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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cubs 4, Astros... not so much.

Whee, losing to the Cubs NEVER gets old! Today, the local boys relished the opportunity to repay Carlos Zambrano for the embarassment that was the one-hit, eight strikeout shutout he dropped on them on June 5th.

And boy, did they show HIM what was what: today, we got TWO hits off of him. And we struck out TEN times. I'm sort of having trouble figuring out which of the innings was my favorite of the game. The fifth?
Huff 'n Stuff walks, breaking up the perfect game.
Luke Scott singles, breaking up the no-hitter.
With two men on, Ausmus strikes out looking on four pitches.
With two men on, Never-Hit strikes out looking, on FIVE pitches.
With two men on, Willy T. hits a real scorcher of a groundout to first base.
Or perhaps it was the seventh inning?
Berkman walks.
Huff n' Stuff walks.
With two men on, Scott flies out to center.
With two men on, Ausmus strikes out looking on four pitches. (Where have I seen that one before?)
With two men on, Munson (pinch-hitting) strikes out on four pitches.
How about the ninth?
Huff n' Stuff flies out to left.
Scott singles.
Ausmus flies out to center. (Good game there, pal.)
Munson walks.
With two men on, Taveras grounds out to the pitcher to end the game.
Cletus, for his part, coughed up back-to-back jacks to Barrett and E-Ramis. Then, when faced with bases loaded in the fifth inning and goofy-looking screwup young prospect Matt Murton at the plate, Cletus heroically walked the relative lightweight (all of four dingers on the season; slugging .375) on five pitches, forcing in the Cubs' fifth run. Brav-o!

The "silver lining," as it were, is that Magic Audrey was optioned to AAA after the game to make room for AA pitcher Matt Albers, of whom the following was said:
"I think his pitching makeup we think will allow him to go into the bullpen and help us out. His arm bounces back really, really good. He can go 110 pitches and feel hardly anything the next day. You look at those type of things."
Not that he'd ever get the opportunity to throw 110 pitches, with Gar[d]ner around. As solid as Clemens had looked through six, Gar[d]ner nonetheless pulled him after 85 pitches for stud pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro, who flied out to left to drop his average to .219 or some crap.

If my count is correct, we still have to open up one more spot to make room for Brandon Backe, who's slated to start in New York on Saturday. Magic Audrey was the most likely choice; now that Albers is up, whose head is on the chopping block next? Or is there a two-for-one or such trade out there that hasn't been announced yet?

Either way, having flunked the exam against the worst team in the National League (even if the Pirates' record is nominally worse), we now go on to face the best team in the league. Oh, this should be fun.


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