Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Game Recaps

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Game Recap: Diamondbacks 7, Cubs 2

Backs 7, Cubs 2
(Please ignore my error regarding the number of errors made by Cubs fielders). 

Somebody said in the shoutbox yesterday that the Cubs offense has the swine flu. I think it's just more that they are very anemic right now and they happened to face an incredibly talented pitcher in Dan Haren.

Haren held the Cubs to only 3 hits - 2 of which were not contained by the ballpark (thank you Fonz and Font) wheras Ted Lilly was a victim of his own undoing. The Roos (note: that nickname probably won't stick) was mostly undone by an ugly 4th inning in which he clogged the bases in part due to two walks and surrendered back-to-back doubles to Haren* and Chris Young.

(*Do I even have to repeat the well-known rule of never letting the pitcher beat you at the plate**?)
(**Unless it's Carlos Zambrano, at which point it's expected)

Dave Patton continued to seal his demise with an ugly 2 run (1 earned) relief outing, but at least Jeff Samardzija came in and struck out 2 in his inning of relief.

This would normally be the part where I climb high atop my horse and remind everybody to relax, but I think I've pretty much beaten that high horse to death already. Instead I will just point out that the Cubs were squaring off against a very talented pitcher with a lineup that is limping-at-best. The team was without Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, and Soto remains GeoINO, or "In Name Only." Incidentally the ridiculous number of steals taken against Geo is additional evidence that he's not 100%, and Mike Fontenot's 2 errors at third base is additional proof that maybe the Cubs should actually consider fielding a real backup third baseman. Later today I'll write an "easy roster solutions" article that somebody should post on Lou's office door.

Anyway, today's game is another late starter but now that the Cubs are past the best pitcher I would expect a slightly improved response from the hitters.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at Arizona
GameCast: April 27th - Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

Series Recap: Cubs 10, Cardinals 3, dooooooom

Cubs win?
Memo from a Cardinals fan:
I know it's only 17 games into the 2009 season, but I'm nervous.  My team was doing really good there for a few games, but did you see the way the Cubs hammered them today?  It's like it wasn't even a competition!  I mean, where was the Cards offense?  What will we do it St. Louis can't stop the bleeding?  10 runs to 3?  Horrible!  I'm quite convinced this season is going to be a total bust...

Back in reality.  Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?  But if the script had been flipped and the Cubs took the first 2 game of this series only to get smacked around by the Cardinals today, then that is exactly what dopey Cub fans would be saying right now. 

Nevertheless, the Cubs whomped the Cardinals.  It felt good.  Every starter - but Geo Soto, shocker and Reed Johnson - got a hit.  In fact, the 1-4 guys went 8 for 16 with 7 of the team's 8 RBI (2 runs came unearned).

Offensive winners particularly include Micah Hoffpauir - 2 for 3, with 1 homerun (clearly he needs to have Derrek Lee's job) - and Kosuke Fukudome, who hit his 4th homerun of the year.  Remember folks, he only hit 10 all of last season.

Rich Harden picked up his second win of the year, struck out 9 in 6 innings, dropped his ERA to 3.86, and sweated his balls off when the Cubs bullpen came in and gave up 4 hits and 2 walks in the final 3 innings of the game. 

Series Recap
This could be known as the Three Game April Series in which some very vocal Cub fans lost their confidence in the team.  I will not contest how ugly it was, because it sure was horrible.  I won't argue that some very bad things happened - from freak injuries to ugly losses to feelings of immense frustration - because those were all bad and they happened in a matter of one weekend.

But I will say this: if your team quit on the game as quickly as you quit on your team, you would hate them with a passion.  Just a reminder.

Tomorrow the Cubs head into Arizona, and we will be announcing some fun projects at GROTA.

Current Record: 9-8
Position in the NL Central: 4th place, 3 games out of first
Best Possible Record: 154-8
Worst Possible Record: 9-153
Record needed to win 110: 101-44
On Pace For: 86-76

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cubs at St. Louis
Game Recap: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3, rising tide of panic
Game Recap: Cardinals 8, Cubs 2, our season is clearly over
GameCast: Cubs at Cardinals April 26th

Game Recap: Cardinals 8, Cubs 2, our season is clearly over

Cubs lose ... again
In case you missed it, this wouldn't be happening if Mark DeRosa was here.

