I'm coming up short on reasons why the Cubs are even still playing. They've established themselves as the worst team in the National League. End of story. And it's not like there's a plethora of young talent that needs to be seen.
As far as I'm concerned the mighty battle for second base has been won by Ryan Theriot. We've seen enough of the young pitchers to get a good idea who's a player and who isn't. Getting them starts, though, certainly won't hurt.
The lame duck season is just lame at this point.
It's obvious Dusty Baker is gone. He clearly doesn't like being here. The only thing that remains to be seen is how the whole divorce will go down. I think Baker will decide to walk, but will the Cubs try to beat him to the punch and say they don't want him back, perhaps, leak some surveillance video of him not wearing a helmet on his motorcycle?
What's baffling is why Dusty and his coaching staff will be the only guys out the door. What about Jim Hendry and, better yet, Andy MacPhail? Has MacPhail done anything in his time here? Hendry is under contract, so he's not going anywhere and will be given a year to do something. But it's hard when there is no farm system to speak of.
To paraphrase the great baseball poet Lee Elia, "It's a disheartening situation we're in right now."
That said, it's Friday, it's sunny out, the air is crisp, the leaves are changing, the harvest is nigh. It's football season for crying out loud.
Juan Mateo goes against Bronson Arroyo in a meaningless game. Here are today's lineups and remember: As always, when the Reds play the Cubs, Adam Dunn will hit a homer and boot a ball in left. (Though, I have to say in the limited amount of time I've watched the Reds lately, Dunn's defense appears to have improved.)
Wayne Messmer is wearing a suit today. Maybe he's off to speak at a retirement seminar. Ryan Freel draws a walk to start the game. Norris Hopper bounces one to Ronny Cedeno, who throws low but gets Freel at second. That ball may not have been hard enough to get two, but the throw to didn't help Cesar Izturis much. Aramis Ramirez robs Scott Hatteberg of what may have been a double down the left-field line with a diving catch. With Rich Aurilia up, Hopper takes off for second and Henry Blanco throws him out.
If the Cubs promotion department can somehow tie Beanie Babies or porcelain figurines into homeland security, I think they've got themselves a valid promotion next year. Cubs fans already have the suffering part down. Arroyo, no longer sporting the corn rows (thankfully), gets Juan Pierre to ground to short. Cedeno singles and has now hit in nine straight games. I may be going out on a limb here, but I think Joltin' Joe has nothing to worry about. Ramirez gets ahead 3-1 and Cedeno is thrown out trying to steal second. Ramirez walks and for those of you wondering why Theriot is not playing, he broke a nail or something yesterday. They just showed a close up of it and it looked pretty gnarly. I had to look away. Arroyo tosses a wild pitch, allowing Ramirez to take second. Jacque Jones draws a walk. Wow. Len Kasper said the Cubs did not draw a walk in their last two games. That's crazy. Murton grounds out to Aurilia and those two rare walks do not amount to much.
Score? What score?
Aurilia takes a called third strike. Or maybe we waved at it with a check swing. Either way, he's out and sitting on the bench. Here's Dunn. Mongo like fastball. Dunn breaks his bat and sends a squibber over Mateo's head that Izturis handles. There's some guy sitting behind the dugout wearing a Pete Rose jersey. I really don't have anything against Rose as a player, but I'd sooner wear a Pete Rose bowl cut than a No. 14 Reds jersey. Mateo strikes out the catcher David Ross.
Scott Moore strikes out. Izturis flies out to left-center where Dunn takes it in front of Freel. Freel disappeared behind Dunn like it was an eclipse. Blanco flies out to Hopper in right.
Just asking but how long is this Comcast Ozzie Guillen "A Mi Manera" feature going to last? It's longer than a Ken Burns special. Mateo has a no-hitter through two. Make that 2 1/3 as Royce Clayton pops out. For some reason, Carlos Marmol is up throwing in the Cubs' pen. Brandon Phillips walks. Arroyo bats and I guess we can't make any Glendon Rusch jokes. I hope that guy's OK. Arroyo strikes out and one day I'll learn how to spell "lonely." Freel sends it deep to center but Pierre makes a nice running catch going toward the track.
That's it for Mateo. Poor guy didn't even get to bat. Buck Coats will do the honors. I have no idea what is going on here. It wasn't like he was injured in that last inning because they had Marmol up and throwing. Coats fans. Pierre bounces one up the middle that hits both Arroyo's and Clayton's glove but still finds center field. Cedeno bounces into a double play, but not that it matters or anything.
