After two straight late-night thrillers, it's time for some afternoon delight. Or the baseball equivalent. This is a family operation, after all.
The newly minted Carlos Zambrano gets the call today, takes the hill, grips the ball, toes the slab. He's on the bump.
His $91.5 million celebration in front of the Wrigley crowd was rained out Sunday in a game that never should have started and wouldn't have if it weren't for the infernal meddling of ESPN.
But that's all fine because it gave Lou Piniella the opportunity to move him up in the rotation. As it turns out, Zambrano is 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA in seven career starts against the San Francisco Giants, who coincidentally are today's opponent. Imagine that?
Going for the Giants is Matt Cain, 5-13 with a 3.78 ERA this year, numbers that reek of bad run support.
Also today the Cubs acquired Craig Monroe from Detroit for a player to be named later whose name hopefully is Ronny Cedeno. Monroe will join the boys in Arizona tomorrow and most likely will hop on the carousel in right.
Phil Rogers asks what's not to like about the move? I mean, the guy's middle name is Keystone? There's nothing not to like.
Study these lineups. There will be a quiz later.
No Barry Bonds today. Hey, where's Fred Lewis?
Cubs go for the sweep. Baseball shortly.
Ryan Theriot leads off and already we've got a severe thunderstorm warning. You know what, we're all set on rain. Theriot flies to center but it's hard to tell because there's about 10 graphics and a scroll on the screen right telling us bad weather is afoot in counties I wasn't aware existed. Newton? Jacque Jones singles to right. Derrek Lee flies out to left where Dave Roberts takes it in Fred's former milieu. Aramis Ramirez flies out to left, too, and we move on. Cain works quickly.
A police boat is shaking someone down in McCovey's Cove. Roberts lines one to right. Daryle Ward can't pick it up with his bare hand, allowing Roberts to take second. Rajai Davis, who was owned last night by Carlos Marmol, tries his luck against Carlos Zambrano. He makes contact, but pops up to Lee on the dirt. Randy Winn rolls out to Mike Fontenot at second. Roberts takes third. Theriot handles Ryan Klesko's one-hopper and the leadoff double goes for naught. I think that was ruled a double.
Jim Hendry in the booth, talking about Monroe's success against lefties, talks over Ward's double to the right-field corner. With Mark DeRosa up, catcher Guillermo Rodriguez picks Ward off second. Ward was so far off the bag when the throw went down he wasn't in the view of the center-field camera. Out by a lot. DeRosa walks. Hendry just called Alfonso Soriano "a tremendous healer." Kendall flies out to left. No way Soriano is back before Labor Day, nor should he be. Fontenot pokes one into the right-field corner for a double and Mike Quade holds DeRosa at third. Winn fielded it cleanly. I can't tell watching on TV if he could've scored. Couple of potential RBIs for Zambrano. No, he won't be swinging like Babe Ruth. Zambrano strikes out and nearly throws his bat into the Cubs' dugout in the process.
Speedy guy, I can't explain how or why DeRosa didn't score on the double with two outs. I assumed he would've scored easily when the ball was hit. But they never showed a wide-shot replay of the play. And now Zambrano is holding his left wrist after taking that ridiculous swing. Theriot boots a grounder by Ray Durham. Speaking of booting ball, Rich Aurilia hits and Zambrano drills him on the hand. Lee leaps and robs Omar Vizquel of a probable double, throws to second but Durham gets back in time. Rodriguez pops it up down the left-field line. Ramirez can't find it but Theriot runs out and grabs it close to the spot where he dropped a ball last night. Zambrano strikes out the pitcher.
Theriot singles to left. Zambrano has a band-aid on the base of his index finger on his left hand. I do not think this is a big deal. Jones pops out near the Giants dugout. Lee strikes out on a fastball up and in. Ramirez swings at the first pitch and pops out to Klesko in foul ground.
Roberts hits a slow roller up the middle. It goes under Zamrbano's glove, but Theriot charges, bare hands and nails Roberts. Decent play. Zambrano strikes out Davis on three pitches. Winn hits it up the middle and off Zambrano's glove. It sends Theriot sprawling. He grabs it with his bare hand but falls almost on his face. Winn is safe. Theriot didn't have a play. Cubs are in first place, but yet Sox fans post on the board "Cubs suck." Never going to give that up, are you? Klesko strikes out swinging. We move to the fourth in this scoreless tilt.
Tom Skilling reports the world is ending. Ward bounces one back to Cain for the first out. DeRosa takes a borderline pitch on 1-2 and starts to walk back to the dugout, thinking he's struck out. It's called a ball. He eventually strikes out swinging. Kendall grounds out to Vizquel.
OK, I'm no Rex basher, but the fumbles in the preseason do matter. The game might not, but the fumbles do, considering he did the same thing when it mattered most, in the Super Bowl. I think he lacks focus. Of course, that's easy to say from this seat. That said, I don't think Griese should be in there. Bob Griese, maybe. Durham draws a leadoff walk. Theriot makes a nice play behind second on a grounder by Aurilia, flips from his backside to Fontenot to get Durham. The throw to first is late. Len says, "That would've been the best double play ever." Vizquel walks. So much for the game. Tom Skilling is on. He's reporting it's raining. And how many Cubs fans were on the Sox's bandwagon in '05? No clue; what's the point? And deal with what? We're back. Rodriguez popped out. Zambrano walks the pitcher to load the bases. OK, and speaking of dealing with it. The Cubs are in first place in their division. They don't make up the schedule, nor decide who's in the NL Central. The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last year. They play in the Central. I mean, Sox fans need to deal with the fact that the Sox are tied for last with the Kansas City Royals at this point. And now there is an annoucement here over a speaker I've never heard that is telling us to move away from windows. "This is not a drill." I guess I have to suspend the Cubicle for a bit. Roberts singles to right, driving in two runs. Davis flies out to right.
