Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Rangers

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/managed/grota/drupal/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

Heroes and Villains (Game Recap: Cubs 5, Rangers 4)

Last night's effort to score runs got little help from most of our veteran regulars. Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez each went 0-for-5, and Marlon Byrd and Geo Soto were also hitless.

Instead, it was Alfonso Soriano and... the... Sorianettes? that got most of the work done. The Fonz himself blasted a two-run homer, Darlin' Starlin Castro added a solo shot to the opposite field (...!!!), and Tyler Colvin and Kosuke Fukudome came off the bench in the top of the tenth inning to lead off with back-to-back hits, with both eventually scoring to give the Cubs a two-run lead, all of which Carlos Marmol would end up needing.

Randy Wells posted a solid performance, allowing three earned runs in 8.1 innings, with six strikeouts and only one walk, seemingly solidifying his position in the rotation while Carlos Zambrano pitches a simulated game on Monday.

In Carrie Muskat's article that explained that Z would be throwing a sim game, Lou was quoted as saying he didn't know what his rotation will be once Z comes back into it. Frankly, I can't figure it out either.

Gamecast: May 22, 2010 - Cubs @ Rangers

Randy Wells (3-2, 4.13) vs. Derek Holland (2-0, 2.38)

Overview
Randy Wells heads back to the mound hoping for better run support than he's been provided recently, or better than what the Cubs provided Theodore Lilly last night.  In his last start Monday night against the Rox, Wells went 6 2/3 strong, but Grabow predictably shit away the lead in the 8th, before some 11th inning Aramis Ramirez (??) heroics landed the Cubbies a W.  Speaking of Ramirez, he's back in the lineup tonight after a sore thumb has limited him the past couple games.  Problem is, he's DH'ing.  This bothers me.  If he's not healthy enough to play 3rd, then I don't want him DH'ing.  I'd rather see someone like Tyler Colvin in the lineup instead.  What's wrong with Colvin in LF and Soriano DH'ing?  That seems to make more sense.  But instead sore-thumbed and limp-batted Aramis will be back in the middle of the lineup to continue his season long funk.  Eff that.

Opposing Wells will be Derek Holland, a young lefty who had a very up and down rookie season in 2009.  After dominating in AAA to start the season, the Rangers called up Holland a week and a half ago, and he's rewarded that call with 2 good starts.  We'll see if that continues tonight.

Who's Hot
Starlin continues to rake even though he can't seem to find a consistent spot in the lineup..having batted 8th, 2nd, 7th, and 9th in the last 4 games.  His average on the season sits at .365, and that one miserable game aside, I've been 100% in favor of the kid's play.  He's exciting, and any reason to get excited about the 2010 Cubs (read: Not Bullet Bob Howry) is a good thing.  Also hot has been the starting pitching.  We've seen a string of nice starts in a row, and having Wells continue that would be terrific.

Who's Not
Derrek Lee: 2 for 19 his last 5 games.  It's been a bad season honestly.  At least he's still drawing walks.
Geo Soto: 2 weeks ago, Geo was hitting .362.  Today it's .280.  At least he's still drawing walks.

That's it from here.  As usual, I'd sure like a GD win tonight.  Anyone else still alive and quasi-optimistic out there?  I'd love to know I'm not alone.

-MW

Gamecast: May 21, 2010 - Cubs at Rangers

Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68 ERA)

Overview

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it! Bob Howry is making his comeback with the Cubs. I loooovvvee it! Well, maybe not love, but can he be worse than John Grabow? I guess they can be equally as bad and that is the problem with the Cubs.

The Cubs find themselves five games back today and ready for interleague play. It will be interesting to see how Lou handles the lineup, but I guess that Xavier Nady and Tyler Colvin will at least see a start or two. The Cubs could DH Alfonso Soriano and let Colvin play left, or just let Xavier Nady play. I'll try to update when the lineups are released. 

Who's Hot (Night Edition)

Starlin Castro - He loves the night to the tune of a .393 average. 

Mike Fontenot - He's hitting .371 with a .909 OPS. 

