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Better Never Than Late

Phil, Brian and Howard all got caught in traffic today, and by the time they got there (and I had to meet Phil downstairs with his ticket), they might as well have turned around and gone home, because the brutal 12-3 loss to the White Sox today was pretty much over after the first inning. I've rarely seen a pitcher with less than Shawn Estes had today; he threw 52 pitches in that first inning and even so, might have settled down if he hadn't hung a curveball to Miguel Olivo with the bases loaded.

With the game pretty much out of hand, the Sox fans couldn't even do too much taunting; there was one shrill-voiced female Sox fan a couple rows in front of us who screeched every time one of her "heroes" was even announced, and someone else wearing a Konerko jersey kept holding up a sign that said "Sammy: Embarrassment to Chicago", but otherwise, the Sox fans were pretty calm. So it came down to people-watching, which was easy to do on this, probably the nicest weather day we've had so far for baseball this year in Chicago. There was a large group of really idiotic people wearing IHOP hats and gold chains with dollar signs on them, who claim they pick one game a year to come to, and this was it.

Good. They pretty much kept walking back and forth, blocking the aisle and leaning on our backrest all day (and security couldn't handle the numbers of them doing this), not watching the game. They didn't seem too drunk, but they could have bought cheaper beer and not had to pay $30 to get in, if they'd just stayed across the street, which is where they finally wound up in about the seventh inning. The game had an ethereal quality about it after the second, when it was 8-1; it was almost as if the two teams were playing separate games, and would just report their individual scores afterwards.

Dusty managed it like a spring training game, too, replacing everyone except Sosa and Martinez, and by the time he finished he'd used the entire bullpen except for Alfonseca, which meant Mark Prior wound up batting for Joe Borowski in the bottom of the 9th (he struck out -- but I can just hear Prior saying the whole game to Dusty: "Can I bat? Huh? Can I?").

Other random stat notes: Carlos Lee, who's hit the Cubs like heck at Wrigley Field, was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI, and that wasn't even close to the biggest hitting day they had.

The Cubs almost outhit the Sox -- 10 hits to 11. The Sox drew nine walks off Estes and Wellemeyer; after the fourth the bullpen pretty much shut them down, giving up only three hits.

Jose Hernandez batted twice and only struck out once -- it was his 96th K of the year. Now that he's a Cub, I suppose we'll get to see him break Bobby Bonds' 33-year-old strikeout record, which he would have broken last year if Jerry Royster hadn't wimped out and benched him for a week. The trade is ridiculous -- Hernandez is having a poor year, and the Cubs already have too many guys who strike out. Maybe this spells the end for Lenny Harris, though.

Kyle Farnsworth got huge cheers upon warming up in the bullpen, for his role in the brawl yesterday. Say, if the pitching gig doesn't work out maybe he'll line up next to Brian Urlacher this fall.

Mike said to me last week that the Sox would come in playing like wounded animals, and he was right. Matt Clement will have to have his "A" game on tomorrow, to stop this thing in its tracks.