Not likely I'll have time to write later this evening, so a preview today instead:
The Cubs meet the Astros Friday in the Cubs' final game of August, a month that has seen the team win 12 games and lose 15, yet climb from second place, a game behind the Brewers, to first place, 2 1/2 games up.
Sean Marshall, who was hit hard the last time he pitched against Houston, is matched today against Wandy Rodriguez, who has had one strong outing against the Cubs and one not-so-strong outing.
Three things I see working against the Cubs this afternoon:
1. A possible emotional letdown after the playoff-type intensity of the Brewers series.
2. The difficulty of coming back to play a day game right after a night game. (The Astros played the Cardinals in a Thursday matinee, so, even with the flight to Chicago, one would have to assume they're more well-rested than the Cubs, who must have had a perfectly good reason for not scheduling that game yesterday in the afternoon, right?)
3. Having to face a lefthanded pitcher. The Cubs have struggled against lefties all season long; I have a hard time imagining them surviving two lefties in a row.
Soriano and Kendall are not in today's starting lineup, being replaced by Monroe and Blanco.
Breaking reaction to possible breaking news: A poster over at The Cub Reporter just wrote that according to WSCR in Chicago, the Cubs have acquired Steve Trachsel in exchange for Scott Moore and two--that's t-w-o--other minor leaguers. If it's true, I don't understand why.
And if it's not true, it's a nasty, unfunny joke for someone to play on a bunch of his fellow Cub fans.
Breaking update on the possible breaking news above, which, it turns out, is true: Cubs get Trachsel from the Orioles for Rocky Cherry and Scott Moore. Per the Cubs' official press release, Trachsel has thrown four quality starts in a row and has the fourth lowest ERA in the American League in the month of August.
More sarcastic comments on this move later.