From the Cubicle

Still awake out there?

Am I?


If you're working nights, out of the country, working nights in another country, just a lonely insomniac or without TBS (hey, you're missing all that "Everyone Loves Raymond"!) we're, as always, here for you.

Welcome to a special playoff version of From the Cubicle, from the people who brought you a


in 2005. It's

the Cubs

' turn this year, so make yourself some warm milk, curl up by your laptop and let's watch some baseball into the night.


As for the actual game, I don't care if

Carlos Zambrano

has to wear an adult diaper on the mound, he should be so hydrated tonight that he's in danger of hyponatremia. That's the big story -- whether he can keep his temper and cramps at bay. You're in the desert, Big Z; feel free to chug that entire cooler of Gatorade. Don't worry about spilling it down the front of your uniform.

The Cubs are going to need him, because toeing the slab for the other side is Brandon Webb, 2006

Cy Young

winner, who had even better numbers this year.

Now that the Rockies have rocked on, Liverpool lost, Chelsea won and

Josh Beckett

mowed down everything short of the Fenway grass, we finally get to the Cubs. It's been a pretty big day of sitting around and watching sports for a Wednesday but it's also been like a giant music fest when you sit through 10 opening bands you don't care about to get to the act you drove three hours to see.

Tonight's announcers are completely drawn out of a hat, Dick Stockton and Ron Darling.

I'm not as down on TBS as some people. When the alternatives are


, Chris Berman and

Joe Morgan

and Fox and Joe Buck and, well, everyone who works for Fox, I'll take Fox's fourth string


guy and a former


pretty boy anyday. Though, the studio show with Ernie and no Kenny and Charles is just wrong. Tonight they've added Frank Thomas to go along with

Cal Ripken

. Barkley has more interesting things to say in his sleep than either of these guys have uttered all night. Not that I would know.

This game could've started at 8:15, right? Instead we've been treated to shots of the Cubs and Diamondbacks taking batting practice, Cubs fans trying to stay awake in the stands and more studio excitement.

Here are your


Jacque Jones

hitting second. Former Cubs mascot

Augie Ojeda

batting eighth for the D'backs.

Also wouldn't mind seeing Dane Cook take a Zambrano fastball to the earflap. What, too harsh?

So the sideline guy for this game, Marc Fein, just kicked off a report with, and I'm paraphrasing, "Something that still lingers with this Chicago club is the fight that happened between Carlos Zambrano and

Michael Barrett

." Earth to Marc, that was June 1 and Barrett was traded shortly after. This no longer lingers.

OK, and Dick Stockton doing baseball is very confusing to me.

First inning

And we're under way and just like that

Alfonso Soriano

grounds out to third on the first pitch. Webb's got a big sinker, so between Zambrano and this guy, hope you like the ground balls. Jones draws a walk on five pitches.

Derrek Lee

chases a pitch in the dirt for strike three.

Aramis Ramirez

bounces out to second and we move on to, if the other games were any indication, the first of 5,000 Frank Caliendo show TBS house ads.

Former White Sox minor leaguer Chris Young leads off for the D'backs and takes a strike from Zambrano. Young slaps the next pitch up the middle for a single. With Stephen Drew up, Young gets a big jump and swipes second way ahead of

Geovany Soto

's throw. Drew takes a fastball on the outside corner for strike three. Eric Byrnes, of the hair, the suits and the swimming bulldog, gets ahead 3-0. Byrnes takes a strike and then breaks his bat grounding out to short. Young takes third on the play. Zambrano starts

Tony Clark

off with two straight balls. Make that three. Zambrano is having some control issues, falling behind the last two batters. He's also having some pacing around the mound issues. The 3-1 pitch is borderline inside but called a strike. Zambrano then strikes out Clark, hops in the air and shuffles off to the dugout. All in a first inning's work.

No score

Second inning

Cliff Floyd

chases a sinker for strike three. No news here: There are a lot of Cubs fans in Arizona and at this game. But this is funny: According to the sideline guy, there's a campaign out there to take back Chase Field and If the Cubs fans start chanting "Let's go Cubs," the scoreboard will implore the D'backs fans to chant, "Beat the Cubs."

