softly and Baker K's (after MB failed to score from 2nd on a Kosuke single).
  • 6th inning: man on 2nd, 1 out, Theriot and MB both strike out.
  • 7th inning: men on 1st and 2nd, no outs, K-flyout-flyout.

That's not even a comprehensive list of every time the Cubs had runners in scoring position. It's just an arbitrary selection from a simply staggering number of opportunities that the Cubs had to turn Sunday's game into something a bit more interesting.

As it happened, though, the Cubs lost the game on Sunday. And they lost the series, which gave them a losing record for the road trip (4-6).

As a Cub fan, would you have been having a better Tuesday morning if, after last night's loss, the Cubs had ended up splitting the series, and the road trip? That one game difference has a bigger psychological impact than it deserves to make, I think. It's just one game, after all--one game out of what's getting to be a smaller and smaller number of chances to get back into this playoff race, unfortunately.

I give AJ credit for all the detail -- it's not easy writing about suck.

Just a couple of extra thoughts to bridge the gap between now and tonight...

One of the reasons I believe this blog is a pretty good place to get your Cubs content is because we do not all agree.  In fact, sometimes we disagree with each other into the point of ridiculousness.  Despite what detractors would tell you, we do not stifle contrary opinions as long as they are constructive.  Hating Milton Bradley or Alfonso Soriano because they aren't earning their salary is an opinion I cannot contest -- although I'll probably never think of Soriano as being "selfish."  I got to see selfish patrol in right field for the Cubs for a decade, and Sori's not that.  But calling Cub players epithets will get you banned from GROTA; just ask the douchebag who keeps trying to come back.  You can even tell me I'm an idiot, or a hater, or a moron, none of that will get you in trouble... probably because I am too much of an idiot to prevent people from trying to chip away at my ego.  (This again is something that marks us as being different from most places.  I have a feeling that if you headed over to BCB and started calling Al names, you wouldn't be allowed to do so for very long.)

When it comes to our expectations -- and our hopes -- for the '09 season, at this point my personal take is very, very different from Rob's.  I believe first and foremost that the Cubs are capable of making the playoffs -- which isn't the same as an expectation.  I wouldn't be surprised if they did, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't.  They've shown me enough good and bad to leave me thinking that they might be an 83 win team or an 87 win team, and in the NL Central 87 wins might be enough to get them into the dance.

I'm not 100% sure if Rob has completely ruled out a playoff appearance at this point, but I suspect he expects them to not get there.  That's cool, I can understand that.

But this is where we differ strongly in opinion -- I believe that history has taught us that great teams do not win championships, although winning a championship can make a team great.  I have seen in my lifetime no-name teams win, poor teams beat rich teams, 83-win teams collect titles, 116-win teams fail to even get there to lose, and so-on.  I've seen enough to know that the playoffs are unpredictable, at least to a layman like me.  Therefore, I have concluded that if the Cubs reach the playoffs, then they are capable -- again, not the same as expected, or even anticipated -- of winning the whole she-bang. 

Rob, on the other hand, believes that this is impossible.  Why?  Because they're the Cubs.  Their long history of losing, mixed with their long season of underperforming, sprinkled on top of by the immense pressure a playoff appearance would bring, leaves them as being absolutely, undeniably sad participants should they waste our time and theirs by reaching the playoffs.

That I have disagreed with Rob on this point makes me guilty of "shouting your false hopes into the cruel winds."  But I think we all know the difference between an expectation and being free of them, and I definitely fall into the latter category.  And so long as I have a pulpit here, anybody who wants to prematurely stick a fork into the Cubs will learn that their wielded implement is double-edged. 

Odds are, the Cubs will prove Rob right.  If they even make the playoffs, they are likely to get their asses handed to them by whichever opponent they face.  The same is true of pretty much all post season teams ... the playoffs favor nobody but the team with the most momentum and the greatest amount of luck.  Even the Cubs -- yes, even the Cubs -- can fall into that category if they get there.  We've seen it before with the '04 Red Sox, and the '06 Cardinals, just to name two recent examples -- two examples that cannot be countered by any facsimile of reason or logic.

