Slogging On Forever

Man, I hope this isn't what we have to look forward to in the regular season.

Oh, don't get me wrong. The Cubs won again today, 9-8 over the A's at Mesa, their third win in a row, evening the spring record.

It's the length of the game that worries me. I even had to go out for an hour and a half, to pick up Rachel at school and take her to the dentist (parent duty that should not be envied -- you can imagine the complaints!), and when I got back the damn thing was still only in the 7th inning!

Three hours and twenty-three minutes is not my idea of a good baseball game. At least it had an exciting ending, with pinch-runner Charles Thomas thrown out at the plate to end the game.

At least there was some action. Players who should comprise most of the starting lineup this season had sixteen hits today, including two doubles, a triple, and Alfonso Soriano's first HR of the spring. Carlos Zambrano even had two at-bats, highly unusual for a pitcher in the spring, but with the Cubs scoring five times in his scheduled three innings, his turn came up twice. He went 0-for-2, and didn't throw that well, either; he walked three and gave up three hits and two runs.

Actually, no one pitched all that well today, except Will Ohman, who worked a scoreless eighth inning. Roberto Novoa, who I am hoping perhaps beyond hope will be traded before Opening Day, was the worst of 'em, facing four batters and retiring one of them, allowing the A's to tie the game. His spring ERA now reads 81.00. Actually, I'm not going to blame Novoa completely -- two of the runs scored after he had left the game, on a hit off Clay Rapada, who the A's junior-high announcer said was a "righthander". Guess he didn't look up from his microphone to actually see Rapada in the game.

Again, the attendance was a bit off what has become "normal" for Cub spring training -- 8,411, about 3/4 capacity. Part of that is that it's early in the spring and the second half of the month is when more people, spring breakers, etc. are in Arizona, and part of it is that today's Wednesday.

Ryan Theriot got the start at SS today and was involved in one double play, and also drew a walk in his three plate appearances. I hope this decent-enough day prompts Lou Piniella to start him again -- and not just at SS, but maybe at other positions, maybe even in the outfield; perhaps he could turn into a Ryan Freel-like supersub.

Bob Howry finished up for the save, but even he struggled, giving up a couple of hits before closing it out.

I hate long games. Maybe tomorrow will be shorter. Wade Miller will face the Padres at Peoria.

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