From the Cubicle: Cubs-Astros






Welcome to this post Ike, post no-hitter, in the midst of the great flood of '08 edition of From the Cubicle as

the Cubs

make themselves at home at Wrigley North. Meanwhile, the

Houston Astros

, whine about the hand cruel Fortuna has dealt them.

They have a point. Miller Park is hardly a neutral site for the Cubs, but...


Outside of Mother Nature, Houston owner Drayton McLane has himself to blame for this mess.

They could've easily rescheduled this game at different site, an actual neutral site, earlier, but McLaine wanted this game played in Houston when that was never going to happen. He can spout all he wants about Astros fans and the welfare of his players and their families but everyone knows the real reason he didn't want to play ball somewhere else was the reported $3 million the Astros would lose by playing the game elsewhere and, well, that's good enough reason for me.

with the situation.

"It's like a Cub home game," Houston manager Cecil Cooper said. "Only they're not the 'home' team. We are. I'm not happy about that. I need to tell the commissioner that. I will tell him that."

What, no love for

? Do it for Harvey Kuenn.

Today it's

Ted Lilly

against Brian Moehler and I'm going to guess we will not get a no-hitter.

. Let's get a move on.

First inning

Alfonso Soriano fouls off the first pitch before lining a single to right. Mike Fontenot flies out to center. You had to feel for Fontenot last night at the end of the game while everyone was mobbing Zambrano, Fontenot couldn't get in there. "Hey, guys, let me in!" The little guy was the like the runt of a crowded litter trying to find an open teet. With that image fresh in your mind, I'm not sure the comment board is working. Wait, yes it is. I think. Ugh. Derrek Lee fouls off a few pitches and falls behind 1-2. Lee dumps a single to right-center and Soriano makes the turn and takes third.

Aramis Ramirez knocks home Soriano with a flyball to center.

Micah Hoffpauir has a bat in his hand and I assume he's starting today in the outfield. Probably should check the lineups myself. yes, he's in right. Again, a lot of Cubs fans at the game while the rest of the 85 percent of us have to work. Kind of a long drive for Astros fans. Hoffpauir pops out to Lance Berkman in foul ground.

Cubs 1, Astros 0

And for those of you asking, yes, apparently this feature is now faceless. You ain't missing much. Also Adam has been replaced by a typing chimp.



Reggie Abercrombie, who does not play shirtless, spritzed with water and with his jeans half falling off, swings at a pitch off the plate for strike three. Mark Loretta -- and for all of you former fans of the once venerable Sarkis' in Evanston, you know what I'm talking about when you hear his last name -- strikes out, too. Miguel Tejada chops out to Ronny Cedeno at short and Ted Lilly is perfect through one, which means the Astros haven't had a hit since, like, Thursday.

Cubs 1, Astros 0

Second inning

Geovany Soto strikes out swinging. Jim Edmonds gets ahold of one deep to right but Hunter Pence grabs it with his back to the wall. I thought that was gone. Cedeno bounces out to end the top half of the second.

Lilly walks Berkman. Pence pops out to Lee in foul ground. Luis Castillo up, LIlly gets all sneaky and gets Berkman caught up between first and second. Rather than start a dramatic pickle, Berkman just gives up and is tagged out. Lilly strikes out Castillo to end the second.

Cubs 1, Astros 0

Third inning

Lilly nearly beats out an infield single to the second baseman. Probably should've just barreled over Berkman like he did to Yadier Molina. Soriano squibs one foul towards first and the slow roller goes right through the legs of first-base coach Matt Sinatro. Weak effort. Soriano then strikes out. Zambrano's personal Wac-A-Mole, Mike Fontenot, strikes out.

Lilly fans Darin Erstad and the Cubs clearly on the way to two straight no-hitters. Humberto Quintero tries to check his swing and he's gone, too. The pitcher Moehler falls behind 0-2 before Lilly tosses him three straight balls to fill up the count. Moehler hits a high chopper to Ramirez, who fields it but then makes a low throw to Lee, who as usual picks it out of the dirt.

Cubs 1, Astros 0

Fourth inning

Lee strikes out swinging. Ramirez breaks his bat blooping out to Tejada. Hoffpauir bounces out to first and, hey, kids, don't miss Len Kasper on XRT tonight at 8 p.m. spinning the platters that matter. I heard him this morning but I was in the other room. He said something about the Eagles. Not sure if he said he'll be playing the Eagles or hopefully that the Eagles should never be played ever in any setting except an exception will be made for "Take it Easy" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling."

Abercrombie grounds out to second and I hear Ned Yost has been fired as Brewers manager. Seriously. I blame Zambrano. Loretta pops out to Fontenot. Tejada rips one to left. Soriano goes back and makes a leaping sno-cone catch to end the fourth.

Cubs 1, Astros 0

Fifth inning

Soto grounds one in the hole at short. Tejada makes a back-handed play on the outfield grass and throws a lollipop across his body and across the infield that reaches Berkman on the money to get the lumbering catcher. Great play.

Edmonds goes deep the other way and this one gets out.

Do they let a Cubs fan in cargo shorts and flip-flops slide down Bernie the Brewers' slide. I guess they don't even do that anymore. Wouldn't want to encourage people to drink at a baseball game in a city famous for making beer. No, that would be wrong. Now the emasculated Bernie just waves a flag now, right? Cedeno pops out. Lilly rips a single to right. Soriano's forces Lilly at second with the ol' fielder's choice.