And if the statement I've just made is in contrast to your opinion of baseball, if you honestly believe that Christmas has been canceled and the kitchen has been closed here on August 11th, with a month and a half of baseball left to be played, then do yourself a favor and pretend the season is over.  You're just causing yourself anxiety by following along in this season of unavoidable woe.  Get geared up for football, or hell, soccer.  The CFL is already in full swing and it's a pretty exciting league.  The NFL promises many storylines this season.  And if the Cubs should shock you and make the playoffs, do yourself a favor and don't watch -- you've already written them off for dead.  And if they should happen to win the first series they play -- which you know won't happen -- then continue your avoidance of the post season.  Keep it to overhearing hallway talk and cubical chatter.  And if they should happen to reach the World Series -- a truly ridiculous proposition that you already know can't possibly happen -- then whether you enjoy it or not, whether you are excited or not, I hope you never forget that you quit on an under-performing team long before they were ruled out of anything.  May the words "I always knew" never escape your mouth.  But I won't wish guilt upon you because I get why you would've given up so soon. 

Anyway.  Strong words from me honestly not directed at Rob but at anybody who thinks that way -- and there are plenty of Cub fans out there who do.  But to go back to the very first thing I said, this blog kicks ass because we do not all agree, we do not all subscribe, we do not all swill, and no matter how frustrating it is, or how angry we make one another, GROTA is better because of the debate.  Besides, if Dave Kaplan has taught us anything it's that controversy drives readership.  So, consider this my open plea to Rob to continue disagreeing and debating on this topic openly and, if necessary viciously -- because we're all better because of it.  Not to mention the fact that he's probably right... even if for the wrong reasons.

Current Record: 58-52
Position in the NL Central: 2nd place, 3 games back of the Cardinals
Magic Number: 54 (thanks to cubsmagicnumber.com)
Best Possible Record: 110-52
Worst Possible Record: 58-104
Record needed to win 90: 32-20
On Pace For: 85-78

Gamecast: August 10th at Rockies

GameCastsTom Gorzelanny (4-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (9-8, 5.00 ERA)

Story Lines
This is going to be quick, because I feel like dying after running in the 96 degree, 90 percent humidity in Atlanta, GA today.

The Cubs are watching their season go down in flames. It's over, folks, stick a fork in them, because two games is too much to hand in the NL Central. Seriously, Cub fans have to get a grip. Yes, they did look bad yesterday, but that is not really news when it comes to the Cubs. I thought coming into the series a split is what the Cubs needed against a tough foe on the road. Guess what? They can get a split tonight if Gorzelanny throws a solid game and the Cubs score a few runs against a pitcher who has a pretty high ERA.

In other news, Aramis Ramirez is likely to miss another start. This is going to be trend with him coming back from the shoulder. I wouldn't doubt that he goes under the knife this offseason.

Also, it looks like Pedro Martinez will start Wednesday against the Cubs. Should be interestesting.

Who's Hot
Milton Bradley - The good thing yesterday was the Bradley had four hits. It looks like he is well suited for the two hole. Now if Ramirez could get back and know him in. He's up to .266 now.

Koyie Hill - Hill finally got a few days off and responded with three hits to push his average to .220.

Who's Not
Alfonso Soriano - He's selfish, and can't play defense. There really is not much to say.

Jeff Stevens - He looked pretty rough yesterday by giving up four runs. Anybody think John Smoltz can fill in in the pen?

The Cubs are not as bad off as some of the fans would say. All it takes is a good win tonight and all is right heading into the series against the Phillies.

Game Recap: Rockies 11, Cubs 5 -- hit parade

The Cubs and Rockies combined for 31 hits today, although it was Colorado that capitalized the most on their ability to regularly get on base.

In his first ever start in Colorado, Randy Wells got hammered -- going 5.1 innings, giving up 8 hits, and surrendering 7 runs (5 earned) to the wild card contending Rockies.  He was relieved by Jeff Stevens, who managed to put it out of reach with his 4 run one inning appearance.  Ouch.