Taylor, no kidding Dusty's contract is up. That doesn't mean he can be re-signed. It also doesn't mean the Cubs can say they didn't want him back but Dusty can say he didn't want to be back first. Get it? We still have no idea why Marmol has replaced Mateo. I do know that Bob Brenly saw Tom Petty at Notherly Island last night. OK, and just as I write that, Len throws it back in my face, reporting that Mateo had some tightness in his middle back. Hopper draws a leadoff walk. Hatteberg walks, as well. Oh, boy, here's pitching coach Larry Rothschild. This is my favorite part of any Cubs game. Rothschild clearly dropped some sage advice on the young Marmol as Aurilia hits the first pitch into left for an RBI single. Dunn pops out to left. David Ross pops up to the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer. Clayton walks and, wow, the owl of Minerva makes an appearance on the message board. That has to be the first Hegel reference ever on FTC. And hopefully it'll be the last. Strike 'em out, throw 'em out ends this one, but not before the Reds get four on the board.
Reds 4, Cubs 0
Ramirez rips a double down the left-field line. Jones moves Ramirez along with a ground out. Murton draws a walk. Moore strikes out. Izturis forces out Murton at second. A couple of base runners? You get nothing!
Reds 4, Cubs 0
Jae Kuk Ryu is the latest greatest young hurler to take the mound today. If you're an osprey, you may want to make yourself scarce. Ryu fans Arroyo. Ryu gets Freel looking. Hopper pops out.
Where was I? Where am I? Aw, man, this is not the answer I was hoping for. Blanco strikes out to open the Cubs' half o' the fifth. They just played a clip of Arroyo's album and Len sounded a bit jealous. Jose Reyes bats for Ryu, so we're nearly on pace for a pitcher an inning here. Sweet. Arroyo sits Reyes down with a big breaking ball on the outside corner. Pierre reaches on a Clayton error. Pierre moves up on a wild pitch but Cedeno ends the inning with a flyball to right.
Reds 4, Cubs 0
Les Walrond, step right up. Hatteberg sends a knuckling liner to Jones who comes in but recovers by making a leaping catch. Who put a quarter in this Danny Tartabull? Always get a kick out of the message board guy who spends his time ripping other people for being on a message board. OK, I guess he was just ripping on Dusty rippers. Anyway, Walrond gets Aurilia and Dunn.
Ramirez sends one high and deep to left and here's Dunn's chance to boot one. Glasses down and he makes the catch without a problem. Jones grounds out to second. Murton flies out to right and it took Arroyo eight pitches to get through that inning.
Reds 4, Cubs 0
Who's pitching now, Larry Rothschild? I had to make a quick bathroom run, but I think Walrond struck out Ross. Clayton rolls out to Moore. (He's the first baseman, by the way. I had to check.) Walrond phans Phillips. Hey, Wayne Messmer is back to sing TMOTTBG.
Did I mention it's Friday? Wayne's got a lot going on. He's talking to Len and Bob and still handling the PA duties. Guy's a gamer. Moore flies out to right. And to answer an earlier question on the message board, Messmer says he's a rodeo clown in the offseason. Izturis flies out to Dunn. Blanco flies out to right and see ya' around, Wayne.
Reds 4, Cubs 0
Arroyo pops out to the right side and Moore makes an adventure of it before gloving it over the head of Cedeno, who was ducking out of the way. Freel grounds to Izturis; Moore picks the throws out of the dirt. Hopper singles to right and Jones bobbles it into a double. Walrond strikes out Hatteberg and the guy is cruising.
Oh, joy, here's Freddie Bynum. He's out and I'm not sure how. I turned my head and he was gone. And I just closed the gamecast window. The wheels are coming off here. Pierre beats out a grounder to short. Meanwhile, he's got 184 hits. Cedeno strikes out. Ramirez flies out to Dunn.
Reds 4, Cubs 0
David Aardsma, grab your glove and get out there. OK, I've got to say the greatest baseball movie is "Bull Durham" and the greatest sports movie is "Breaking Away." Oh, wait, that wasn't even the question. Aurilia flies out to Jones. Dunn strikes out looking and "Casey Kasem," it's "Ponderous, man, ponderous." Is Don on the phone? Ross singles to left. Clayton strikes out.
OK, I'll give you "The Natural," even though I prefer "Bull Durham," but "Brian's Song" was a MFTVM. Come on, now. "Hoosiers" was good, but that still ranks behind "Breaking Away" as greatest movie set in Indiana. Jones singles up the middle. Right, actually I would put "Caddyshack" (if golf is a sport) and "Slap Shot" up there with "Bull." Murton grounds into a 4-6-3 DP. Meanwhile, Scott Schoeneweis is pitching. Angel Pagan bats for Scott Moore. Pagan strikes out and this one's over.
Final: Reds 4, Cubs 0
Thanks everyone, except Danny Tartabull, for joining us for loss No. 89. Have a great weekend.