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One Down...

... seven to go.

Well, we can think optimistically now, can't we? After the Cubs decisively beat the Cardinals 7-4 last night, we can at least think about winning the seven remaining games between the two teams. After a tough series in Houston, the Cubs have now won 3 of their last four, and...

OK, I'm dreaming, I know, especially considering the Cubs' 11-40 record in St. Louis since 1996. But as so many of the players will tell you, they weren't part of that. And the newcomers did the job again last night, with Randall Simon and Aramis Ramirez homering in a six-run third inning that was over almost before you could blink, and Mark Prior dominated for eight innings, so much so that Dusty is considering holding him back a day in the rotation so he could start again Monday against the Cardinals at home, rather than Sunday against Milwaukee, something I think would be a very good idea.

It got nervous a bit in the ninth when Kenny Lofton dropped a fly ball and Jim Edmonds homered, and frankly, I was glad I nodded off and missed that; I woke up just in time to see the final out (I have a knack of doing that -- must be all these years of training watching games like this).

Of course it would be great to sweep the Cardinals, but I would settle for splitting the remaining two games. Let us hope that Kerry Wood's back and attitude problems are behind him and he throws one of his "A" games tonight. It's on ESPN, 6 PM CT, for those of you outside of the Chicago area.

So in addition to passing the Cardinals into second place, and remaining only half a game behind the Astros, who demolished the Dodgers 18-4 (and let's hope they ran through their weekly allotment of runs last night), suddenly, with LA's loss, and Philadelphia, Florida, and Arizona also losing last night, the Cubs find themselves this morning in a virtual tie with the D'backs for 3rd place in the wild card race, 1.5 games behind, and only one behind the Marlins and Phillies in the loss column. This could be the wildest September ever, with seven teams right now within 2.5 games of the wild card lead, and therefore ten of the 16 NL teams within 2.5 games of a playoff spot. Amazing.

In other baseball news that saddened me personally, the Yankees designated Jesse Orosco for assignment yesterday, a move that probably ends the career of the 46-year-old reliever.

Orosco is five months younger than I am; I saw his major league debut at Wrigley Field on Opening Day, 1979, when he was called in to register the last out, retiring Bill Buckner in a 10-6 Mets win over the Cubs. He's the last active player who's anywhere close to my age. You could see this coming, as he hadn't pitched well for either the Padres or the Yankees this season.

And to add insult to insult, the Yankees replaced Orosco on the roster with... former Cub Felix Heredia, who they just acquired from the Reds. Oh, the shame of it all.