Offensively, the Cubs found themselves with a ton of opportunities -- they had runners on in all but one inning all day, but they only managed to nit-pick their runs one at a time and never really got close.  Still, every regular but Soriano collected at least two hits, including the 4-for-5 Milton Bradley, who suddenly has his AVG up to .266.  Wouldn't it be shocking and somewhat ridiculous if he managed to finish the year near .280?

Anyway.  The Cubs lost.  As a team, they left 13 men on base, and overall they had 27 different run-scoring opportunities that they squandered.  They should have pummeled the Rockies, but instead left the game as sad participants.  Still, they will have a chance to even the series tomorrow, which I for one would be perfectly satisfied with.

One other note:

It's come to our attention that Alfonso Soriano's rally-killing strikeout late in the game was a selfish act on his part.  I have to agree.  I believe that Soriano is a me-first kind of player, although none of his teammates (or even really the journalists covering him) have exposed him as such (despite the enjoyment that seemed to permiate from the Cubs clubhouse and press box whenever Sosa was called out).  I believe that striking out to end the rally is exactly the kind of glory that a hound like Soriano seeks, and this is just another example of how his me-first antics are destroying the team.

So let me say to Soriano on behalf of Cub Fan Nation: we're onto your game, buddy!  It's only a matter of time now!

GameCast: August 9th at Colorado

GameCastRandy Wells (8-4, 2.73 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (6-6, 4.62 ERA)

"Can the Cubs play well enough against the good teams to win in the playoffs?"  This is the most recent pointless hypothetical that's been dancing on our keyboards as of late.  The ridiculously simple answer is that we won't truly know until we see them play good teams in the playoffs.  But much as Friday's doooom game meant nothing because the doom happened against pitchers who won't be in a position to lose in the post season, yesterday's shiny-lining game means just as little.  As far as I'm concerned, the only thing either of those games meant were the loss and win they represented in the standings, and the only impact they'll have is on whether or not the Cubs win the division or not.

This morning (or perhaps late last night) one Goat Reader asked if I've ever seen a Cubs-Cards game in St. Louis.  I assume he asked me that because he wants to impact upon me the significance of how pressure-filled and energized those games are.  True -- absolutely true -- home field advantage exists, and playing in a hostile park can either serve as fuel for players to step it up or fodder for them to make excuses after a loss.  But I believe that, in most cases, the impact of those situations are left behind once the team moves on to play their next series.  In other words, the Cubs could go to St. Louis, get demoralized by the fans, swept by the Cardinals, and on their next game in Pittsburgh have just as good a chance of winning as they would have had they swept the Cardinals previously.

So, I say to you again, the significance of a single game impacting a season is nil, except in cases where a loss puts a team out of playoff contention.  And if you disagree with that, then prove me wrong.  I've been wrong before, I'll be wrong again, just find your proof and shut me up.

Who's Hot
Ryan Theriot, Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley -- Two former members of the Questionable Quartet and Theriot are leading the way right now with the Cubs.  It is perhaps fitting, then, that these guys are usually at the top of the batting order -- and it's about effin' time that Lou moved Bradley there considering how disciplined he's been even as he's struggled with his stroke.  Theriot is batting .333 with a .364 OBP, Fukudome is batting .316 with a .458 OBP, and Bradley is at .364 with an OBP of .563 in the past week.  Yeesh.

Who's Not
Aramis Ramirez, Jake Fox -- A-Ram is batting .056 in the past week while Fox is at .091.  Ouch.

As the stressed-out Cubs fan seeking to keep the cliff-jumpers at a dull murmer when they voice their opinions about the team, I can only hope for another Cubs win today.  It seems as if the reactionary crowd is looking to sink their hooks into every loss as evidence of calamity, and so even though I don't agree with it, my stomach would do better if indeed the Cubs proved them briefly wrong with another win.

