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That Ain't The Way I Always Heard It Should Be

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Quick, five points to whoever can name the artist, song and year that I'm paraphrasing with that title (sorry, no prizes today!).

This one was supposed to be fun, a happy post, and I was going to start with this comment that JoshinLA left in today's open thread:

Gameday must be broken. It's reading that Henry Blanco hit a HR.

Well, that would have been really funny if it had been the only run of the game, right?

It's not so funny when it's the only CUB run of the game.

Blanco's now 2-for-20 this season. Big whoop.

And we could have been celebrating Neifi!'s terrific relay throw that cut down Bill Hall at the plate, keeping the 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Wow, we could think -- if Neifi! isn't getting hits, he's helping the ballclub with his glove!

But Carlos Zambrano, who threw seven really good innings in an efficient 96 pitches, gave up a couple of extra-base hits sandwiched around an intentional walk, and that gave the Brewers their three-run sixth and they made it hold up for a 4-1 win over the Cubs, dropping the Cubs back under .500, in front of 27,079, again about half Cub fans, but a much smaller gathering than the 40,000+ sellouts that Miller Park hosted all last year for the visiting Cubs.

Derrick Turnbow, who while with the Angels became the first player suspended for steroid use back in 2003, and who threw several 95+ MPH fastballs, finished up for his fourth save.

I wound up being out for a while this evening picking Mark up at yet another baseball game (yes, they even make nine-year-olds play in 46-degree weather, but they won 14-9), and so I listened for a while to Pat & Ron.

While I normally don't think much of Ron's analysis, he was dead-on in heavily criticizing Jerry Hairston for trying to steal third in the first inning with one out and Aramis Ramirez at the plate. Sure, Ramirez wound up striking out.

But he was right. Why would you take a runner out of scoring position in the first inning with your power hitters coming up? If this was Hairston going on his own, it's just plain stupid. If it was called from the bench, it was absolutely blitheringly ridiculously stupid.

There is a line between aggressiveness and idiocy, and Dusty and the coaching staff have crossed it. And so did Corey Patterson when he threw his batting helmet in the general direction of 1B umpire Bob Davidson -- who had actually given the Cubs a break earlier when he ruled that Jason Dubois had foul-tipped an apparent strike three (replays showed he probably had missed) -- and got himself ejected.

Cub hitters over the last couple of years have really enjoyed hitting at Miller Park. Someone forgot to tell these guys -- they managed only five hits, Blanco's homer and four singles.

And of course, none of those base-clogging walks.

I also listened to Bob Uecker's call of the game for an inning or so on WTMJ from Milwaukee, which you can receive fairly clearly in the northern sections of metropolitan Chicago, at least until the sun goes down and they reduce power.

Uecker turned seventy in January, but his call is still terrific. Oh, except for the fact that after the top of the first, he said, "After one complete, the score is the Cubs nothing, the Brewers coming to bat."

Well, not quite, Bob. If it's "one complete", that'd be the end of the first, not the middle of the first.

More broadcast follies: As I mentioned earlier today, tomorrow's game is going to be on Comcast SportsNet Plus 2. The broadcast team mentioned this and said that if we wanted to know what cable channel the game would be on, click right now at comcastsportsnet.com. Even though I already knew, I did that.

It took a good five minutes to load the page. Guess we must have overloaded the server. Here, I'll save you the trouble: click here for the CSN Plus 2 information for tomorrow's game.

Or maybe you'd rather just avoid more carnage.

Even more turmoil: the rotation for the rest of this series has been changed yet again; Ryan Dempster will now start tomorrow and Greg Maddux has been shifted to Thursday afternoon. This likely means that Mark Prior will throw on normal rest on Friday; Glendon Rusch might go on Saturday and then they can come back with Z on Sunday, again on normal rest, and with off days the next two weeks, a fifth starter won't be needed till May 24.

The above-linked article also has the following information about closers:

The folks at STATS, Inc., did a little extra research on LaTroy Hawkins and pitchers and their effectiveness in the ninth inning. Since 1995, Hawkins is 17-for-30, or 57 percent, with a one-run lead in the ninth, while STATS, Inc., says all pitchers in baseball have a 75.1 percent success ratio.

With a two-run lead, Hawkins has a 91.3 percent ratio, while the rest of baseball is at 89.4 percent. And, STATS, Inc., says Hawkins has an 89.5 percent success ratio with a three-run lead while other pitchers have a 95.5 percent rate.


The two- and three-run lead stats are within statistical variation norms.

But the one-run lead difference between Hawkins and the rest of major league closers is significant. It is the difference, for example, between making the postseason in 2004 and not. It's already the difference in two games out of twenty-five this year.

Enough. Let's just get into save situations in the first place; that'd be nice. It was announced on the telecast tonight that Joe Borowski, in his first rehab appearance at Iowa, threw a hitless, scoreless, walkless inning with two strikeouts. The radio broadcasters earlier suggested that Borowski might throw again tomorrow.

Hurry back, Joe. Hurry back, offense.