The Cardinals lost to the Reds Thursday afternoon to complete an 0-7 road trip and fall four-and-a-half games off the NL Central lead. That means upon landing in St. Louis, the Cubs are either going to encounter a down and dying team ready to be pummeled or a down and dying team ready to take some bear cub flesh and thus salvage a shred of dignity in an otherwise lost season.

Speaking of the bear cubs...

Tonight is the game Steve Trachsel is starting in place of Carlos Zambrano, so Zambrano can pitch the series opener Friday in Saint Loo. In case you had the memory of Trachsel's last start surgically excised, he was terrible on Sunday in Pittsburgh. He threw 47 pitches in just two innings during which he yielded six runs and six hits. As I mentioned earlier in the week at The Cub Reporter, tonight marks just the sixth time in Trachsel's long career that he has started a game on three days rest. In those five previous starts, the last in 2000, he has gone 1-3, 6.04, allowing six home runs in 28 1/3 innings.

His opponent tonight will be Gregory Scott "Woody" Williams, who has been tough on the Cubs this year, going 1-1 with two no-decisions and allowing just six earned runs in 24 IP (2.25 ERA). Considering that Williams recently celebrated his 72nd birthday, this strikes me as quite an accomplishment.

Need I point out how sweet it would be to win this game with Trachsel pitching, thus gaining a half-game lead on the Brewers while allowing for the strategic shift of Zambrano's spot in the rotation? Need I?

No, I didn't think so.


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