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Baseball With Breakfast

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- If you live on the US West Coast, you're used to this, at least when a game starts in the early afternoon in the Eastern time zone.

But this is a first for me -- Arizona doesn't go on Daylight Saving Time so now it's the same time here as it is on Pacific Daylight Time.

And so it was that today's 5-3 Cub loss to the Reds was one I got to see at breakfast time. OK, so I don't really eat breakfast, not with the hours I usually work (and how weird it's going to be going back to work after three weeks off. I've gotten almost used to this retirement lifestyle!), and besides I never really liked the typical breakfast foods, and especially now that I've gone low-carb, that stuff is way off my list. It started at 9:30 am Arizona time.

And before most people out here had a sip of coffee (yet another breakfast-time thing I won't touch) the Cubs were down 2-0.

Matt Clement, unfortunately, has continued where he left off in spring training. He was all over the place today, couldn't seem to throw strikes and threw 85 pitches in what was a really poor four innings of work, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. Oh, and there was a wild pitch too.

Meanwhile, the Dusty Baker-aggressive-hitting Cubs were swinging at just about every first pitch they could get their bats on, with predictable results. Sammy Sosa was about the only one who could solve Jose (or was that Juan? I can never tell those guys apart) Acevedo, with two doubles and his first homer of the season, the 540th of his career. He needs two more to pass Ernie Banks for the club record of 512 (Sosa hit 28 homers as a member of the White Sox and one as a Texas Ranger, so he now has 511 as a Cub) -- maybe he'll save that for the upcoming homestand.

On the other hand, about the only one apart from Sammy who's been hitting is Mark Grudzielanek, and of course, he was benched today. Yes, Dusty, you have to get Todd Walker some at-bats, but at the cost of someone who's hot sitting down for a day? Predictably again, Grudz came up to pinch-hit and got a hit, and is now 6-for-10 on the young season.

The bullpen did a decent job again, throwing four innings of three-hit, one-run ball and at least keeping the game close, but this offense, which we all thought would be improved, has simply not hit well so far.

Three games don't make a season and we should absolutely not panic. Keep in mind that the team everyone figured would be the Cubs' closest competition, the Astros, also lost two of their first three and the Cardinals are also on the verge of doing the same (losing 10-4 at this writing).

But the Reds are a team the Cubs handled pretty well last year and this month, with lots of games against them, and the Pirates, and the Mets, should be a month for the Cubs to put some wins up.

Well, enough. It's time for the Cubs to head to Atlanta and time for me to head back to Chicago. And I'm going to go and sit in the 80-degree sunshine for a little while before I go, since the next time it'll be 80 degrees in Chicago is probably June.