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Late Night With The Cubs

You know, I swore I'd copy to clipboard before I posted, and once again, the Blogger software swallowed my post before I posted. So I begin again...

I work mornings. VERY early mornings, rising at 3:30 am. So when the Cubs play on the West Coast, starting at 9 pm or so Chicago time, I don't get to see the end of many games. Last night I went to sleep when the Cubs were tied 1-1, so I was pleasantly surprised to awaken and find that they had completed a very nicely played 4-2 win over the NL West-leading Giants at Pac Bell Park.

This could easily have turned into a sideshow, with the media-hyped return of Dusty Baker to the scene of his ten successful years as manager, but the Cubs approached it very professionally, and the game even had some hints of a playoff atmosphere, with the large crowd and as I mentioned, the media attention. Moises Alou, also the subject of attention since his dad is now Giants manager, homered to put the exclamation point on the win.

Many of my friends have been critical of the decision to start Eric Karros, but he's now hitting .294 with seven walks in his starts, and there was a lefty (Kirk Rueter) on the mound. If Dusty doesn't sit Hee Seop Choi too often, this could be a productive platoon arrangement. Current stats for Cub first basemen:
 
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBA SLG
89 19 24 4 0 6 15 24 21 .270 .425 .517

I'd take that (proportionally) for a whole season, wouldn't you?

It's always good to win the first game of a road series, because now they only have to split the last two games to win the series. And with Matt Clement and Mark Prior pitching those games, there's a fair chance of a sweep, but even a split would win the series and give a .500 road trip, which is all you can ask -- you can win championships by playing .500 on the road and beating up on your opponents at home. That's what a great pitching staff can do for you.

It is still very early, but I like what I see.