Or if Jim Hendry knew how to build a team.

Or if Lee, Bradley, and Fontenot didn't suck so much.

Apparently if Mark DeRosa was on the Cubs and if Hendry had gotten real players instead of schmucks like Milton Bradley, then they would never lose 4 games in a row, they would never have team-wide offensive droughts, and in fact they would never give us cause for concern as they blasted their way toward a World Series Championship.

These are the things a couple of our readers have informed us about this weekend.
For the record, last year's World Championship team began the year with an 8-8 record and were only 15-13 after the first month of baseball.  They spent a long period of the month of May struggling to win more games than they lost.  From June 14th until June 29th, they went 3-11, including 6 straight losses.  They had 4 game losing streaks in July and August, and they started play after the All Star Break with a win, and then immediately lost 5 of their next 6. 

My point is that some Cub fans appear to suffer from the ability to look ahead, or put current goings-ons in context.  I keep pointing this stuff out, but maybe they don't believe me?  But let's try it again.

Derrek Lee is batting .293 since April 13th.  I know, DB is one of the peeps who doesn't trust DLee or expect him to perform, but it really is not surprising that he started slow.  Point of fact, way back at the beginning of the year I outlined 4 examples of past Cubs who began the year struggling and turned things up a notch later on.

Point of fact - as of this date, does anybody really believe that the numbers mean anything?  As of today, Kevin Youkilis is batting .444.  Does that mean the frozen noggin of Ted Williams should start sweating?  Carlos Pena is on pace to hit 72 homeruns.  Should Barry Bonds be concerned?  Does anybody really think it's likely that Aramis Ramirez or Kosuke Fukudome will finish the year batting at - or better than - their current averages (.358 and .345)?

If the answer is "no," then how in the hell can you see a full 50% of our team's lineup struggle and expect them to play that badly all year long?  Right now, Derrek Lee, Mike Fontenot, Geovany Soto, and Milton Bradley are a combined 31 for 175 - and 25 of those hits come from Lee and Font.  That's a .177 AVG from half the starting lineup.  No kidding that they'd be struggling right now!  I'm shocked to see them struggle to win games with half their lineup sucking ass!  I would've thought that the Cubs were so solidly built that they could overcome a slump that's effecting half the fricking team!  Damn yous Jim Hendry for not building a better roster!  Damn yous!

Anyway, the problem is that everybody wants the Superlative Season.  The only problem is that back here in reality it does not happen.  Even the best teams struggle.  It's a fact of life. 

So, yes, the Cubs are struggling right now.  The offense grinding and groaning and not in the fun way.  The pitching staff is looking worse by the day, what with injuries to the team's best setup guy, and the release of a pitcher with a 0.00 ERA (and an attitude), and the flailings of the fringe players who cracked the squad out of Spring Training.  Yes.  Things are ugly.

But what is worse to me is the continued Woe is Cub attitude that so many people are prone to display at the first sign of the team's struggles.  It's just ridiculous.  I mean, yes, this is all very frustrating from the fan's standpoint and we should be frustrated.  But anybody who starts talking about "the moves not made" or how "the players brought in are failures" after 16 freaking games is putting the cart way, waaay before the horses.

Frustration is fine.  Surrender is French.  Don't be a Surrender Monkey!

Quick Links

Series Preview: Cubs at St. Louis
Game Recap: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3, rising tide of panic
GameCast: Cubs at Cardinals April 25th 

Game recap: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3, rising tide of panic

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3
When your team is built without key components like backup third basemen, you will eventually find yourself in a tight spot!

Lou Piniella is learning this lesson the hard way, though.  He decided to build his team around having an extra outfielder (Carjump Gathright) and an extra pitcher due to a lack of minor league options (Angel Guzman) at the expense of having a backup third baseman (???? ????) and a lefty reliever (???? ?????-?????)

Consequently, the Cubs find themselves caught between a rock and a hammer thanks in part to a whole wack of small-but-flaw-exposing injuries.  Milton Bradley's got a sore groin.  Aramis Ramirez left the game due to a sore leg.  Carlos Marmol hurt "the side of his left knee," whatever that means.  So now Lou has a decision to make - with Aramis sore and aching, the team finally needs to cave in and grab themselves another backup infielder.  So who goes on the DL?

