Last night was yet another game I had to shut off in the fourth inning -- not because I didn't want to watch, but because if I stay up that late, I won't be able to function at work -- and I had a feeling that the Cubs wouldn't be able to come back, even from only being down 1-0, just as the night before I was confident they'd keep their lead.
Right again, unfortunately, and you can't really complain too much about the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Giants. Oh, sure, you could say that Geovany Soto shouldn't have thrown through in the first inning when the Giants perfectly executed a double steal, leading to their first (and ultimately, decisive) run scored by Fred Lewis, but the bottom line is that the Cubs got beat by a pretty good pitcher who had a dominant game last night.
Seeing Matt Cain mow Cubs down makes me wonder why he's only 5-6; poor run support must be most of the reason, but last night Cain was almost unhittable. With the score 2-0 in the 7th, Jim Edmonds tried to give the Cubs the lead with what looked like it might be a HR, but Aaron Rowand snuffed that with a good catch, and then in the 8th, Jose Castillo -- who the Giants "settled" for to play 3B after they couldn't make a deal for the White Sox' Joe Crede -- made a nifty diving stop of a Mark DeRosa grounder that seemed headed to left field, ending that inning.
So by the time Giants closer Brian Wilson -- figures, a California team would have a closer with the same name as a member of the Beach Boys -- came in and gave the Cubs a consolation run when Derrek Lee led off with a triple and was singled in by Soto, it was too late. Wilson struck out Ryan Theriot to end the game, thus wasting one of Jason Marquis' better efforts of the year -- seven innings, four hits and two runs allowed. Fortunately, the Mets decided to actually win last night against the Cardinals, so for the second day in a row, there was no change in the Cubs' 2.5 game lead in the NL Central, and they maintain the best record in the National League. Yeah, I know: apart from the Cardinals and Brewers, that isn't saying much; the Giants "improved" to ten games under .500 at 37-47, and at five games out of first place they may still be in playoff contention in the NL West, a joke of a division with Arizona leading with a .500 record.
What I was most interested in reading this morning was Gordon Wittenmyer's notes column in the Sun-Times, detailing this upcoming lineup change for when Alfonso Soriano returns:
When Soriano returns to the Cubs' leadoff spot, manager Lou Piniella said he plans to use Kosuke Fukudome in the 2-hole against right-handed pitchers, with Jim Edmonds batting in Fukudome's old No. 5 spot.
That would put Ryan Theriot at No. 8 in those lineups and possibly batting in his accustomed No. 2 spot against some lefties, with Geovany Soto or Mark DeRosa considerations for the 5 spot.
All subject to change.
Let's hear it for Lou, who appears to have finally figured out the best slot for Fukudome -- second. The same column says that Soriano may be cleared to start taking BP this weekend. If that holds and goes well, my guess is that he'll be sent on a short (maybe 3 days) rehab assignment and possibly be ready to play against the Giants at Wrigley Field starting on July 11.
Finally, Tim, who is one of the LF bleacher season ticket holders, sent me this YouTube link, a home video shot of the fight in section 536 at the Cell on Saturday:Here's the whole scoop on how this fight got started:
Doesn't sound like the brawling in the stands at Saturday's Cubs-White Sox game had much to do with Cubs against the Sox.
According to Tom Lamb, head of security at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox don't know what precipitated the brawl, but apparently some money fell out of the purse of a woman, and another fan picked it up and refused to give it back. That led to several fans punching the alleged offender. Video of the action showed a Cubs fan joining in on the same side as some White Sox fans.
The man, Brian Nolan of Woodridge, was charged with theft and taken to district headquarters at 35th and Lowe Avenue and then to the First District lockup, according to a police source. He was released Saturday night on an I-bond.
"He got thumped pretty good," Lamb said. "He did admit that he picked up the money that fell out of the purse, and said he didn't have to give it back."
Rivalries... ain't they great? Let's get those Giants tonight.