I suppose that if we were their opposites, any time the Cubs did win -- particularly in a come-back against a potential playoff opponent -- we'd be crowing about how they are clearly World Series bound -- and, believe it or not, we'd probably have just as much "proof" as they do about our claim.  Just thought for fodder.

Game Recap: Cubs 6, Rockies 5 -- Year over man, year over?

At about 9:30 Chicago-time, thanks to an Aramis Ramirez error, Ryan Dempster and the Cubs squandered their 2 run lead and suffered the dreaded Big Inning. 

Clearly, these Cubs were done for.  That's what some of us concluded at that point, amiright?  They wouldn't come back, and there was nothing stopping the Rockies from beating Dempster around some more in the 5th, or 6th, or until Lou walk-of-shamed him off the mound and into the dugout.

In my head, I saw hardened, cynical Cub fans dancing, proclaiming this as further proof to the verifiable evidence that, sorry kiddies, this just ain't their year.  After all, St. Louis won today, and no team has ever overcome a 2-game deficit in early August.  The mocking cynic I am, I posted in the ShoutBox "nooo, year over man, year over!"

Except, y'know, it's really not.  Putting such weight on any one game, or even any one series, is the sort of things fans do but that doesn't make it right.  I have trouble imagining that, when Derrek Lee steps up to the plate with the tying run on 1st base, he thinks "if only we'd won that game against Houston..." before futilely striking out.  No, that doesn't happen.

And tonight, when Lee stepped up in the 5th, he wasn't thinking about the burden of the weight we try to put on him.  And he hit his 23rd of the year.  Then, in the 6th, leadoff and #2 hitters Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley knocked home 2 runs, and the Cubs were back in the lead.  Then, to add insult to safety-net, Kosuke Fukudome hit his 9th homer of the year in the 7th, giving the Cubs the comfort-run they'd need.   

After an overstayed Dempster left, the Cubs turned to their bullpen's brightest, who pitched 3 innings of 2-hit, 0-walk, 4-strike-out baseball.  The "brightest" line includes Kevin Gregg, who was flawless in the 9th for his 22nd save.

Will the Cubs win tomorrow, or the day after that?  Lord if I know.  But whether they win or don't, the only context it really has to the season is in terms of whether or not the Cardinals win or don't.  No matter what Dave Kaplan -- or even Our Rob -- tells you, if they wanted each little game to have instrumental meaning, then they'd play 16, not 162.  That is all.

Gamecast: August 8th at Rockies

GameCastRyan Dempster (5-5, 4.09 ERA) vs. Jason Marquis (12-7, 3.49 ERA)

Story Lines
The Cubs suffered a blow last night when Carlos Zambrano was scratched form this start. In the end, Big Z was placed on the DL and could miss a few starts, but the Cubs hope it is just one.

Tonight the Cubs face their former mate Jason Marquis, who is due for his second half meltdown any time now. Marquis has only had one month where his ERA was north. He was pretty great in July with a 1.93 ERA and an All-Star selection. The Cubs are hoping the old Marquis shows up and gives up 10 runs.

Who's Hot
Milton Bradley/Kosuke Fukudome - You think the Cubs would have fared better last night with their top two guys in the lineup getting on base six times. Bradley and Fukudome both went 1-for-2 with two walks each, but the Cubs only scored two times.

Cubs on the DL - I mean this is getting nuts. The Cubs  get Geovany Soto off the DL, and Carlos Zambrano gets put on the DL. Who's next?

Who's Not
The Cubs 3-4-5 Hitters - Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto combined to go 0-for-11 last night. The Cubs won't win many games with that kind of production.

Sean Marshall as a starter - Marshall was put in a tough spot last night and we was hit pretty bard. Hopefully, he will continue to shine in the bullpen the rest of the season.

The Cubs, once again, find themselves one game back of the Cardinals. So, winning tonight might make things easier.

Game Recap: Rockies 6, Cubs 2- Oh nooos!

The Cubs lost last night, thanks in part to Zambrano getting scratched due to Wood-like back spasms, with Sean Marshall and Jeff Samardzija replacing him and getting beaten like drums.

