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Let's Talk Baseball

With all the hoopla around the Sammy Sosa incident, and the hype likely to now start about the Yankees coming to town tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to focus on baseball only (OK, with a couple of sidelights) in discussing today's easy 8-1 win over the Devil Rays.

Matt Clement started out shaky, but the defense bailed him out with a couple of early double plays and he got into a really nice rhythm, winding up throwing only 95 pitches in seven strong innings. I wasn't really in favor of allowing Joe Borowski to pitch the ninth, since closers often don't wind up throwing well in non-save situations. But maybe Joe hasn't been a closer long enough to get into this mentality; he threw only 11 pitches and so should be ready for the weekend.

Corey Patterson looked like he might have a shot at the cycle, doubling and tripling in his first two at-bats, but that's all he got, and the Devil Rays, looking like the young, inexperienced team that they are, threw a couple of balls away and that's what the Cubs needed for their game-breaking seven-run rally in the third inning. Only three of the eight runs were earned, and that's largely because of Tampa Bay 3B Jason Smith (remember him? He's the guy the Cubs sent there in exchange for Fred McGriff), who air-mailed a throw about 15 feet over Aubrey Huff's head at first base.

The Cubs hadn't had more than a one-run lead since a week ago yesterday, and this is the first more-than-one-run win since May 25 at Houston, and all of that is welcome news with the Yankees coming to town -- not because of the hype, but because they're a good team, and the club is going to have to play good ball to beat them; the Yankees rarely beat themselves.

Brian got tickets from Al Levine today so he sat in the box seats and Al threw two good innings. Amazing that the Cardinals, who need bullpen help, let him go at the end of spring training. Dave told us that the Cardinal organization treated Al really poorly. I'd imagine there could be a couple contenders that could use a good middle reliever like that.

Stupid marketing tricks: Bullfrog Sunblock is one of the Cub sponsors, and they will put up the UV rating and temperature on the message board before games.

Or more correctly, before night games. It's truly laughable to hear Paul Friedman announce every day that the UV rating is "low" for a night game. Not once have they actually given this information when it's been sunny -- and today was one of the few really nice days we've had so far this year.

Now -- on to the hypefest tomorrow!