I don't know, is this a trick question?  Without a doubt, without hesitation, our first visitor to the list is Milton Bradley, and here are the reasons why:

  1. Dude's so hurt he can't run right now.  Maybe Aramis is too, so this is a push.
  2. Bradley has one hit on the season.  He's cold as a bucket of iced-up spit.  Aramis Ramirez was hitting the ball exceptionally well.

Anyway, Bradley is DL bound.  The Cubs will find some crafty infielder to promote to spell Fontenot, Theriot, and Miles.  Being realistic for a moment, the Cubs probably would benefit from having two more back up middle infielders, but this is apparently the first 25-man roster Lou Piniella has ever constructed so let's take it in baby steps. 

Back to the game for a minute.  All told, the Cubs had their chances.  They collected 8 hits from 7 starters (Reed Johnson got 2 of the 8 hits, Ryan Theriot went 0 for 5 in his first game as a leadoff hitter meaning that Piniella is probably bound to abandon the experiment).  But they again only walked twice in the game.  It's a Patient Team and a Disciplined Team that becomes an Offensive Force Team. 

On the pitching front, Clownsevelt had his best start of the year - 6 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 earned, only 1 walk and 6 strikeouts.  The Cubs may have even been poised to win it were it not for Marmol's inconsistency and strange injury.

I won't be trying to calm the panickers who are freaked out over the 8-8 record of the team, except to say that some of these problems stem from roster and lineup construction.

When you have a 25 man roster, and 12 of those spots are filled by pitchers (and can somebody please tell me what in the hell is wrong with the old fashioned 11 man pitching staff?)

And if you are going to go with 13 hitters, then how does that break down?

2 catchers is a given.
1 first baseman, with some other guy on the roster who can play first.
2 second basemen.
2 shortstops, with one shortstop who can also play third.
1 third baseman.
2 left fielders, with one who can play right field as well.
2 center fielders.
1 right fielder.

If you build a team like that you're pretty well set.  But this is what Lou gave us:

2 catchers.
2 first basemen, with one who can supposedly play RF.
2 second baseman, with one wo can play shortstop and the other who can play third.
1 shortstop.
1 third baseman.
2 left fielders, with one who can play RF.
2 center fielders, with one who can play left.
1 right fielder.

How could this work?  I mean, doesn't this roster have way too many vulnerabilities?  For instance, if your 1 RFer gets hurt, and your third baseman gets hurt, then your one backup infielder has to start at second base, your starting second baseman has to move to third, you have nobody who can play in the infield in case of an emergency, and your bench is decimated.  So why not just cut a pitcher, DL the outfielder, and promote two guys who can play several positions including the left-hand side of the infield?

Just wondering.

Quick Links
First Series Recap: Cubs 2, Cardinals 1
Series Preview: Cubs at Cardinals
GameCast: Cubs vs. Cardinals   

Series Recap - Reds 2, Cubs 1, Dusty wins again, dude

Reds 7, Cubs 1
The Game
It hurts!  It hurts me in the soul! 

It's hard to blame Carlos, who pitched well but not exceptionally.  El Gordo Mooso threw 7 innings, surrendered 7 hits, walked 2, and struck out 7 while allowing 3 earned runs.  The problem was that Carlos could have held the Reds to 1 run and it probably would've been too many because the offense is dead right now and the bullpen is struggling.

I'm going to take from this series an important factoid - when the Cubs were working Reds pitchers, they kicked the crap out of them.  But the last two games they've drawn maybe 3 walks and so their scoring opportunities have been minimal.

In the bullpen, Neal Cotts continued to deliver - 2 hits and 1 earned, via a homer.  And Jeff Samardizja, in his first outing of 2009, prooved to be well worth the cutting of Luis Vizcaino and his 0.00 ERA by giving up 4 hits and 2 earned runs. 

Later today I'm going to write a littany of complaints against Lou, which doesn't mean I don't love him in a non-gay way.

The Series
The Cubs entered this home series against Dusty Baker's Reds with a statistical lead in the central.  They leave 2 games out of first - in fourth place - behind the surprisingly resilient Cardinals.

Hey, it's still way too early to judge but maybe the central will be tougher than we could've expected.