Giants 2, Cubs 0
I'm still here. Fontenot flies out. And this announcement will not end. This is like an episode of "Lost" or something. I'm right next to a window, so speak kindly of me, if the Tribune Tower is sheared off at the fourth floor. Zambrano grounds to Aurilia but he throws wide and Zambrano is safe. Theriot bounces into a fielder's choice. Jones is retired somehow -- a liner to short. I was distracted by people running around collecting canned goods and bottled water. "Attention! Attention! The severe weather threat has passed. Return to your work area. Return to your work area." Do we have to?
We are no longer in the basement. We used to be. But we're now in the newsroom. The basement would've been safer today. Skilling is on right now. No idea what's going on in the game. Winn reached on a leadoff single to center. Klesko bats with Winnon first and no one out and lines out toleft. Durham bunts and Zambrano is all over it. He makes a bare-handed play and on the third base side and throws on target. Winn takes second on the play. Aurilia takes a called third strike to end the fifth.
Giants 2, Cubs 0
Lee leads off the sixth. Jones lined out to end the fifth, not Lee as I originally wrote. Lee bounces out to the ever-smooth Vizquel, whom the Sox should get to replace Juan Uribe for a year. Ramirez bloops a single in between Winn, Klesko and Aurilia in shallow right. Ward strikes out chasing a slider. With DeRosa at the plate, Ramirez takes second on a passed ball. DeRosa lines one right off the pitcher. Cain recovers, finds the ball and throws out the runner.
Vizquel flies out to Jones in center. Cain took that liner off his right forearm. No word yet if he'll continue. His catcher Rodriguez hits one to left that one-hops into to the seats for a ground-rule double. Just for good measure he takes third, but will have to retreat. We can all exhale; Cain bats for himself. "Stevie" Eyre gets up in the Cubs' pen. Yes, Cain bats for himself and hits a two-run homer to left. Oh, no, he stood and watched it for a few seconds. Is everybody going to be up in arms about this like they were with Tim Lincecum's fist bumps and the other night? And were any players actually upset about that? Zambrano misses on a 3-2 pitch to Roberts and here comes Lou. There goes Zambrano. Eyre enters. Davis rips one right at Ramirez, who snares it on a hop, maybe with his eyes closed. He throws to Fontenot to get Roberts, but the throw to first is late. Winn bloops a single to right. Davis takes third. Klesko bounces out.
Giants 4, Cubs 0
Listen, my earlier rant was not an anti-Sox or anti-Sox fan rant. It was a rant against people who just talk trash for no reason. It goes both ways in this town. Like Cubs fans pulling out the insanely asinine argument about attendance or stadiums or neighborhoods and all that garbage. It just strikes me as silly that people would say a team that is in first place sucks. Direct all angry email to the address below. Kendall doubles to the gap in left-center. Fontenot fouls one off and --what the?-- Eyre has a bat in his hand in the on-deck circle. Fontenot singles to center to drive in Kendall. I'm surprised Quade didn't hold him. Lefty Steve Kline gets up in the Giants pen as pitching coach Dave Righetti visits the mound. Eyre takes a seat and Murton bats in the ninth spot. Murton grounds into a 5-4-3 double play on the first pitch and Brenly jumps on him for it. Theriot doubles to the right-field corner. Jones bounces out to second.
Giants 4, Cubs 1
Kerry Wood will face Durham. Durham pops out to Theriot. Aurilia pops one to shallow right and Ward charges, makes the catch and falls to the ground. The picture on the TV goes in and out. Vizquel reaches somehow. I'll get this in a second. Rodriguez lines a double to the wall in left and Vizquel stops at third. Vizquel walked to get on. I have no audio now. Pedro Feliz pinch hits. OK, we're back to normal. Wood strikes out Feliz to end the seventh.
Giants 4, Cubs 1
Feliz stays in to play third and former Beach Boy and current St. Charles resident Brian Wilson is the new pitcher. Lee pops out. Bob Howry warms in the Cubs' pen. Ramirez grounds out to short. Ward fans. OK, so apparenlty Brian Wilson moved out of St. Charles, according to the board.
Howry on to pitch and starts Roberts off with a strike. Roberts takes a called third strike. I clearly need to update my Brian Wilson fan site. Thanks for all the e-mails telling me he's blown town. Davis strikes out looking and goes 0-for-5. Cubs pitchers have him figured out. It's the other eight guys in the lineup who are the problem today. Winn flies out to deep left and we move to the ninth with the Giants up, 4-1.
Giants 4, Cubs 1
Closer Brad Hennessey will try to end this. DeRosa helps him out, swinging at the first pitch and flying out to left. Kendall flies out to Winn in right. Fontenot bounces out to first and this one's over.
Final: Giants 4, Cubs 1
Cubs lose this one, everyone gets all touchy, armageddon passes, Carlos Zambrano is out-pitched and out-hit by Matt Cain and Brian Wilson hates St. Charles. But Tom Skilling emerges as a winner. Always.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times