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Prior! Part Deux

Today was Carole's last ballgame as a single woman.

That's not really important, but it was something we all took note of; she and Ernie are getting married next Friday (yes, it was specifically planned to be when the Cubs are on the road), and she won't be at the ballpark this weekend.

So she had one picture left in her camera and took a pic with Howard, me, Dave and Jeff, just one last memory before married life begins.

Oh, by the way, Mark Prior was dominant for the second straight start against the Dodgers, and the Cubs scored just enough for an exciting 2-1 win, moving into a first-place tie with the Astros and Cardinals, pending the results of their games tonight against the Reds and Phillies, respectively.

Prior didn't have his best stuff -- he didn't walk anyone, but in the middle innings he threw a lot of pitches and went to full counts before getting people to pop up. This to me, shows what a horse Prior is, that he's able to win without his best stuff. And with Joe Borowski having thrown 21 pitches yesterday -- wasted, in my opinion, in a 7-1 win -- he wasn't available on what was probably the most humid day of the summer (82 degrees at game time, but very sticky, and it felt hotter than July 4, which was the only day this summer that it's actually been over 90 degrees at game time). Dave Veres and Mike Remlinger were warming up in the top of the 8th when Prior got in trouble and the only Dodger run scored on a hit batter and a couple of dink singles (there was an error on Moises Alou when he overran Paul LoDuca's hit, but the error only allowed Dave Roberts to take third, the run would have scored anyway). But the relievers sat down as the Cubs batted in the bottom of the 8th, and once again, I know many people are going to be upset that Prior threw 118 pitches, but he has shown he can handle this kind of workload.

And just when you think Sammy Sosa's been so quiet since he hasn't homered since last Sunday, he had three hits today and drove in both Cub runs.

Jessica brought her nephew today -- he's been to the park before -- and one of the Cubs threw him a batting practice ball, which pretty much made his entire day. She was just happy she wasn't home in New York yesterday, with the chaos from the blackout. According to the ESPN scoreboard the games in New York and Cleveland are still on today.

Dave said that driving in, he listened to the pregame show and they said that MLB has timed all starting pitchers and right near the top of the list of slowest pitchers is Matt Clement. After yesterday I believe that because today's game ended at the same clock time (about 4:55 pm) as yesterday's, despite starting an hour later. Tomorrow, incidentally, despite what your schedule may say, the game is at 12:15 CT, on Fox-TV, instead of the 3:05 that some schedules say.

In other news today, the Cubs sent Bobby Hill to the Pirates as the PTBNL in the Lofton/Ramirez deal. I am of two minds here: Hill has obvious talent, but he has not shown it consistently at the major league level. He will be 26 next April, older than Ramirez. I'd say it's a 50-50 chance that he'll be an All-Star -- or a mediocre utility player. If Aramis Ramirez turns out to be the real deal, it's still a good trade, and if the Cubs make the playoffs as a result of having him and Kenny Lofton, it's worth it in any case.

The Cubs also called up David Kelton to replace Juan Cruz on the roster. This move is probably just for the weekend, as it appears that Tom Goodwin will be ready once the road trip begins in Houston on Tuesday.