Feel better today Cubs fans? Me neither.
I had the strangest dream last night.
was rolling a big doughnut and this snake wearing a vest was filling out
' lineup card.
about who bats where. It's hard to agrue with that, but what the heck else is there to talk about, "Top Chef"? C'mon now.
Yesterday's lineup was a smashing success and played to rave reviews throughout the land with
back in the leadoff spot. At one point the man did the unthinkable and drew a four-pitch walk. The Cubs avoided the sweep and looked decent, especially
, who pitched six spot-on innings in his first start in three years.
Gone are the
, who from this desk chair look like the class of the division (through three games), and enter the
, who ain't exactly setting the world on fire.
's turn today. Perhaps that big, overhand curve and his new compact windup will be effective against a struggling Astros lineup. Former
left fielder/potted plant
is hitting .176 and the Mitchell Report's
Chris Sampson, who has a 0.60 ERA in two starts against the Cubs and baffled them for five perfect innings last season, will pitch today for the 'Stros.
It was raining this morning, but now it's not.
are right here for you.
The Cubs take the field in the sunshine. Sorry, Q on the board, but I let you down in the second paragraph. Rich Hill takes a few more warmup tosses,
throws the ball down and we're ready to go. Michael Bourn digs in and the Astros are wearing those hideous red tops. Hill gets a fastball and then a curve over and gets ahead 0-2. Bourn taps one to Lee, who steps on the bag himself on a close play. Bourn was flying down the line. Hunter Pence pops out to Lee.
bounces out to
, who throws low but Lee helps him out. Hill has a snappy first. Onward.
ET, I may be in the minority but I love those oddball, organge-striped Astros unis from back in the day. Soriano grounds out to Tejada.
grounds out to second. Lee flies out to Pence in right.
Carlos Lee leads off the second, swings at the first pitch and pops out to DeRosa. Tejada shoots a double down the right-field line. Ty Wigginton draws a walk.
bloops one into shallow right, where Lee makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch for the second out. Hill hits J.R. Towles on the leg and, in the process of trying to avoid the pitch, Towles does some acrobatics in the box, walking on his hands for his bit. I'm not sure what that was all about, but he should've walked all the way down to first on his hands. Hill has lost his control. The pitcher Sampson hits with the bases loaded and Hill gets out of the jam with a strike out.
Exactly, Wildkit 76, the Tally-Ho is a Rogers Park bar. It's no Candlelight. Ramirez flies out to right. Kosukue Fukudome hits the first pitch right up the middle for a single. The man continues to get on base. As Len Kasper discusses Kaz Matsui's anal fissure surgery, DeRosa hits into a 6-4-3, inning-ending double play.
Bourn draws a walk to start the third. Pence bounces to DeRosa, whose throw to Theriot is wide and consequently Theriot's throw to first is wide. They got Bourn at second. Pence was safe at first. Berkman flies out to left. Lee crushes one deep to left but it hooks foul. Lee hits the next pitch on the ground to Ramirez for the third out.
Soto flies out to right. Pie grounds out to first and Ronald Steward's bank shot for the Zee-Bees ... ugh. Open your eyes next time. Hill strikes out and that ends the third inning. The Cubs still can't touch Chris Sampson.
Hills strikes out Tejada on a 2-2 curve. Hills gets Wigginton swinging over a breakign ball, too.
Loretta draws a two-out walk and that comes back to bite Hill as Towles hits a two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole and just over the wall.
Sampson grounds out to DeRosa but the Astros take a 2-0 lead.
Astros 2, Cubs 0
Soriano takes two balls and then swings and misses at a fastball. He strokes one to the left-center gap where Bourn robs him of a likely double with a diving catch. Martin's man-crush Theriot hits the first pitch hard but Bourn catches it on the run in the right-field gap. Bourn's getting a lot of work out there. Lee flies out to the center-fielder and again the Cubs can't do anything against Sampson.
Astros 2, Cubs 0
Man, I just inadvertently hit some strange combination of keys and it changed the font. What the? This sucks because I can only work in Courier New. Hill strikes out Bourn looking at a curve. Pence flies out to Pie in center. Berkman shoots a single past Theriot. With Lee up, Berkman takes off for second, Lee singles to left but Berkman can 't take third because a.) he's a little husky and b.) he slid head first into second and had no idea what was happening. Speaking of the husky section, here's Miggy. He lines one to the right side but Lee gloves it to end the threat.
Ramirez pops out to first on the first pitch as
gets up in the Cubs' pen. Fukudome bounces one to Berkman for the second out. DeRosa, who GIDPed (GedIDP?) last time up, singles to left for the Cubs' second hit of the game. Wow. Soto lifts one to center. Bourn shades his eyes with his glove and makes the catch just in front of the track.