Current Record: 8-6
Position in the NL Central: 4th place, 2 games out of first
Best Possible Record: 156-6
Worst Possible Record: 8-154
On Pace For: 93-69

Quick Links

Game Recap: Reds 3, Cubs 0

Reds 3, Cubs 0
After the first game of this series, Dusty Baker must have written Lou Piniella a strongly worded letter.  I can only imagine what it sounded like, but it was likely something such as this:

Dear Dude, as somebody who once managed the Cubs I can tell you that it's awfully tempting to change the way you manage to placate the fans who boo ya.  But I'm a winner, always have been.  I took my team to the World Series as recently as 2002, which is a lot more recent than you, dude.  And I'm telling you right now - walks don't win games.  You can have 10 walks in a game, dude, but if you have nobody hitting the ball you will lose.  So take it from me - get your guys to play more aggressively tomorrow.  Forget the walks.  Get them to swing the hot bats.  I know it will make our job tougher, but I love you dude.  I want to help.

Signed, Johnny B.

If that's similar to the letter that Lou received (but without words like "placate"), then he must have listened because the Cubs drew a big fat zero walks against the Reds last night.

They also only managed 6 hits, 5 of which came from the 1-3 batters (2 by Sori and D-Lee). 

Meanwhile Ted Lilly became the answer to a triva question last night.  Name the most recent pitcher to lose a game without allowing an earned run.  (I'm sure it happens fairly often, but Lilly went 7 strong, allowing 5 hits, 0 walks and 0 earned runs) but it can't really be argued that he deserved the loss.  After all, that unearned run was the eventual result of a Ted Lilly fielding error.

The bullpen - today being Angel Guzman and Kevin Gregg - gave up a couple of garbage runs that really meant nothing. 

Milton Bradley went 0 for 4 again.  Back in February and March a lot of us - myself included - were hoping aloud that he wouldn't have a bad start because Cub fans will turn on new players very quickly and Bradley is a volatile athlete.  And although starting the season with a.043 AVG is really, really something a player doesn't want to do (duh), one hot month will put him right back to where he should be. 

For now, he'll just be the poster child of my Small Sample Sizes argument.

Quick Links

Game Recap: Cubs 7, Reds 2, Dusty's brain is clogged by all the Cubs walks

Cubs win!

A game without surprises is surprisingly a rare event. And yet the Cubs had one of those last night as they predictably throttled the Reds.

Rich Harden - not surprisingly - pitched 6 innings of 3-hit ball, walking 2, striking out 8, and allowing 2 earned runs on 92 pitches. When the Cubs turned to their bullpen, they weren't surprised to see solid efforts from Aaron Heilman, Carlos Marmol, and even Luis Vizcaino (who has yet to allow an earned run to score on his watch) while Neal Cotts predictably crapped his pants giving up a hit and walk in under an inning pitched. (Again, I think Lou should have hung him out to get beaten on or to escape. The Cubs had a 5 run lead when Cotts entered the game, they could have afforded him to squander or overcome.)

Offensively the Cubs predictably got a hit and walk from leadoff man Alfonso Soriano, 2 walks from Kosuke Fukudome, and 7 walks from the team in total. In the 6th when the Reds walked Derrek Lee to clog - erm, load the bases - I can only imagine how bewildered Dusty must have felt when the Cubs exploited the opportunity with an Aramis Ramirez 2-run single. Dusty probably threw his hat to the dugout floor and stomped on it saying "THAT'S NOT HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN, DUDES! THE BASES WERE CLOGGED!"

Dusty is a bastard.

All told, Aramis went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI. Micah Hoffpauir hit an early homerun and was then pinch-hit for by Reed Johnson late in the game in a run-scoring opportunity. (I know, you were all very upset about that, but maybe Micah just isn't a clutch hitter, eh?) Mike Fontenot and Derrek Lee unsurprisingly had 0-fer nights. Ryan Theriot predictably collected 2 more hits. It was really a good night for the Cubs with no surprises and lots of win.

Tonight it's another late start and the Cubs play to win the series. The question is whether or not Ted Lilly can figure out how the Reds figured him out last year. I'm thinking he'll crush them, figuratively speaking.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Reds at Chicago Cubs
GameCast: April 21st Reds vs. Cubs

Game Recap: Cubs 7, Cardinals 5; Clutchy McClutcherson strikes again

Win!Baseball is a game of inches.  A ball hit down the third base line ... if it drops just a few inches to the left ...

... a high blast, flying against the wind ... if it can just clear the wall in the outfield ...

