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Just When I Thought It Was Time To Give Up

Gosh, this team is much more resilient than I gave it credit for. After two depressing, bad losses at home to the Phillies, the Cubs started out this road trip in poor fashion, giving up three unearned runs in the first inning, after a two-out error by Aramis Ramirez. Well, we were warned.

And Wade Miller was throwing well for Houston. And it appeared the Cubs were going to go 6 1/2 games behind.

But then Dusty Baker decided to let Carlos Zambrano hit for himself in the seventh (see below post for the reasons). And Carlos hit a two-run homer, tying the game. And this was no wimpy Minute Maid Park homer -- it landed well back in the right-field seats. One inning later, ex-Astro Moises Alou gave the Cubs the lead and they hung on for a hard-earned 5-3 win.

Just when it all seemed wrong, everything went right. Even Paul Bako had two hits tonight.

This is a very odd Cub team. Most Cub teams play well at home and in their best years, break even on the road. THIS Cub team has played pretty poorly at home, now three games under at 24-27, but after this win are now 27-24 on the road, and beat a Houston team that was 32-18 at home coming into the game, and is now 3-1 in Houston this year. The club has 60 games left and 30 of them are at home and 30 on the road, so they had better learn how to win at home pretty soon. You'd think this team, with Alou, Sosa and Ramirez now providing some power, would be well-suited to Wrigley Field. Perhaps it's because they have quite a few fly-ball pitchers and have allowed 47 HR with a 4.39 ERA at home, with only a 3.76 ERA on the road (though more HR on the road, 52).

The fact that Troy O'Leary and Hee Seop Choi both sat on the bench while Carlos Zambrano hit a home run tonight, points out the glaring failures of the Cub bench, and the desperate need for another left-handed pinch hitter. I mentioned the Brewers' John Vander Wal and the Pirates' Matt Stairs, both of whom could be had for the right price. There are still six days till the trading deadline, Jim Hendry. Let's get busy.

In other news, Al-Master was busy today attempting to exchange two tickets for Jessica, for a game she had in early August, for a game later in August. Through two complicated transactions, I can report success in this endeavor. Spent part of the day reading more of the Ben Franklin biography, too. At one point the author prints almost a full page of Franklin's famous "maxims" (many of which, he points out, were cribbed from or changed from other, earlier aphorisms).

I think "Diligence is the mother of good luck" applies to the Cubs' situation today. Old Ben knew what he was talking about.