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Seriously ...

I ...

just ...

don't ...

have ...

a lot ...

to say about this game.

What more can you say than this: Kerry Wood got himself into trouble in the first inning with a couple of walks, then made one mistake, leaving one up and out in the zone to Adam LaRoche, and before I could even really get settled into this one, the Braves had a 3-0 lead.

That was pretty much it. LaRoche added another homer in the 8th off Will Ohman, and the Braves beat the Cubs 4-0, putting them five games behind in the wild-card race, and under .500 at 40-41 as we officially reach the halfway point of the season, in front of a Turner Field regular-season record crowd of 52,274, which included many Cub fans -- if any of you were there, please post a diary!

So let me tell you a bit about how I spent my afternoon.

Some of you may know that I am Jewish. I have a daughter who's about to turn 13 and thus is going to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, a couple of months from now. Thus, my afternoon was spent attempting to organize a slew of invitations that must be mailed out shortly.

This was not very much fun, and it's not nearly over. But it was almost preferable to watching the Cubs sleepwalk through another boring loss.

Every time they appeared to get a rally going, something stupid would happen to stop it:

  • 2nd inning: Cubs catch a break when Todd Hollandsworth's double-play ball is nearly thrown into CF by pitcher Kyle Davies. Two men on. Good chance to come back, right? Nope, Michael Barrett decides that the Braves should have had the DP after all.
  • 4th inning: Jeromy Burnitz leads off with a walk, and one out later Holly singles. But Neifi! (who's about to lose that !, I think), who clearly needs a few days off just as much as Corey Patterson does, pops up and Barrett flies out.
  • 6th inning: Burnitz walks again with one out and then Aramis Ramirez singles. End of rally when Holly pops up and Neifi grounds out.
  • 8th inning, baserunning goof of the day: Burnitz walks for the third time of the day, and then Holly singles up the middle. For some inexplicable reason, even though the play is right in front of him, Jeromy strays off second and thus is chased to third base by someone way faster than him, Rafael Furcal, and is easily tagged out.
  • And, for today's requisite Corey-bashing, he pinch-hit with two out in the 9th (after Neifi finally got a hit) and decided he had had enough of this game too, and grounded into a game-ending double play.
Man, this game was boring. How is it that the Cubs consistently make young pitchers they are seeing for the first time look like Hall-of-Famers? Kyle Davies pitched well in his first four starts, but since then was pretty well pounded on by everyone from Baltimore to Texas to Oakland to Cincinnati.

Never mind that -- he looked like the second coming of Greg Maddux in a Braves uniform tonight. And even when Bobby Cox yanked him with two out in the seventh, the Braves bullpen, which has had more turnovers than the LA Clippers this year, shut the Cubs down with little effort.

Little effort. That's what tonight's game looked like. There's more excitement watching Neil Diamond on the Turner Field Jumbotron as WGN is covering the postgame festivities until it's time for their 9 pm news to begin.

I will say that I still believe this team can turn it around, IF Jim Hendry makes some major moves to shake up an offense which simply cannot generate any runs. Jerry Hairston had another good day as a leadoff hitter (a hit and two walks), and I would like to see him stay there at least till the All-Star break, to get some consistency. I also don't believe anything is going to happen in the next week; perhaps during the break the brass will sit down and figure out what direction they want to take -- it is, after all, possible that the Cubs will decide to be sellers rather than buyers.

But who would anyone want? Hollandsworth? Burnitz?

And as I have written before, all of the teams within six games of the wild card are flawed in some way, even the Braves. The Cubs can forget about the Central Division -- the Cardinals won again tonight, stretching the lead to 11.5 games -- but the wild card is still winnable, even from five games out.

They ...

just ...

have ...

to hit.