... the ball is caught and a runner tags up.  If the outfielder can just gun it to the infielder in time ...

Well, you get the point.  It feels right now like the last two games have been won by inches.  A few bad breaks, a few terrible calls, a few runs not scored and the Cubs could easily be 5-6 right now instead of 7-4.  As a Cub fan living with perennial fear for my team, I can't help but worry about all these close calls.  As a baseball fan watching a good team win close games, I can't help but be thrilled by the outcomes.  It's a strange thing to be a Cub fan - I can't speak for you, but most of us are just a little crazy.

So what was the defining moment of tonight's game?  Was it ...

  • The bottom of the 3rd when, down 3-0, Kosuke Fukudome delivered again, this time an RBI double, keeping the Cubs offense alive in a game that could have fallen out of hand?
  • How about the bottom of the 5th when, down 4-2, Derrek Lee hit a 2-run double that tied the game for the Cubs?
  • Perhaps it was the 7th when, after Neal Cotts walked 2 men on 8 pitches, Carlos Marmol stepped in and ended the Cardinals threat briefly keeping the Cubs in front 5-4?
  • It probably was not the 8th inning when Marmol returned to pitch again (against my wishes, curse you Lou) and surrendered two doubles before hitting Khalil Greene.  Although Kevin Gregg stepping in and extinguishing the threat gives him back some of the closer cred that he lost in the first week of the season.
  • The top of the 10th when Alfonso Soriano made a good catch and gunned out Chris Duncan at second base?
  • The bottom of the 11th when Aramis Ramirez sent 'em all home with a walk off homerun.

I'll let you decide which moment was the most important.  The easy answer is the A-Ram homer.  The tougher one is that none of it would have happened if those players - Kosuke, Lee, Marmol, Gregg, Soriano, and the unmentioned Aaron Miles - hadn't delivered.

So, the Cubs won again.  They've now won 2 of 3 and have the chance tomorrow to send St. Louis out of Chicago as sad participants.  I predicted previously that Dempster would have a great game; man was I wrong.  He wasn't particularly terrible but his output definitely would have fallen under the meh-diocre banner.

Tomorrow his left-handed partner in crime will try to finish the job.  As I said before, baseball is a game of inches.  The Cubs easily could be down 3 games to 0 right now.  As exciting as these close wins have been, I'm a little tired of living with these retracted-from-fear testes and I hope they win tomorrow by a mile.  It'll be Lilly v. Wellemeyer.  It shouldn't be close.  ...I hope.

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cardinals vs. Cubs
Game Recap: Cardinals 7, Cubs 4
Game Recap: Cubs 8, Cardinals 7
GameCast: Cubs vs. Cardinals April 18th

Game Recap: Cardinals 7, Cubs 4, ugly loss

Ugly loss
They won't all be this crappy.  Promise.

The Cardinals tagged Sean Marshall for 4 earned runs in his first start of the season, but he wasn't responsible for the loss as Kosuke Fukudome tied the game for the Cubs in the bottom of the 5th with a 3-run homer.  Unfortunately the Cubs offense petered out and the Cubs bullpen got plowed over, and St. Louis dealt Chicago their 2nd straight loss in the series opener at Wrigley.

When you consider that the Cubs have at times left the bases loaded three times in a game without capitalizing, the fact that they scored 4 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks is pretty impressive.  Fukudome is now more than 33% on his way toward Our Rob's projected final homerun figure and maybe Lou had the right idea by batting Fuku in the three-hole when Aramis was resting.

Other Cubs to record offensive contributions ... well, the list is limited.  Geovany Soto went 0 for 4, with his average dropping to .071 on the season, yet shockingly nobody is calling for him to be replaced by Micah Hoffpauir - or Three Finger Hill for that matter.

Aramis recorded 2 hits and a walk, but the lineup behind him went 1 for 14 on the day leaving him with his proverbial thumb up his rhetorical ass.  Oh, and like a good leadoff guy, Soriano walked twice and scored 2 of the Cubs' runs.  Not bad.

Also, Milton Bradley displayed some of that fierce passion that gets him into so much trouble.  He was ejected in the 6th for arguing balls and strikes.  As Our Rob notes, Bradley was right for being pissed and the Cubs were boned by that call.  Hell, Rob must mean business about Bradley being screwed over because he actually modified the url to reflect that fact.  Any post in which Rob actually uses the html feature means he's serious.

