Finally, A No-Brainer

For once, everything went right last night.

Yes, everything. I don't think any of us has a single thing we can complain about concerning the Cubs' impressive 10-1 blowout of the Mets, evening the four-game series at one win each.

Did I say everything? You bet. With the White Sox' rainout vs. the Yankees last night, Chicago-area viewers without access to CSN+ (via CLTV) were able to watch the game anyway, as CSN carried the Cubs game on both its channels.

And the Bulls not only won game five of their playoff series vs. Detroit, they blew them out, 108-92, giving at least some hope that they could accomplish what no NBA team ever has -- win a playoff series after being down three games to none. Incidentally, if you believe in superstitions, you'd better hope Ben Wallace keeps the full 'fro out for game six, because the Bulls' record is decidedly better when he does that instead of keeping his hair in braids:

87: Games played by Bulls center Ben Wallace, including playoffs

14-5 (74%): Bulls' record when Wallace wears the Afro * 11-1 at home * 3-4 on road

37-31 (54%): Bulls' record when Wallace wears the braids * 20-10 at home * 17-21 on road

4-0 (100%): Bulls' playoff record when the Afro is out * 3-0 at home * 1-0 on road

We were talking about baseball, though, weren't we?

The Cubs scored, in grand Chicago tradition, early and often. According to the Yahoo recap of the game, former Met Cliff Floyd gave his Cub teammates some tips about Mets starter John Maine:

Floyd said he was asked about Maine, his former teammate, in the Cubs' meeting and told his new club that the right-hander liked to rely on an effective heater. Chicago sure looked ready for it.
They were indeed ready. Every Cub who started the game (save Alfonso Soriano) got at least one hit, and everyone scored except for Cesar Izturis. Daryle Ward -- surely a better fill-in for Derrek Lee than the motley bunch who subbed last year -- had two more hits and played a surprisingly good game in the field; Floyd had two hits, starting in RF; and the proverbial "big blow" was struck by Aramis Ramirez, a grand slam into the second deck in left field, estimated at 450 feet. I've sat in that second deck at Shea -- that is a LONG way away! Mike Fontenot, just recalled, had his first major league hit, a ground-rule double, pinch-hitting for Ramirez. Don't worry, nothing's wrong with Aramis; it is, however, good once in a while to give some of your regulars a bit of time off. It's just that the Cubs haven't really had any opportunities to do so!

Alfonso Soriano, who might wind up batting second permanently (and this would put Ryan Theriot in the leadoff slot, a very good idea, and would give Soriano many more RBI opportunities), had another outfield assist last night, throwing out Shawn Green at the plate in the third inning. This gives Soriano five assists in 31 games. That's exactly as many as Juan Pierre had all year in 2006. My friend Rob, who runs the excellent Dodger/Angel blog 6-4-2, wondered just how bad Pierre was, both defensively and offensively. He asked me for my thoughts; the result is this guest post at 6-4-2.

And, Carlos Zambrano threw his best game of the year so far, going eight innings (actually, into the 9th, as Lou let him bat for himself in the top of the inning before removing him for Scott Eyre, who also needed the work to get himself back on track), allowing six hits and one run, and dropping his ERA by 0.70 to a still-too-high 5.13, but at least it's heading in the right direction.

Here's something I found odd -- with Fontenot's recall from Iowa, Rocky Cherry was optioned back there. This from a team that desperately needs bullpen help, and Mark DeRosa, the reason Fontenot, a middle infielder, was recalled, cannot play for several days due to the minor finger injury he suffered on Monday night.

So this move leaves both the bullpen and the bench depleted. Thankfully, with Z's good outing, the pen is mostly rested going into tonight's game.

To make room for Fontenot on the 40-man roster, Kerry Wood was moved to the 60-day DL. This is mostly a procedural move, but it also might be an admission that Wood won't pitch for quite some time.

Rich Hill tries to keep it going tonight against the Mets' Jorge Sosa, weather permitting, and this New York-area forecast says it may not:

Today: Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly after 2pm. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Increasing clouds, with a high near 81. Southwest wind between 14 and 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Tonight: Periods of showers and thunderstorms before 8pm, then a chance of showers between 8pm and 2am. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. Low around 55. West wind 8 to 14 mph becoming north. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

So, expect possible rain delays during tonight's game.
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