Before I get to today's game summary, I know you all would like further updates on Mark Prior's condition. The report in Shawn Goldman's diary on the right sidebar is correct.
I listened to quite a bit of the WGN radio postgame show on the way home, and they reported the same thing -- that X-rays showed no broken bones, just a bruise, but that the Cubs were going to have an MRI done anyway, just to make sure, and Andy Masur and Dave Kaplan said that it was likely being done "at this hour" -- which was about half an hour ago.
One of the two of them -- I can't remember which -- said he was sitting in the third row and when the ball hit Prior's elbow there was a sickening sound, it hit so hard. I can pick up the story from here -- the ball flew easily 50 feet into the air, so high that Aramis Ramirez was able to catch it for the first out in the fourth inning.
So, results of the MRI pending, it appears that Prior has nothing worse than a really bad bruise, some soreness, and depending on exactly where the soreness is, he might miss only a start or two, or maybe not even that. We'll surely have more information in the morning.
It sure looked worse than that when Prior crumpled to the ground in pain, but he actually got up and walked off the field pretty quickly.
This put a damper on an otherwise festive 10-3 win over the Rockies, only the third time all year (Opening Day and April 25 at Cincinnati) that the Cubs have scored in double figures.
It is also only the third time (Opening Day and May 10 vs. the Mets) that the Cubs have won a game by more than four runs, which is a little bit disturbing.
The Cubs came out almost as if they'd been reading BCB and all the comments about too many first-pitch swings -- they drew three walks in the first inning, even though it came to naught when Jeromy Burnitz flied to center to end the inning with the bases loaded. If that's the case -- if some of us who have been admittedly harping over and over about the lack of baserunners, have actually had some effect on this team, we'll happily take the credit.
I don't think that's the case, but I'd sure like it to be. We had fun talking about the bases being "clogged", in Dusty-speak, with all the walks, and of course, only one of the walks scored -- which Dusty will probably show as evidence that they don't work -- but what they also do is make pitchers work really hard and get into bullpens earlier, and that's what happened today.
And Prior, even before the line-drive, was struggling -- he walked three himself, and was constantly deep into counts. The first three Colorado batters reached in the second inning, two on walks and one on a single, and then a sacrifice fly scored the first Rockies run, and we all said, "Here we go again."
Actually, we didn't say those words, but I know we were all thinking them. I don't want to be like those MSM guys, you know. I strive for accuracy here.
Todd Wellemeyer, who looks like a whole different pitcher since his demotion and recall, came in and slammed the door. OK, maybe not slammed, but at least pushed it shut. He also walked three, but got out of one of the innings with a nifty 3-6-4 double play on an attempted sacrifice.
Meanwhile, the Cubs bats were waking up. They actually scored five runs before hitting a single home run today, and they wound up with four of them -- two by Derrek Lee, a 440-foot shot onto Sheffield by Corey Patterson (gee, what a surprise -- with the bases empty again. That makes all ten of Corey's homers solo jobs), and Neifi!, who had a terrific day, with a two-run double as well as the homer.
The homer made Scott Lange of the Northside Lounge, joining us again today with his dad, pull out a second All-Star ballot (he'd already written Neifi! in once) and write his name in a second time.
Don't forget to join us in our quest to get Neifi! elected to the NL All-Star team. His closest competition, the Rockies' Clint Barmes, didn't play today due to an ankle sprain he had yesterday sliding into 2nd in the ninth.
So vote for the healthy guy! Neifi!
Other heroes today were Aramis Ramirez, whose bat finally woke up a bit; he had two singles, a walk and an RBI, and Jason Dubois, who finished off the big 4-run fourth with a nicely done RBI double just inside the LF line. Even Wellemeyer chimed in with his first major-league hit. Todd had been 0-for-1 previous to 2005 (with one sacrifice hit and one walk) and was 0-for-1 this season, so he now has a career .333 average.
My friend Craig joined us again today and we gave him all sorts of grief because he left in the 8th inning -- didn't want to wait in huge lines at the L stop! But, he has promised to join in here at BCB, so look for some incisive and informative comments from him soon.
Finally, LaTroy Hawkins was entrusted with the seven-run lead in the ninth inning and proceeded to have about the ugliest scoreless inning I've seen in a while -- a 24-pitch monstrosity with a walk and two singles, loading the bases before a game-ending groundout.
But let's be happy -- or Hawpe -- tonight. A win's a win.