Mark DeRosa

singles to right for the Cubs' first hit of the night. Webb falls behind Soto 3-0 before tossing a fastball down the middle for a called strike. Soto grounds a 3-1 pitch to third. DeRosa was running on the play, so the throw goes to first. Theriot bounces out to short on the first pitch to end the inning.

The upside to a 9:07 p.m. CST start is if you're in Eastern Africa, you get an early start on the day. Writes Tanzanian Cubs Fan: "Oh, it's about 5:30 AM here, so, these last start times are nice for me anyway. GO CUBS!!" Third baseman Mark Reynolds grounds out to second. Zambrano falls behind Jeff Salazar 3-1 before walking him. Chris Snyder bounces into a 6-4-3, inning-ending double play.

Still scoreless

Third inning

Is anyone else having trouble with the TBS feed that keeps freezing? Yes and it's beyond annoying. Zambrano drives the first pitch into the left-center gap for a double. Look at that guy round first. Webb fools Soriano big time with a slow overhand curve. Soriano swings through it for strike three. Jones chases a sinker in the dirt for strike three. Stockon's had some trouble with Zambrano's name already but just called third base coach Mike Quade "Quaid" and then tried to correct himself after a producer told him something by calling him "Quay-day." Lee stands there and looks at strike three, so Zambrano's leadoff double goes for naught. Nought? It was wasted.

Yeah, when TBS' picture isn't freezing the audio goes out. Pretty shoddy all around. It's really nice when it freezes just as the pitch is released. Former cult hero Augie Ojeda bounces out. Zambrano strikes out his counterpart Webb. Zambrano fans Young with a fastball and cruises through the third.


Fourth inning

TBS has an HD feed today. I know it's available on both Comcast and


, however I can't help you with the actual channel number. Sorry. Ramirez sends the first pitch deep to right, but Salazar gloves it on the track. Webb buckles Floyd's knees with a sinker up in the zone that's called strike three by Ed Montague. Webb drills DeRosa on his lead elbow and there's a baserunner. The shortstop Drew makes a nice stop of a Soto shot and throws him out to end the inning.

Drew leads off the fourth with a big homer to right center that clears the pool deck.

Byrnes lines out to Soriano. The ancient Tony Clark flies out to Soriano. Zambrano strikes out Reynolds but the D'backs take the lead on Drews' homer.


D'backs 1, Cubs 0


Fifth inning

Is this

Lou Piniella

Aquafina commercial new? Theriot grounds to third and Reynolds' throw sails into the crowd, allowing Theriot to take second. Drew robs Zambrano of a hit and RBI with a leaping grab of a liner. Theriot dives back to second safely. There's a guy in a Cubs jersey behind home plate holding up a tiny sign, like written on a sheet of notebook paper, that says "BR." What is that, HTML? Soriano lines out to center. Theriot stays put. Could he have tagged on that? Jones grounds out to first and the Cubs strand another runner.

D'backs 1, Cubs 0

DeRosa makes a nice back-handed pick on a hard one-hopper by Salazar and then throws on target for the first out. Zambrano fans Snyder for his sixth strikeout. Ojeda hits it off Zambrano's glove and beats out an infield single. Zambrano strikes out Webb looking and then sprints off the mound.

D'backs 1, Cubs 0

Sixth inning

I'm thinking it's time for Derrek Lee to do something on the road. Lee pokes a single to left to lead off the sixth. Ramirez or "Rodrigo," as Stockton called him, strikes out on a pitch that's no where close and bounces towards the third-base dugout, allowing Lee to take second. Floyd lines out to right for the second out. DeRosa, looking for a two-out RBI, digs in. DeRosa takes on 2-1. It's close. Webb wanted it, but it's a ball. Ball four misses way outside, so two on and two outs for Soto. Soto gets ahead 2-0 and Snyder goes out and chats with Webb. Soto walks and the bases are loaded for Theriot. The D'backs pitching coach trots out there. Webb is sweating like Joe Borowski. Theriot takes strike one on the outside corner. Theriot chops one over the third baseman's head. Drew back-hands it but eats it.

