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Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

This is a really simple concept, you'd think.

Throw strikes. The basic tenet behind pitching.

The failure to do so has now cost the Cubs two of the last three games, and Kyle Farnsworth in particular has to be sent back to the drawing board. Farnsworth is an enigma. He's got tremendous talent. He has a really bad haircut. OK, that's another story. You don't believe me? Look here:



Someone give that man a buzzcut! NOW!

Anyway, today, he threw 20 pitches, only six of them for strikes, and that's Rick Ankiel/Andy Pratt territory. Today, the winning run didn't get walked in, but a loss is a loss, and after Farnsworth walked the bases loaded, Scott Rolen singled, and the Cubs had a frustrating, 1-0, 10-inning loss to the Cardinals, which, coupled with Houston's 6-5 win over the Reds, put the Cubs a game out of first place, and hoping to gain a series split tomorrow. I think I'm really glad that Greg Maddux was moved up in place of Sergio Mitre to start tomorrow.

The bad pitching in the 10th ruined an absolute gem of a performance by Carlos Zambrano, who struck out a career-high twelve. Yes, he walked three, but that was in seven innings and a rather alarmingly high 122 pitches, rather than the 20-pitch travesty that was Kyle Farnsworth today.

Matt Morris, who said last fall that he would "lay down" for Houston because he hated the Cubs so much, let his own pitching talk today, allowing only four harmless Cub singles. The last two innings turned into a bunt-fest, with of all people, Derrek Lee laying down a bunt -- the first sac of his career. This is silly. You've got a guy with 30-HR potential and he's laying down bunts?

And I have to lay part of the blame at the feet of Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, because after Corey Patterson reached in the ninth with one out, both Sosa and Alou swung at, and made outs on, the first pitch they saw. I know Dusty Baker is preaching "aggressiveness", but this is ridiculous. The Cubs let Morris off the hook there, and paid for it in extra innings. Morris threw 112 pitches, ten fewer than Zambrano, in two more innings pitched, and this is clearly a result of -- well, first, throwing strikes, and second, the Cub hitters not working counts.

I spent the first three innings at a piano recital. Yes, that's right, a piano recital for both my kids, Mark ("A Quiet Song") and Rachel ("My Valentine"), and both played well, and I note in particular that neither brought their sheet music, but played from memory. That'd have been better if Mark hadn't actually forgotten his sheet music, which he had intended to bring. Afterwards, they didn't really care about the congratulations -- all they were out for was the cookies and brownies laid out.

Then I learned (as if I didn't know already) that Rachel really doesn't like listening to the games on the radio. No, it has nothing to do with Ron Santo. She's just not a baseball fan, though she's lately taken to yelling "Go! Team! Hail Mary!" any time she sees something interesting happening when a game's on TV.

This was really funny the first time, but as you can imagine, by the 40th time, it got kind of old.

I imagine the Cubs will be glad to see Wrigley Field on Tuesday for the first night game of the season against the Richie Sexson-less Diamondbacks, and the weather appears ready to cooperate, with temperatures in the 80's again by late in the week.

Let us hope the Cubs' bats are just as hot.