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Controlling Yourself

If Kerry Wood is ever going to become the #1, dominant, Roger Clemens/Nolan Ryan-type starter that we've all expected him to be since his stellar rookie season... he is simply going to have to stop letting umpiring calls get to him.

This is happening with alarming frequency. I didn't see this, since I had to sleep last night, but apparently Wood took it far enough to start having words with plate umpire Larry Vanover, who took off his mask to talk to Kerry, and then Kerry told him to "put that mask back on".

It's not only childish, but counterproductive. Everyone knows, though umpires will never admit it because they're supposed to just call everything by the book and not play favorites, that umpires do play favorites. It's why Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine used to get the strike calls on balls that were a foot outside -- now with the QuesTec system, umpires can't do that.

But if you have a reputation as someone who constantly bitches about ball and strike calls -- and sadly, Kerry Wood has been doing that -- what do you think is going to happen? Of course, the borderline calls are going to go against you.

Luckily, Kerry got his composure back before he either got tossed or blew up and blew the 3-0 lead, and even though he allowed two runs, he did strike out ten and the bullpen finished up well.

Now, the Cubs have a chance for their first sweep of the season. That sounds odd in a year where they've been over .500 for all but a few days last month, but this has been a year where there has been neither a very long winning streak, nor very long losing streak. I've been saying for a while that if the starting pitching could keep throwing the way they have, this club could reel off six or eight in a row, and it may be not far off -- this win now makes seven of the last ten, and the only game in those ten (starting with the Houston series the last weekend of July) where the pitching really broke down, was the middle game of the Giants series.

Carlos Zambrano throws against Kevin Jarvis today in a game that begins at 2:05 PDT, so by the time it's over, hopefully with a win, the Astros and Cardinals, playing night games, will already know the result. I remain optimistic.