Lee scores on the play to tie it.

Zambrano, looking grand slam, strikes out swinging.

Cubs 1, D'backs 1

Young takes a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch.

Carlos Marmol

gets up in the pen. Drew slaps a single to left and he's having himself a game. Brynes pops up and out to Floyd in right. The ancient Tony Clark hits a slow roller, so slow that Theriot handles it on the right side of second and makes the throw.

Cubs 1, D'backs 1

Seventh inning

I guess Zambrano is done after seven innings and 85 pitches. He's hugging guys in the dugout. He does have to come back on three days rest to pitch Sunday. Soriano grounds back to Webb for the first out. Jones grounds out sharply to Clark. Lee chases strike three in the dirt. The ball gets away from Snyder. Lee throws his bat in disgust and then gives a half-hearted jog to first on the dropped third strike. No matter; he's out and so are the Cubs in the seventh. We stretch.

Cubs 1, D'backs 1

Enter Carlos Marmol, whom someone,

Ted Lilly

, I think, said was the Cubs' MVP this year. My pick's

Sam Fuld


Marmol falls behind 2-1 to Reynolds and gives up a solo homer to left.

Mark Reynolds? Marmol comes back and fans Salazar. Lou Piniella looks downright crestfallen in the dugout. Or maybe he's just asleep. Full count to Snyder and he walks. Piniella takes a slow walk out to the mound. Connor Jackson's in the ondeck circle and he's going to hit for Ojeda or Webb? Webb. Here's Ojeda with a guy on first and one out. Ojeda lines a double down the right-field line. Stunningly Cliff Floyd cuts it off, preventing the run from scoring. Jackson hits for Webb with runners on second and thnird and one out.

Jackson knocks home Snyder with a flyball to center.

Ojeda stays put. Young strikes out on a check swing but the damage is done.

D'backs 3, Cubs 1

Eighth inning

So, let's see, Mark Reynolds, Chris Snyder, Augie Ojeda and Connor Jackson beat your best pitcher out of the pen. Augie Ojeda! Augie bleeding Ojeda! I thought he was on to his next career at this point. And I totally agree with the board about Piniella trying to win Sunday's game on Wednesday. You've got to win this game first, Lou. Ramirez flies out to the track in right. Floyd lines out to right, right at Salazar. Reynolds makes a big-league play on a DeRosa's line-hugging, slow roller towards third and that's three outs.

Bobby Howry enters to pitch the eighth. More e-mail about Piniella's decision to pull Zambrano and the tool behind homeplate. You've got to think Lou's going to get roasted for that. The move totally back-fired. As for the guy behind the plate, they need to remove the protective screen back there. That would take care of him. Howry strikes out Drew. Howry pretty much blows Byrnes away on three pitches. I just noticed this now, but the tool behind homeplate is wearing a skintight shirt and some big necklace. Beat. It. Clark flies out to Soriano. We move to the ninth, where we'll see the bottom of the Cubs' lineup.

D'backs 3, Cubs 1

Ninth inning

And now a Cubs "Click-clack" commercial. If there ever was a jinx for the entire playoffs, that was it. D'backs closer Jose Valverde starts Soto off with a strike. Soto flies out to center. It's down to Theriot and an injured

Daryle Ward

, who's got a bat. Theriot fouls one back and falls behind 0-2. Ha, the Roxbury brother dude behind homeplate was just holding up a blinking neon Cubs sign and the umps made him get rid of it. Have him removed. Theriot strikes out. Ward takes two balls that Valverde thought were strikes. Ward takes a strike down the middle on 3-0. Ball four and Soriano comes to the plate representin' the tying run.

Ronny Cedeno

runs for Ward. Soriano takes a first pitch fastball. That's his pitch. He fouls off the next for strike two. Soriano grounds out to short to end the game.

Final: D'backs 3, Cubs 1

Everyone will question, rightly so, Piniella's decision to lift his best pitcher after 85 pitches in a short series. That was the difference, especially when Brandon Webb was throwing a gem for Arizona. I also blame that nitwit behind the plate. See you tomorrow night, everyone. Get some sleep.