This prediction experiment has gone awry.

More importantly, the Cubs have now lost the first two games of a three game series to a bad Astros team, and must beat Roy Oswalt tonight if they are to avoid a sweep.  The first game was bad enough to lose, but at least the Cubs lost to a guy (Wandy Rodriguez) who has been good at home this season, and who had pretty good stuff during the course of the game.  Last night’s loss to Woody Williams was simply disgusting.  The Cubs should have scored at least two runs in the top of the first when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but they only managed to score one.  ONE RUN!  The Cubs’ numbers for the year with the bases loaded?  .232/.305/.364  WOW.  For as lucky as they’ve been in other areas–a BAbip of .309, for instance–their inability to hit with the bases juiced has cost them a number of runs over the course of the season.  Sean Marshall was not impressive last night; he continues to look more and more like a fifth starter as the season progresses.  Marshall struck out 8, 6, and 8 in his first three starts this season, but hasn’t struck out more than 5 since.  That’s worrisome.

This team can still make the playoffs, of course.  I still believe that a regression to the mean in terms of power has to be forthcoming, even without Soriano.  But if they keep playing like crap in every aspect of the game–and, save Z’s, Hill’s, and Lilly’s starts during the last week, that’s what they’ve been doing–they will start to lose ground to the Brewers, and may not have time to make it up.  It should start tonight, versus Oswalt.

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