Apparently, the fact that Marshall and the Shark were beaten so soundly by the Rockies is evidence that these Cubs cannot possibly be "the team that wins it all."  I liken this to a person learning that the market is down and tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, only to conclude that it's not a temporary problem and that we're all gonna die.

True enough, the Rockies beat the hell out of the Cubs.  At the same time, the Cardinals won and, despite having lost one more game than the Cubs so far, are now 1 game ahead of them in the standings.  But rather than use this loss as an example proving that unlike any other team which may make the playoffs these Cubs cannot possibly win if they get there, I might suggest that we keep our heads a little and note that Marshall was used at the last second in an emergency start, that Samardzija should not -- and probably would not -- be on a Major League roster, especially in October, and that no single game, win or loss, can tell anybody anything about a team's chances in the playoffs.

So, seriously, get ahold of yourselves and man up.  Game Deuce is at 7 central and I'll have that recap up before I go to bed tonight.

Gamecast: August 7th at Rockies

GameCastCarlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.35 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 3.76 ERA)

Story Lines
The Cubs open a 4-game series against the Rockies tonight that is pretty huge. The Rockies, who have played out of their mind since firing Clint Hurdle, set in front of the Cubs for the Wild Card, but still trail the Giants. The Rockies are club that really scares me, and the Cubs need to show some offense after Wednesday's dud.

So, the Cubs will welcome back Geovany Soto tonight. That means Koyie Hill will see some time off for at least a couple games. I have a feeling that he will start either Sunday or Monday, depending on the match up. Any bets on who is sent down when Soto is activated tonight?

In other news, the Cubs will not replace Kevin Gregg with B.J. Ryan. Ryan was let go, but I'm sure he will pick up with sombody soon. The Cubs just didn't need to try and add another left after picking up John Grabow, which is fine with me.

In a piece of shocking news, Jake Fox still does not have a spot to call home. Wow, talking about beating a dead horse. The one great thing about Fox playing so well is that the Cubs will probalby be able to get some serious value for him in the offseaon if they choose to go that route.

Carlos Zambrano is also taking the mound, after only lasting three innings his last time out. This start will be big for a few reasons. First, Z needs to show that he is healthy. Second, the Cubs really need to take Game for some momentum. The Cardinals are taking it easy in Pittsburgh, so wins are very important this weekend to keep pace in the NL Central.

Who's Hot
Derrek Lee -
Lee keeps reminding those Micah Hoffpauir supporters that he is still the man at first base. He's hitting .333 with a .926 OPS in his last six games.

Who's Not
Kosuke Fukudome - He did have a home run the other days, but he's only 4 for 20 in his last six games. On the flipside, he does have five walks.

Alfonso Soriano - In his last six games, Soriano is 3 for 19 with 0 HRs, 0 2B and 0 RBI. How many 0's are we paying this guy?

The Cubs are entering a tough stretch that includes the Phillies. That makes this series very important. Maybe the thin air can get the Cubs hot again. They are 3-3 on the road trip so far, and a 6-4 trip would be pretty great.

Series Preview: Cubs at Colorado

Series Preview

If you thought the Rockies would be contending for a playoff spot after losing Matt Holliday and inserting Jason Marquis into their starting rotation, then you are a dirty liar. And since I don’t associate with liars, I must ask you to please stop reading and leave this site. I’ll wait…(twiddling thumbs)…OK, now that all the liars are gone we can get to business.

Since firing manager Clint Hurdle after starting the season 18-28, the Rockies have gone 41-20. Although no player on their team has more than 20 homers (Tulowitzki) or 63 RBI (Hawpe), Colorado is still near the top of the NL in HR (2nd), doubles (3rd), and slugging (2nd).

The Cubs are no slouches with the big bats themselves. They are third in the NL in home runs and have been getting their hit on since the All-Star Break.

The Cubs are 3-3 on their quest to Mordor, errrr, I mean one of their longest road trips of the season and must now head to the Little League park that is Coors Field for four games.

