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Mark plays in a basketball league. Today was his team's first playoff game.

After leading at halftime by six, they lost by seven, to a taller team that just wore them down.

Then I took him to a kids' 3-point shooting contest. He fell one basket short there too.

To conclude this day of losing, the Cubs lost to the Giants at Scottsdale, 7-2, their first loss of 2006.

Good today: Jerome Williams threw two decent innings. Brian Dopirak, playing today in place of the WBC-departed Derrek Lee, homered. Neifi Perez was nowhere to be seen.

Bad today: John Koronka gave up a long three-run home run to son of Joe, nephew of Phil, Niekro. (OK, so he has a name -- Lance -- and he's likely going to be the Giants' starting 1B this year.) Ryan Dempster had a shaky inning, walking two and making an error. Ronny Cedeno also made an error today.

Dumb today: the Yahoo boxscore above lists a Giants prospect named Nate Schierholtz as their starting pitcher. Um, nope. It was Jason Schmidt. This wrap says he threw two innings. The box says the starter, whoever he was, threw three. DmL, charting the first half of the game, says it was Schmidt.

I'm guessing this is a transcription error; Schierholtz isn't on the Giants' 40-man roster, nor on their non-roster invitee list, but I'm sure you can see how he could likely be listed just above "Schmidt" in some alphabetical list or another.

And anyway, according to this:

The Giants will start veteran Matt Morris against the USA's World Baseball Classic squad Sunday in an exhibition contest at Scottsdale Stadium.

Originally, fifth-starter candidate Jamey Wright was slated to start, but now he'll back up Morris, who was slated to pitch at Mesa against the Cubs in a split-squad contest. Kevin Correia will take that turn.

That confused me when I posted earlier today; I had thought Correia was to throw today, but he'll start tomorrow, against Rich Hill. Hill will be making his spring debut when the Cubs and Giants match up again, this time at Mesa, and on WGN-TV for the first time in 2006 (2:05 CT).

Obviously, not much was worth talking about in today's game, it ran pretty quick -- about 2:30, the attendance was an all-time Scottsdale Stadium record of 11,942, and by the time I had turned the radio back on in the late innings, Ron & Pat sounded pretty bored.

So was I today, as you can clearly tell if you've read this far. Sorry about that. I'll try to do better tomorrow, and so will the Cubs.