Who's Not 

Aramis Ramirez - Not surprisingly, but Ramirez is only hitting .132 at night. 

Derrek Lee - Again, not shocking, but Lee's hitting .188 under the lights. 

Conclusions

Interleague play is novality, but it is here to stay. I would like to see the Cubs in all the American League parks at some point. So, at least until I hit my last seven ballparks.
 

Series Preview: Chicago Cubs at The Texas Rangers of Arlington (May 21-23)

Overview
The Cubs travel to Arlington to open up Interleague play and face a red-hot Rangers team.  The Rangers have always been known as an "offense first" squad and this year is no different.  The Rangers are 3rd in the AL in terms of batting average and 5th in OBP.  However, unlike previous years, the pitching staff of the club has been very serviceable.  The club has the 6th best ERA in the AL and ranks second in strikeouts.  Much of this success is due to the new and improved Colby Lewis, the excellent start to the season of CJ Wilson, and the recent callup of Derek Holland.  The Cubs will get to face all three in this upcoming series.

The Matchups

Friday, May 21, 2010- Colby Lewis (3-2, 3.68) vs. Ted Lilly (1-3, 4.65)
Lewis has been a big surprise story for the Rangers.  After a terrible showing the first time around in the MLB, Lewis returned from Japan with the goal of making good on his once "top prospect" status.  From 2002 to 2007 Lewis compiled a 6.71 ERA over 217.1 major league innings, walking 124 batters.  He then went to Japan and became an immediate success.  His success was not a coincidence.  During that time he altered his delivery, added a cutter, and bought into the philosophy of pounding the strike zone.  He has good velocity and what some refer to as an "unholy breaking pitch."  So far this has meant success as he has a 2.57 SO/BB ratio and a mid 3's ERA pitching in the AL.  However, he has lost his past two decisions after starting 3-0 on the season, so hopefully the Cubs have caught him at a good time.

Lilly notched a quality start in his last outing against the Pirates, allowing 3 ER over seven innings.  He has now gone seven innings in back to back starts, which is promising considering he is still sort of recovering from knee surgery.  Hopefully Lilly can increase the strikeouts against a hungry Rangers lineup and get a win.

Saturday, May 22, 2010- Derek Holland (2-0, 2.38) vs. Randy Wells (3-2, 4.13)
Holland is one of those "came out of nowhere" prospects for the Rangers system.  He was drafted in the 25th round in 2006 with out much hype.  At the time he threw a 90-92 MPH fastball and had a nice repeatable delivery, so there was good potential for him.  In 2008 he finished 10th overall in strikeouts for the minors with 157.  Much of this sucess can be credited to the development of his fastball.  During 2008, his fastball started middle at 93-96 with a sinking motion, sometimes touching up to 98 MPH.  He compliments this fastball with a changeup and a slider that both come in at low 80s.  So far he has been able to parlay his stuff into success at the big league level, winning his first two starts.

Wells should be 4-2 after his outing this past week against the Rockies where he went 6 2/3 innings of one run ball.  Hopefully we can see more of the same out of Wells and get him a well-deserved win.

Sunday, May 22, 2010- CJ Wilson (3-1, 2.55) vs. Carlos Silva (5-0, 3.35)
This is a matchup of unlikely aces.  Wilson has spent most of his career in the bullpen as a closer or setup man, but with Feliz and Frank Francisco holding down the setup and closer roles in Texas, Wilson needed a new gig.  So far it has been smooth sailing until his last outing.  Wilson only lasted 4 1/3 innings against the Angels after giving up seven runs.  His homerless streak ended when Torii Hunter took him deep.

Silva is 5-0 and no one really knows what to do.  I have to admit, he's been pretty impressive in his consistency and can be maddening for hitters when he stays ahead in counts.  I haven't seen anything to the contrary, so I expect another quality start out of Carlos... even if it continues to defy logic.

Conclusion
This is going to be a rough matchup, but if the Cubs can continue to show life with their bats and John Grabow doesn't get put into a game, I can see the Cubs taking 2 out of 3.

Shop for discount sports tickets at Coast to Coast Tickets, your reliable Chicago Cubs ticket broker!

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award