While few of us probably care about the Colorado Rockies or what they do on a daily basis, this is a huge series for the Cubs because of two significant reasons: 1.) The Rockies are one of the top competitors for the wildcard and 2.) The Cardinals are playing the Pirates this weekend. Gulp.

The Matchups
August 7th – Carlos Zambrano vs. Ubaldo Jimenez
Big Z had a big back ache in his last start and was only able to pitch three innings against the Marlins. If Zambrano is dealing, I expect Lou to leave him in to go the distance. But if Lou pulls him after 5 innings (aside from a performance-based reason), then it might be time to start worrying about his durability. Zambrano has only given up 8 homers this season, which should bode him well in this park.

Sounds like Jimenez has a pretty nasty fastball that could top out around 100 MPH, so I’m expect a decent amount of off-speed pitches in this start. Although that plan worked out fairly well against the Reds, I’m not sure it will be as effective in the thinner air. The Great Ubaldo has pitched better on the road this season as opponents are hitting .257 against him at Coors.

August 8th – Ryan Dempster vs. Jason Marquis
Dempster looked much better in his second start coming off the DL, but he still walked four and the Cubs still lost. The Rockies lead the NL in walks, so this could be a recipe for disaster. Not to mention Dempster’s lifetime 15.23 ERA at Coors. Woof.

Well well well. If it isn’t Mr. Second Half McSuckerson. Marquis is notorious for having terrible numbers after the All-Star Break and I expect nothing different this season. He’s 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA so far, but it’s only a matter of time until he breaks down and wets his pants on the mound. Most of the homers Marquis has given up this season have come against righties, so that’s always good news for the Cubs.

August 9th – Randy Wells vs. Jason Hammel
I was thissssssss close (imagine me with a really small gap between my thumb and my index finger) to purchasing a Randy Wells jersey. All he had to do was pitch a complete game against the Reds. He came up five outs short. Impressive nonetheless. Still ,Wells is almost too good. I’m a bit worried that lefties are batting .276 with a .718 OPS against him. And since five regular starters for the Rockies bat from the left side of the plate, watch out.

Hammel gets pounded by the Mets then shuts down the Phillies. He sucks at home (1-3, 7.20 ERA) and is solid on the road (5-3, 2.81 ERA). I don’t understand this guy. As such, he deserves to be destroyed. He’s given up at least 4 earned runs in his last four home starts. Let the big dogs eat.

August 10th – Tom Gorzelanny vs. Jorge De La Rosa
Why even give the Cy Young to anyone else? Tommy GoGo has practically got it in the bag according to everyone in the Chicago media. Gorzelanny threw a gem against the Reds and all of the sudden the Cubs have too much starting pitching. People are talking about moving Dempster or Harden to closer so the Cubs can keep Gorz in the rotation. Please. It was a nice start, but let’s not go changing our underwear yet because of this guy.

De La Rosa is a completely different pitcher against lefties (.193/.248/.277) as compared to righties (.279/ .362/.494). That’s a huge difference. He’s never started against the Cubs but has faced them a handful of times in relief. Normally that’s a good thing, but then again we saw what Justin Lehr did to this lineup.

Before the Cubs head home to take on the Phillies, they need to get at least two games from the Rockies. I hate to keep bringing up the Cardinals, but 19 of their next 22 games come against teams that are below .500. Scoreboard and schedule watching mode is now in full effect.

I’m not overly impressed with the Rockies’ pitching, but that offense is scary. They don’t have a monster in their lineup like the Phillies, Cardinals, Dodgers, or Brewers have, but their order has very few weak spots from top to bottom.

I’m putting this one on the Cubs offense. If they can get out to some earlier leads against this very average starting pitching, then it will put pressure on the Rockies’ hitters and hopefully turn them hack-happy.

Also, this is the closest the Cubs will be playing to God all season, and everyone knows the Big Guy is a North Sider. Divine intervention is always welcome.

Go Cubs.
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