From the Cubicle

Welcome to this special and unexpected edition of From the Cubicle. The Cubs and Braves were washed out last night and will play two today.

What had been a great pitching matchup—Mark Prior versus John Smoltz—is no longer. The Braves moved Smoltz back to pitch the nightcap; Prior will take the mound this afternoon.

With Derrek Lee hurt and Corey Patterson, um, taking another break, Todd Walker will play first and Jerry Hairston will lead off and play center. Don't believe me? You can see the lineups for yourself.

We'll have baseball soon.

First inning

Here we go from Hot (and wet) 'Lanta. Horacio Ramirez is finishing up warming up in front of what looks like about 400 people at Turner Field. Hairston quickly gets behind 0-2 before striking out swinging. Patterson-esque. Neifi Perez lofts one to shallow center, but you're not going to get much by Andruw Jones, who catches up to the bloop easily. Aramis Ramirez hits the first pitch to right for the final out. Eight pitches, all strikes for Ramirez, Horacio, that is, in the first.

Just to keep everyone up to date, so far I've been told I look like Ralph Malph, Napoleon Dynamite and now Fred Savage's brother. There may have been others that I can't recall. In other words, every dork with curly hair on TV or in the movies. Can we get a Screech? Rafael Furcal bounces the first pitch to Perez at second. Len says the Cubs have given up nine first-inning runs in the last six games. Not good. Kelly Johnson pops one foul that Walker handles near the Braves' on-deck circle. Marcus Giles flies out to center to end perhaps the fastest first inning in the history of baseball. If this keeps up, I may have to do some actual work this afternoon.

Second inning

I'd be remiss, if I didn't welcome the members of the message board mob today. So I'm going to be remiss and ignore y'all. Kidding. Howdy, everyone. In keeping with the first-inning theme, Jason Dubois grounds out on the first pitch he sees. Ramirez actually throws a ball to Burnitz, who takes it but then lofts a strike to Jones in center for the second out. Walker singles to center for the game's first hit. Cedeno one-hops a shot, but Giles handles it and we're done with the top half of this inning.

Prior fans Jones, who's leading the majors in homers. Hey, Dominique Wilkins in the house. The aged Julio Franco digs in, draws a walk and rides his Rascal Scooter to first. Johnny Estrada, great name, hits one over Dubois' head in left, Franco scoots to third (beep, beep) and Estrada takes second. Ryan Langerhans, not-so-great name, hits one deep to center--deep enough for both runners to advance and the Braves take a 1-0 lead. Wilson Betemit grounds out.

Braves 1, Cubs 0

Third inning

Henry Blanco grounds the first pitch to Furcal for an out. Again, the Cubs showing no patience. Prior strikes out looking. Anyone else watching this game on TV notice the sound is quite iffy? It seems like it's going in and out. Or am I deaf? Hairston strikes out swining.

Prior gets his counterpart Ramirez to fly out to center. Furcal looks at a breaking ball for a called third strike that he thought was high. Yes, the sound is definitely all over the map. Kelly Johnson draws a walk. Does Len have to bring up the collision between Prior and Giles in 2003 every time Giles comes up? This is old news. Giles singles to right; Johnson takes third. Linda S., Trent Tucker? Not a fan. He hit that cheap three back in the day against the Bulls with .1 second on the clock on that MLK matinee game. Or was that Christmas? Either way, the NBA changed the rules because of that. Jones, with two guys on, flies out to Burnitz.

Fourth inning

Perez flies out to Jones in center. Ramirez grounds out to first. Glenn writes in to say Tucker's shot was on Christmas. Unfortunately, Glenn, I just looked it up and it happened Jan. 15, 1990, on MLK day at MSG. Dubois fans and Ramirez is really mowing the Cubs down.

Prior strikes out Franco to start things off. Estrada pops one to shallow right and Perez calls off Walker to take it himself. Prior strikes out the Islets of Langerhans to end the inning. Props to whomever posted about the islets on the message board. However, the post may have been deleted. Anyway, thanks for the anatomy lesson. Mmm...pancreatic secretions.

Fifth inning

Burnitz flies out to left. Walker walks, appropriately, I guess. Ronny Cedeno bounces out but Walker takes second. Blanco pops out near the Braves' dugout and again nothing doing for the Cubs.