Cubs 2, Astros 0

Berkman lines out to Ramirez and to all Eagles fans out there, if I've offended you, I apologize. But "Ooooh, ooh, Wit-chay Woman"? C'mon now. Lilly retires Pence but I'm not sure how. The picture on the TV froze and next thing you know, there are two outs. Pence popped out. Lilly gets two strikes on Castillo and nearly drills him and then misses on a big curve. Lilly gets him with the next pitch and the Astros may never get another hit again ever.

Cubs 2, Astros 0

Sixth inning


Fontenot draws a walk.


Lee rips one to left that bounces off the top of the wall and out for a two-run homer.

That left the yard in a hurry. Ramirez singles to left and that's it for Moehler. Please take this opportunity to enjoy this pitching change

. Lefty Tim Byrdak is the new pitcher and he gets pinch hitter Reed Johnson to fly out. Here's Cecil Cooper again, playing the matchups, to yank Byrdak after about a two-minute day at the office. Righty Chris Sampson in to face Soto.

Soto yanks one inside the left-field foul pole that got out like it was riding shotgun in Joe Walsh's Maserati.

It's now 6-0 Milwaukee Cubs. Edmonds walks. Cedeno flies out to center and Lilly gets a nice hand as he steps to the plate. Lilly flies out to shallow left to end the four-run sixth.

Cubs 6, Astros 0

One pitch, one out, one love: Erstad grounds out to Fontenot. Quintero fouls one off his front and he's down and might not get up. Replays show it went right off his knee cap. Not good. He's out. The ageless/aged Brad Ausmus will take over and inherit a 0-2 count (hey, thanks!). Ausmus takes a borderline ball and then lines one to center where Edmonds makes a great diving catch to keep the no-hitter alive. Lilly's excited. Mark "Bob" Saccomanno hits in the pitcher's spot. Lilly strikes him out with a high fastball.

Cubs 6, Astros 0

Seventh inning

Doug Brocail is the new pitcher. Ausmus stays in to catch. Soriano strikes out. Fontenot flies out to left. Lee, who's driven in two runs this game with this that and the other, falls behind 0-2. And then takes a called third strike. We stretch.

Abercrombie hits it to third. It goes off Ramirez's glove, bounces high in the air, Cedeno bare-hands it but the throw to first is late. It is ruled ... an error and the crowd goes wild. Somewhere Ned Yost is steaming about that CC Sabathia call. Actually, at this point, he probably doesn't care. Tough call. Probably an error. It was hit hard, but Ramirez went down on one knee and tried to back-hand it. And nearly an incredible play by Cedeno backing up that probably would've worked had there been a slow runner. Loretta singles to right and so much for all that. Nice hand for Lilly but we move on. Brenly thinks they need to get someone up in the pen. It's true. You know, guy loses the no-hitter and then the wheels, the doors and the steering wheel fall off. Carlos Marmol gets up. Lilly strikes out Tejada. Berkman sends it deep to right, where Johnson, who entered the game to play right after he pinch hit, catches it. Abercrombie tags and takes third. Two-and-2 to Pence and Lilly drops a curve in there for strike three.

Cubs 6, Astros 0

Eighth inning

Hey, LaTroy Hawkins enters the fray! Ramirez grounds out. Johnson takes a called third strike. Soto grounds out to Tejada and Hawkins goes 1-2-3 against his former blokes.

Jeff Smardzija will pitch the eighth for the Cubs. Castillo grounds out to second. Erstad draws a walk. Ausmus walks and now all hell has broken loose -- I mean, it's double switch time. Lou Piniella has no idea which bullpen his pitchers are in. He find the correct one and brings in Marmol. Also the Astros will hit for Hawkins with a man named David Newhan. Mark DeRosa in to play right. I apologize to Lou; he was pointing to Reed Johnson in right to get him out of there, not the bullpen. DeRosa will hit ninth. With Newhan up, Marmols' pitch gets by Soto and both runners move up. To refresh: second and third with one out.

Newhan hits one in the right-field gap that DeRosa runs down, but Erstad tags and scores.

Geoff Blum takes a called third strike to end the eighth.

Cubs 6, Astros 1

Newhan takes over in left, Erstad moves to center and Abercrombie takes a seat. Lefty Wesley Wright is the new pitcher. Edmonds takes a called third strike. Cedeno bloops out to the second baseman. DeRosa pops out to third and Bob Howry will pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Cubs.

The count goes to 2-2 and Loretta ducks out of the way of a fastball near his head. He hits one deep to right but DeRosa grabs it near the track. Tejada grounds out and there's a guy in a bear suit with a Cubs jersey on sitting in the crowd. I wonder if it's

. Berkman pops up foul down the left field line. Ramirez, Soriano and Cedeno all get there, exchange glances and watch the ball fall between them. The guy in the bear suit can't believe it and covers his eyeholes with his big furry paws. Berkman flies out to center and the bear suit rejoices.

Final: Cubs 6, Astros 1

So there you have it, folks. Cubs win, take two from the Astros and will come back to Wrigley to play the mangerless and rudderless Brewers for three games. We'll see you Thursday. Until then, enjoy The Eagles. Take it easy.