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Sixth Sense

No, I don't see dead people.

Though, I do see that Todd Wellemeyer pitched in last night's 7-3 Cub loss to the Dodgers, so that either means he's been restored from the dead, or he's still actually alive, though you wouldn't believe that from his game log (only three appearances in the last 19 games). Remind me again why the Cubs need a 12-man pitching staff?

The sixth sense I am talking about is in regard to my feeling about last night's game. I knew I wouldn't be able to see the end of the game, and I kept nodding off in the first couple of innings. I actually did miss the Cubs scoring their first run and taking a short-lived 1-0 lead.

The big story, of course, is that Kerry Wood left the game after two innings (and two homers allowed -- this is rather alarming, considering in the 42 innings he had thrown before last night, he had allowed only three home runs this season). "Tricep stiffness" is given as the reason, and that article also says that he "ran hard to first base" in grounding out in his only at-bat.

Cubs pitching can survive without Wood, believe it or not, especially with Matt Clement being so dominant, and with Mark Prior now most likely due back for the Pittsburgh series on June 4 (that's only 19 games from now, or only about four starts for a typical rotation starter).

And keep in mind that last year's Cubs suffered through an injury to Prior, and that last year Sammy Sosa had only six home runs by the end of May and was on the DL and suspended and...

Yeah, I'm trying to rationalize. Here, let me do some more: the Cubs are now without their starting DP combination (though the replacements have more than held their own), and one of the key members of the bullpen, though it appears that Mike Remlinger may be back in a week, which I suppose means that Todd Wellemeyer will find himself back in Iowa. Too bad, because in the limited amount of time he has pitched, he's done pretty well (although 12 walks in 11 innings isn't exactly what you'd like).

There's nothing really good to say about last night's game. Glendon Rusch, who came in and threw so well and got his first Cub win on Sunday, threw an alarming 63 pitches in three innings and gave up eight hits and four runs. OK, I'll say something good about him: he didn't walk anyone.

Dodger Stadium has become almost as much a chamber of horrors as St. Louis for the Cubs; they are 2-8 there (including last night) since 2001. And tonight, the Dodgers have replaced the scheduled starter, Kaz Ishii, with Wilson Alvarez, who has beat up on the Cubs going all the way back to a 1997 interleague win over them when he was a White Sox.

Matt Clement, who has been terrific this year, will try to stop the bleeding tonight.

Incidentally, Roger Clemens, who's been just about the best pitcher in baseball this year so far and who beat the Marlins last night to go 7-0 and put Houston 3 games up, will miss the two-game series against the Cubs the last week of this month, if the Astros maintain their current rotation. However, he will pitch against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on June 2, if that rotation holds... five days short of a year after his attempt for his 300th win while with the Yankees blew up after he left the game, when Eric Karros hit a 3-run homer off Juan Acevedo.

Curiously, if the Cub rotation holds, and there's no serious injury, Clemens' opponent on June 2 will be...

Kerry Wood.

Bring it on.