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Oh, The Humanity

That was Howard's line after Carlos Delgado put the game out of reach with his three-run homer off Todd Wellemeyer this afternoon.

In fact, if you haven't read Ross' diary on the right sidebar, which explains why Greg Maddux suddenly couldn't throw strikes, and when he did, they were blasted out of the ballpark, go ahead and look, and then come back here for, as they say, "The Rest Of The Story".

Done yet?

The rest of the story is, simply, that for the fifth time in the last six games, the game result at Wrigley Field was a blowout (the only close one being last Saturday's win over Boston). Unfortunately, today was all Marlins, and instead of having a winning homestand, the Cubs lost their second series in the last three with a 15-5 loss to Florida which, as was last night's win, was not as close as that score would have you believe.

Maddux was awful. Todd Wellemeyer was awful -- he could have held the score at a reasonable (well, sort of reasonable) 5-0 if he'd have been able to retire Delgado, but instead tacked two extra runs onto Maddux' total for the game, then made it worse in the next inning by allowing another homer (one of four Marlins homers today, and only one of them -- Luis Castillo's second homer of the series and season, barely into the CF basket, was wind-aided), and then Rich Hill made his major league debut.

That's when Dave ripped him a new -- well, this is a family blog, after all. First, he said he can't stand the quirky little wrist action that Hill does in his windup -- that's an arm injury waiting to happen. Then he saw Hill's fastball and said that Hill couldn't get HIM out. That was a little bit harsh, I think (without revealing too much, let's just say Dave is older than I am). We did get to see the nice curveball that Hill has been yakking to Triple-A hitters when he struch out Delgado, but he didn't fool Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell or Paul LoDuca, all of whom hit ringing doubles off him. I guess Hill should be happy that he only allowed one run -- that was one of the better Cub pitching performances today. Hill's likely to start the game on Tuesday in Milwaukee, so the Cubs figured they'd get him some work today. He was throwing during batting practice wearing #17 -- must have been some leftover Bobby Hill jersey -- but switched to #53 for the game. He'd better have better stuff than this next week, or guys like Carlos Lee are going to eat him alive.

Mike Remlinger, who had been very good since coming off the DL, gave up Castillo's homer -- granted, it was wind-aided, but that was after he hit Marlins starting pitcher A. J. Burnett on an 0-2 pitch and gave up the fourth hit of the day to Juan Pierre.

It was cold today. I mean early-October-like cold. I made the mistake of thinking the ten minutes of sunshine when I was leaving the car were going to stick around, and I changed into shorts. Bad move. A t-shirt and shorts day, it wasn't. Luckily, Howard had an extra long-sleeve pullover in his backpack, so I borrowed that for most of the afternoon. Meanwhile, Jon had brought his girlfriend Tiffany and her sister, and after they got up for drinks, I told them they had to stay seated for the rest of the game because they were blocking the wind! I was joking, but mostly, they did, sitting there with sweatshirts piled over their heads. Jon, on the other hand, regaled us with some Michael Jackson jokes -- which I'll spare you unless you really want to hear them, in which case you can e-mail me privately.

The Cubs did have a five-run, seven-hit seventh inning, the crowning blow being a long home run by Jeromy Burnitz that nearly hit a tour bus on Sheffield that was just trying to find a parking space to pick up the people who were streaming out of the ballpark after the seventh. Howard remarked to me in the sixth that he was surprised how many people were still there. I told him that I figured they were staying for the 7th-inning stretch song (today: Ernie Banks, someone who not only can actually sing, but knows the correct words to the song -- it's not "take me out to the crowd", it's "take me out WITH the crowd"), and then to see the Cubs bat one more time.

I was right. After the last of the 7th the exodus became lemming-like, and in fact, I had to take Mark to his baseball practice, after which -- get this! -- the coach is treating the entire team's worth of hyperactive 10-year-olds to tonight's Sox game at the Cell in a skybox. I figure he'll come home hopped up on so much sugar he'll be bouncing off the ceiling. Anyway, I left after the top of the 8th -- actually, after Lenny Harris' pinch-single in the top of the 8th, and seeing that was definitely enough!

Sign seen: a young woman holding up a professional-looking sign reading "Cubs Players Are Hot!"

I'll leave it to those of you here who are female to comment on that.

There remain 98 games in this season, more than enough to continue to contend, and Dave and I kicked around a few names of possible outfield acquisitions -- many of whom have already been kicked around here. What we agreed on was that Jim Hendry will do something, that he'll likely wait till the last couple of weeks before the deadline to do so, and by then, there may be another team or two who has cashed in the season and so there may be players available in a month who are not on the radar screen now. Dave also agreed with me about Cliff Bartosh -- that he should be let go. If the Cubs really want to keep him, Dave thinks they should DFA him, that he'd easily clear waivers and they could assign him to Iowa, and call up Ben Grieve to DH in the interleague series.

That's what I would do, anyway.

I'll be reporting from New York on Friday.

UPDATE [2005-6-15 21:34:10 by Al]: Yay! The Cubs aren't the only NL Central team to lose two of three to Toronto. So did the Cardinals; they lost tonight to the Blue Jays 5-2, keeping the Cubs within 6.5 games.

And, that tall lefty that Jeff reported warming up in the bullpen wearing #17 wasn't new callup Rich Hill. It was #1 draft pick Mark Pawelek, who has already signed and will report to the Cubs' rookie league team at Mesa in the Arizona League soon.