Pitching-wise, while Marshall won't be penning a book for pitchers any time soon about how to dominate major league hitting, he did go 5 innings, left the game with the lead, and was just meh-diocre enough to warrant continued use in the rotation.  Besides, like any hitter in the lineup, he deserves a couple of months before Lou's head explodes and he gets delegated to the bullpen or worse.

The problem - as Rob might point out - is that the bullpen turned into a revolving door of offensive enablers.  Just when you thought the Cardinals had quit scoring runs for good, a Cubs reliever would come along flashing run-scoring opportunities and the Deadbird hitter would fall off the wagon and go ball-knocking.  ("Ball-knocking" is the current slang for "ribbie-scoring," which is the old-time slang for "run scoring," which is the act of injecting offense into your baseball-playing veins.) 

Between Heilman, Patton, Cotts, Guzman, and Vicaino, over the span of 4 innings the Cubs allowed 5 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs to score.  That would be enough for them to collectively earn a loss.

Tomorrow should be a decent chance for REVENGE!  The Cardinals are turning to the young PJ Walters, an incredibly talented Cardinals prospect who has yet to meet his potential.  I figure that even if he is Kerry Wood reborn, it's hard to forget that, 5 games before he masterfully struck out 20 Astros, Wood was bouncing curveballs across home plate (and into the hind legs of the batters!) against the Expos. 

Quick Links
Series Preview: Cardinals at Cubs
GameCast: April 16th

Series Recap: Rockies 5, Cubs 2

In a 162 game season, all sorts of crazy crap will happen.  Aaron Miles will hit a game winning homerun before it's all said and done.  Carlos Marmol will resemble a drunken Bob Howry sometime before it's all said and done. 

To the point.  Jason Marquis will win games against the best offense in the National League.  Fact is he just did.  And Rich Harden will have games in which he looks like re-fried shiz.  On a day when the offense is clicking, it's no big deal.  But the Cubs could only manage 2 runs off of 7 hits and 3 walks, and Harden looked uglier than Tori Spelling after a long day without makeup.

Actually I'm being harsh on Harden.  After all, the man managed to make 9 outs today, and 8 of them came from strikeouts.  Think about that ratio!  Hell, the only out not made by strikeouts happened when Chris Ianetta was gunned down at third.  But between all the missed swings and the 8 fouled-off pitches by Garrett Atkins in the 2nd ('twas a 14 pitch at bat), Harden gave up 5 hits and walked 4 and he was chased before the start of the 4th due to having thrown 92 pitches.

However the Rockies' offensive surge abruptly ended after they drove Lou Piniella to turn to his incredibly shaky bullpen.  Somewhere between the lines of that last sentence is a hell of a lot of sarcasm, by the way.  Dave "Commander" Patton, Luis "Pops" Vizcaino, Not a LOOGY Cotts, and Angel Guzman threw 6 innings, allowed only 1 run between them, and struck out 6 batters.

Offensively, Derrek Lee finally came alive with a 3 for 4 day (including a 9th inning solo homerun), Reed Johnson got 2 hits in 4 at bats, and Micah Hoffpauir hit an RBI double in a pinch hit at bat.  Otherwise it was pretty much a snooze fest.  Oh well - maybe the Cubs are just gearing up for the matchup with the Cardinals starting tomorrow.

Series Recap
They say that a tie is like kissing your sister, and apparently in the Star Wars universe Luke Skywalker was all about ties.  "Hey Emperor," he was known to shout, "let's just call it a draw!  Where's my sister?" 

Sorry, got distracted.  The Cubs split their home opener with the Rockies.  Surely this is one for the books, and based on the high demand and excitement of a home opener with Colorado, the Rockies will probably be the preferred opening team of the Cubs from now on.  (Again with the sarcasm between the lines.)

On the bright side, Derrek Lee is narrowing in on batting his weight.  Negatively, Rich Harden apparently hasn't learned that after the fourth consecutive foul ball, you should just walk that asshole.  And sadly, Jason Marquis won.  It's walk of shame time in the North Side.

Current Record: 5-3
Position in the NL Central: 1 game behind St. Louis for the lead
Best Possible Record: 159-3
Worst Possible Record: 5-157
On Pace For: 101-61

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