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Dave Jinxed It

After the fifth inning today, with no hits, Jeff & I looked at each other and we both knew what the other was thinking. If we were going to lose -- and it was pretty clear we were -- why not have a no-hitter to generate some excitement?

Then Dave mentioned the magic words that you're not supposed to -- "no-hitter" -- and poof! it was gone, with Kenny Lofton's 2-run homer.

Yeah, I know this is all superstition. But baseball is full of them, and it's part of the charm and lore of the game, and I wish he hadn't said that, given the fact that the Giants went on to beat the Cubs 6-2.

This team is maddening. No consistency. One day after Matt Clement throws the game of his life, Kerry Wood goes out and does exactly what he did in his last start -- get himself into trouble, this time with walks, and then he lost his focus for one batter, Edgardo Alfonzo, and poof! (there's that word again) it's 4-0 Giants.

Lofton hit his first HR with the Cubs, but he also very badly misplaed a line drive hit right at him by Andres Galarraga with two out in the 8th. He broke the wrong way and the ball flew over his head for an RBI double. Then he came up in the bottom of the 8th with a runner on and popped up on the first pitch. This is not the way to play winning baseball.

Aramis Ramirez did have his first RBI as a Cub, a consolation sac fly in the 9th. But here's the value of defense: in the decisive 2nd inning, a ball was hit right at him with a man on 1st and nobody out. Most major league third basemen would have turned a sharply hit ball like that into at least one out, and maybe a DP, and Wood would have gotten out of the inning when he struck out Benito Santiago. But Ramirez misplayed it, not badly enough to get charged with an error (it went for an infield hit for Galarraga), and that's about when Wood started to lose focus. He does this often when something goes wrong in the field behind him. I say it's about time for Kerry to grow up and become the staff ace we've been expecting him to be for three years now. He did strike out nine, but so what if you lose.

Antonio Alfonseca, who was probably being showcased for a trade, probably took himself out of consideration with another terrible outing, 28 pitches of agony, including two walks; at one point he threw seven consecutive balls, and left to an enormous chorus of boos.

I should mention, since I've been on the case of him being worthless, that Paul Bako walked twice and scored a run, which is pretty good production from the catcher's spot these days.

I missed BP since I was at work till 12, but when I got there nearly everyone I talked to was raving about the show Barry Bonds put on, skying several balls out onto the street, including one that broke a third-floor window across the street, a shot that must have been at least 520 feet.

In other news today, the Cubs reacquired Doug Glanville, a former #1 pick, from the Texas Rangers, in exchange for Jason Fransz, who is having a decent season at Lansing. Glanville's not a great player and unfortunately, he fits the current Cub mold of don't walk and strike out a lot, but he's better than "Really-Bad" Hubbard, who will no doubt be sent back to Iowa, never to be seen again. I wish I could say it would have promoted the release of Lenny Harris or Troy O'Leary, both of whom struck out as pinch-hitters today (and that makes Harris 3-for-31 as a PH, which is truly awful), but I think these guys are both Dusty's pets, and we're stuck with them for the season.

Still, just as there was over the weekend, there's still the chance tomorrow, with Carlos Zambrano going, to win this series (and win the season series over the Giants, too), and that's all you can ask. Two of three for a period of a few weeks would keep the club right there with the Astros and Cardinals. The Astros lost Roy Oswalt to the DL again, as he hurt the same groin muscle that put him out for a while a month or so ago. As I said yesterday, I hate seeing players hurt, but I'm not sorry the Astros are without their best pitcher for a while.

Tomorrow, incidentally, there is an event at my daughter Rachel's summer camp that is scheduled for 2 pm, so I will miss my fourth game of the season. I'll try to catch the end of it, and report afterwards anyway.

Off to watch the Braves/Astros on ESPN tonight -- and to be a big Braves (and Expos, too) fan for another day.