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Oh, Well.

In 1998, for the last 45 days of the season, there was no more than one game separating the first- and second- place teams in the wild card race, which the Cubs wound up winning.

This may turn out to be the same thing. At least in today's sweaty 3 hour sixteen minute marathon, there was some action, unlike Thursday's Cubs-Astros snorefest. Unfortunately, after the third inning it was all Dodgers, in a 10-5 blowout of the Cubs that put them back in second place by 1/2 game after Houston's 5-2 win over the Reds this afternoon.

Listening to Dusty Baker's postgame news conference on the radio driving home, he mentioned that Kerry Wood was suffering some kind of lower back problems that were screwing around with his control. That was painfully obvious as he walked the first batter in each of the first three innings, and threw 72 pitches in his shortest outing since September 26, 2000. Let us hope that this is only a temporary physical problem and won't affect him in his next start, which will be next Thursday at Houston.

Even with the bad outing by Kerry, the Cubs had gotten back into the game thanks to Aramis Ramirez, who hit a pair of two-run homers. The bullpen failed today -- or, I should say, Mike Remlinger failed. After finishing off the third inning with a harmless ground out, he gave up four consecutive hits to open the fourth. Adrian Beltre attempted to ground into a double play after two runs had already scored, but Ramon Martinez inexplicably failed to tag Shawn Green, who was right in front of him. As it turned out, the run would have scored anyway, but it was still an odd play. It seems silly to think that Augie Ojeda is responsible for the winning streak just ended, but the Cubs are 5-1 with Augie in the starting lineup, and he did make a gem of a defensive play yesterday that saved two runs.

Antonio Alfonseca actually threw three creditable innings, keeping the Cubs somewhat in the game, though the offense shut down with only four harmless singles after the third. Embarrassingly, that is only the second time all year the Dodgers have scored ten or more runs, the other being, oddly enough, a 16-4 bombing of the Giants on April 20.

I also cannot figure out why Dusty started Doug Glanville today. He simply cannot hit. Yes, he had a single (going 1-for-5, and now hitting .158 as a Cub), but it's not like Kenny Lofton is a raw rookie who needs to be platooned and not play against lefties. Unless there was some physical reason that Lofton couldn't play today, he should have been in the lineup.

In the 8th inning Jeromy Burnitz homered into the juniper bushes. Some idiot decided to climb over the fence and get the ball and throw it on the field. Security immediately brought him downstairs, but then let him back in , which instantly made him a hero.

Is it any wonder people act like idiots? They have learned that even if they do something like this -- which is clearly not allowed -- they'll get a little "talking-to" and then get let back in, to the cheers of the people sitting around them. In Yankee Stadium, where they do not even serve beer in the bleachers, if people do stuff like this they are asked to leave -- no questions, no pleading, no nothing.

I suppose the combination of the hot day, the one-sided game, and too much beer led to this, but really. I also saw one other guy led off in handcuffs by one of the plainclothes cops who are often called on when things get more serious. I didn't see what that guy did, but it must have been an arrestable offense, otherwise the cuffs wouldn't have been brought out.

The loudest cheers of the day were for the Thunderbirds, who apparently postponed their part of the airshow so they could entertain the Wrigley Field crowd around 3:30. Too bad about 2/3 of the announced 40,032 were gone by then, chased away by either the heat or the bad baseball or both.

Dave was there nodding off again by the seventh inning, and I can't say I blame him. But he's still encouraged by the way the club has played the last week. It's not possible to win every game, and if Carlos Zambrano (who's the hottest pitcher on the staff right now, 3-0 with a 1.96 ERA his last three starts) can outduel Hideo Nomo tomorrow, the Cubs will have won yet another series and be well-positioned for the tough road trip coming up afterwards.

And you know what Jeff said to me today before the game? "Let this be our year." Hey, my friend, you don't know how much. Amen.