Carlos Z., I have enough trouble leading off for my winless softball team. I doubt I could be of help to the Cubs. I'm like the Royce Clayton of 16-inch softball, except without that hair. Good hands, no bat. Though, this year my hands have abandoned me, so I'm pretty much worthless--kind of like Clayton was with the Sox. Betemit rips one off Ramirez's glove and slides into second with a double. Ramirez, Horacio, that is, bunts Betemit over to third. Furcal rips a double to the gap in right, scoring Betemit. Prior comes back to strike out Johnson. Here's Giles. Let's see if Len and Bob mention the collision. Prior walks the aforementioned Giles, possibly setting up a reverse collision of some kind between first and second. Though, I'm not sure what Prior would be doing over there, so maybe not. Jones rips a single to center, scoring Furcal. Prior's kind of laboring here. Yes, definitely struggling. Franco drives one the other way for a three-run homer. Estrada lines a single to center. Sergio Mitre and someone else are up in the pen as the Islets of Langerhans steps in representing the ninth Brave batter of the inning. The Islets walks and that's it for Prior. Dusty comes out, pulls a double switch. Michael Barrett will come on to catch Sergio Mitre. Betemit takes a ball from Mitre before bouncing out to Perez. And that ends the longest. Inning. Ever.

Braves 6, Cubs 0

Sixth inning

Will "The Thrill" Macgill asks in an e-mail: "How do you sit in your cubicle all day and not lose it watching the Cubs??? I would go insane!"

I go insane sitting in this cubicle all day regardless if the Cubs are on. I'm sure a lot of you can relate. Barrett grounds out to Furcal. Hairston gets ahold of one but it's right at Johnson in left. Perez bloops out to Franco and the Cubs continue to make Horacio Ramirez look like Warren Spahn.

Ramirez grounds out to Cedeno and some sales person down here has someone on a speaker phone really loud. Where's Russell Crowe or even Hal McRae when you need him? Furcal lines a single to right. Johnson hits one off Mitre's glove but Perez is there to throw out the runner. Giles grounds out to end the sixth.

Seventh inning

Ramirez leads off the Cubs' seventh and flies out to Jones in center. Dubois squibs one past Ramirez, but Giles charges and gets Dubois on a close play at first. Burnitz grounds one through the hole on the right side for the Cubs' second hit. Yes, second hit. And not much of a hit at that. Walker grounds out to end it, a continuing theme.

Mitre strikes out Jones and there's an ad behind home plate for Finazzle grout cleaner. I'm thinking an endorsement opportunity for Snoop Dogg. Franco, who apparently has grown tired of tormenting the Cubs, grounds out weakly to second. Estrada sends a single to center. Langerhans sends one to left. Mitre walks Betemint to load the bases for Ramirez, who grounds out to Cedeno.

Eighth inning

I've switched the channel to "Maury." Today's topic: "You're only 13...I'll stop you from having a baby." What, no paternity tests today? Angela, 15, says she'll make a great mom because she loves practicing with her doll. Ho, boy. That's actually worse than this game. Flip. Cedeno bounces out to go 0-3 with three ground outs. The immortal Jose Macias pinch hits for Mitre and hits the first pitch for an out. Good lord and now it's raining. Barrett swings at the first pitch but lines a single to right. Third hit. There's a "Magnum PI" rerun on WGN. Higgy Baby and Magnum are chatting in Higgins' office with--what the?--a guy dressed as a Samurai Warrior. Hairston grounds one to Furcal, whose throw is wide but Franco tags the airborne Hairston for the final out.

Furcal sends one deep to center but Hairston runs it down. Michael Wuertz is the Cubs' new pitcher, by the way. Johnson hits one back up the middle, Wuertz does a little hacky-sack move on it, sending the ball in the air to short where Cedeno bare-hands, throws, but, alas, it's too late. Fancy play, though. Giles strikes out swinging. Jones flies out to Hairston and we move to the ninth. Thankfully.

Ninth inning

Perez grounds out, Ramirez lines out and Dubois I'm sure will make an out somehow. A ground ball to third and Horacio Ramirez completes his first-career shutout. That happens a lot to these Cubs, who have now lost seven straight and could be more by this evening. That beeping you hear is the sound of the trucks backing up to Wrigley.

Final: Braves 6, Cubs 0

Thanks for reading everyone. Have a good one. Lunch time.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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