Lazy Thursday

Stuff I found out today:

  • that I got a pretty good deal on the Prius I ordered, because one of the dealerships I visited this afternoon told me that they are now selling them for about $2000 OVER MSRP, and I was quoted a MSRP price.
  • that the Cubs are on the verge of mathematical elimination from the 2005 postseason, with Houston's 2-1 win over Pittsburgh this afternoon. Any Cub loss (which, of course, would be a Houston win) in the series this weekend, officially eliminates the Cubs.
  • Man, that Greg Maddux is something, isn't he?
Back against the wall, needing to win every one of his remaining starts this year to get to fifteen for the season for the eighteenth straight time, Maddux turned in perhaps his best performance of the season (the only other one that was even close was this July 10 win over the Marlins) -- a 78-pitch, four-hit (three singles and a double), four-strikeout masterpiece, that probably didn't have to be finished up by Ryan Dempster.

However, keep in mind that Maddux usually decides himself when he's going to come out of a game. I seriously doubt that if Maddux had told Dusty Baker that he wanted to continue, that Baker wouldn't have sent him out there to at least begin the ninth inning.

That notwithstanding, Dempster did finish up for his twenty-ninth save; Nomar Garciaparra made a slick play at third base to end the game after Dempster had walked Rickie Weeks with two out. Maddux' 318th win ties him with Phil Niekro for fifteenth place on the all-time list. Next up, which will be next season: Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, tied at 324.

Michael Barrett hit his thirtieth double of the season today, and Neifi also had a double, and I hadn't realized till I saw the boxscore that Neifi has had thirty-two doubles this season. What's most interesting about that is that with 32 doubles, a triple and nine home runs, he still has a SLG of only .390. That's pretty pathetic, as is scoring only 56 runs despite having over 530 at-bats and hitting leadoff or second in most of his appearances.

Neifi's not a bad player. He's just not a very good player and though he could serve a purpose on the 2006 Cubs, it should NOT be as an everyday player. As a backup infielder, defensive replacement, occasional pinch-hitter and pinch-runner, maybe having about 200 at-bats, I would definitely bring him back.

Speaking of extra-base hits, Derrek Lee hasn't had one since Sunday, so he still needs six in the remaining nine games to get to an even 100 for the season. Of the 94 he has, 48 have come at home, 46 on the road.

So, tomorrow the Astros come into Chicago with other things on their mind besides baseball -- many of their players and staff have already brought their families outside of Texas in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Rita, including many who will have their families join them in Chicago. Astros closer Brad Lidge summed it up:

Once they start the game my focus is on baseball. But the moment I left the clubhouse and the moment I came back, I'm looking at the Weather Channel or CNN, looking at the hurricane. Obviously, a lot of guys on the team have family there. There's a great deal of concern because it's a very powerful storm.

So there will be things other than baseball on everyone's mind tomorrow -- yes, baseball is important to those playing it, and those of us who follow it, but let us not lose focus on what is important in life -- families, keeping families together and safe, and hoping that this hurricane won't be as severe as Katrina. From here, my thoughts and wishes are with the people of south Texas.

Till tomorrow.

UPDATE [2005-9-22 19:07:30 by Al]: I can't believe I did this, but I forgot to post the usual link to a web game recap in this post. So, click here for the details of the Cubs' 3-0 shutout win over the Brewers!

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