Astros 2, Cubs 0
Can someone find Rickie Weeks to run into someone again? The Cubs need another wake-up shot. Hill remains. Wigginton grounds out to third to break the seal on the sixth. Loretta flies out deep to left. The curly-headed catcher Towles flies out to Fukudome and with the hook on the horizon, Hill goes 1-2-3 in the sixth, albeit against the bottom of the Astros' order.
Pie tries to bunt himself on but bunts foul. Hill's done as new guy Reed Johnson stands in the on-deck cirlce. Pie flies out to right. Johnson takes a couple of pitches, one of each type, and then nearly knocks it out, banging a pinch-hit double off the top of the wall in left. Soriano grounds weakly to first on the first pitch. Ugh, however, it does move Johnson to third. Called strike, swinging strike, foul ball, ground out to third goes Theriot. Berkman makes a great play toeing the bag on the high throw. So much for the double.
Astros 2, Cubs 0
Jon Lieber makes his 2008 Cubs debut and faces the pitcher Sampson to start the seventh. Sampson taps it back to Lieber, who bobbles it a bit but it doesn't really matter and gets the out. Lieber strikes out Bourn. Hunter Pence, a name more suited for polo than baseball, is out on a swinging bunt. Here's Bill Madlock to sing TMOTTBG and hopefully pinch hit in the bottom half of the inning.
Lee, Ramirez and Fukudome in the seventh for the Cubs. Lee grounds out to short. Ramirez hits one back of third that Wigginton fields but eats. Infield single. Fukudome singles past a diving Loretta. Ramirez stops at second and Madlock laughs at Loretta's lack of range. DeRosa grounds out to third, advancing both runners. Soto hits with runners on second and third and two outs.
Soto rips the first pitch into left, scoring both runners to tie the game.
Astros manager and former Brewers great Cecil Cooper walks out to yank Sampson for the lefty ... I didn't see before they went to commercial. Make that Wesley Wright. Pie breaks his bat grounding out to second but the Cubs do the unthinkable the way this one was going and tie it up.
Cubs 2, Astros 2
Berkman hits a grounder to the right side on the first pitch and DeRosa boots it, has time to recover but then boots it again and a third time for good measure. Lee flies out to Pie.
Tejada bounces one down the third-base line past Ramirez. Ramirez thinks it's foul, the ump thinks otherwise. Oh, boy, it hits the side wall, bounces by Soriano and all the way to the left-field wall. Berkman scores easily and Tejada ends up at third.
Wigginton flies out to center, scoring Tejada.
Sure, they give Tejada a triple on that. Whatever. I guess because Soriano never touched it, but that was a brutal play out there, really bad, and has to be ruled an error. Loretta grounds out to third to end it.
Astros 4, Cubs 2
will hit for Lieber. Wright was out there warming up, but they announced Cedeno and Cooper will go with the righty and we go back to commercials. Doug Brocail is the new pitcher. Cedeno sits down, which is fine, and the lefty
will hit. Ward grounds out to first. Soriano files out to Pence and that's 0-for-4 for him plus the misplay in the field. Theriot fights one off and singles the other way down the right-field line. With Theriot on the move, Lee singles up the middle and Theriot takes third. Ramirez fouls off a few pitches and the count goes to 2-2. Brocail misses ont he outside corner and we're full. Ramirez strikes out swinging and the Cubs gets nothing. We get to move to the ninth.
Astros 4, Cubs 2
I don't understand that McDonald's commerical "Here's to waking up Thursday and thinking it's Friday." Is this guy actually excited about this that he's toasting it with an Egg McMuffin or drowing his sorrows in one? I assume it's the latter, in which case he should have something a little stronger. Major changes here:
to pitch and bat fourth, DeRosa to third, Soriano moves to second, Ward stays in to play left and Ramirez takes a seat. Towles grounds to Soriano who takes his sweet time and lets the ball come to him and barely gets the catcher at first. And if things weren't all wacky enough, here's former White Sox
to hit. Erstad flies out to center on a 3-1 pitch. Bourn grounds out to Soriano, proving the rule of baseball that the ball will find you. Soriano handled the two chances, which is expected considering he used to play second. Anyway, Fukudome, DeRosa and Soto coming up in the ninth for the Cubs.
Closer Jose Valverde, who had 47 saves for the D'backs last season, comes on for the Astros. Fukudome pops out to short.
DeRosa rips a line-drive homer to the first row of the left-field bleachers.
Soto gets ahead 3-0. Soto takes a strike then lines out right at Lee in left. Well hit but right at the guy. Unfortunately for the Cubs and their fans it's up to Pie, who pops out near the Cubs' dugout.
Final: Astros 4, Cubs 3
Tough loss, everyone, especially with the Cubs booting the ball all over the joint in the eighth. They continue to invent new ways to lose. Thanks for joining us, everyone. On the upside, it is Friday. We'll see you Monday.