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Thank You, I'll Be Here All Week

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I haven't thrown in the towel yet, but I've started doing towel drills.

[RIMSHOT!]

Or, maybe you'd like this quote from the legendary New York writer Jimmy Breslin, writing about the horrendous 1962 Mets:

They lost an awful lot of games by one run, which is the mark of a bad team. They also lost innumerable games by 14 runs. This is the mark of a terrible team. ... They lost at home and they lost away, they lost at night and they lost in the daytime. And they lost with maneuvers that shake the imagination.

Seriously. The 2006 Cubs aren't that bad, but they do come up with new and imaginative ways to lose every day. Today: ten walks, two runs scored on wild pitches, another on a tough error given to Aramis Ramirez that could have been a DP ball, and yet more on a three-run homer into the teeth of a northeast wind.

You know the facts. The Cubs lost 9-0 to the Padres today. That's the first sweep by San Diego in Wrigley Field in 14 years. They got swept out of the season series with the Padres. It's 12 losses in 13 games, 14 of 16.

They lost to a pitcher who threw his first major league complete game and shutout. A pitcher who had issued seventeen walks in his last 27.1 innings -- and today, he walked one. And it was Neifi Perez. And he had to do that intentionally.

Meanwhile, Cub pitchers were issuing ten walks to go along with the nine Padre hits, the guy who reached on Aramis' error, and one hit batsman by Jae-Kuk Ryu, making his ML debut. I told Mike, after Ryu struck out two in his inning of work, that I hoped he'd strike out the side.

That'd make him ... the new Todd Wellemeyer.

Thank you! I'll be here all week!

And after that, he didn't wind up doing it, anyway.

Brian Giles tied a major league record by walking five times in a nine-inning game. Meanwhile, Hensley struck out all five times he batted. We are investigating whether or not that's ever happened in the same game, much less by players on the same team, before.

Watching Rich Hill closely, you can see why he has trouble at this level, and why I will continue to call him a Quadruple-A player. He nibbles around the plate with that curveball. Triple-A hitters will get fooled by that and swing and whiff at it many times; this accounts for Hill's huge K numbers at Iowa this year. Major league hitters -- excellent example, Giles, a patient hitter -- will lay off that sort of thing, and thus, Hill walks too many people, thus leading to far too many runs.

Hill actually kept the Cubs in the game till he was lifted for Scott Williamson with the score still a manageable 2-0. Williamson promptly walked the first hitter he faced, then wild-pitched in one of Hill's runners as well as one of his own, after Josh Barfield singled.

Had enough of this? Yeah, I have too. The sun came out today -- we thought that might be a good omen, but all it did was make it comfortable in the 52-degree weather, until the 8th inning when clouds and fog began to roll in off the lake.

So, with Mark in tow today, Jeff & Krista decided to amuse me by telling me he didn't need a haircut, even though he's now sporting bangs that cover his eyes and some Star Trek-looking sideburns.

Take a look at the photo below:

And then vote in the poll I've posted on this topic, on the right sidebar.

At this point, we need just about anything to distract us from this disaster of a team. I didn't want to believe it till today, but they really do look like they've quit. Cub pitchers threw 174 pitches today; Hensley threw 92. You'd think that after a while, especially with a pitcher with the history of wildness that Hensley has, that the Cubs would be more patient and try to get on base.

Nope. It looks like Juan Pierre's been well-scouted by most teams -- yesterday, he had three flyouts to left, today, two groundouts to first. His stats in the leadoff spot are approaching 2005 Patterson territory. No one else hit at all today; the only two hits (doubles by Todd Walker and Michael Barrett) were ground balls that were both just fair, one inside each foul line.

What to do? Look, we all love this team and love the game, or we wouldn't be here. It's terrible to think that after thirty-seven games, the season may be lost. Wholesale firings at this point aren't going to change a thing. Jim Hendry must be held accountable, yes, but it is the roster for which he is accountable, and he hasn't given the proper tools for winning -- and that's even taking into consideration that the best hitter on the ballclub is injured and out for an extended period (and the Cubs are now 6-17 without Derrek Lee).

If there is anything to salvage from this season -- even just playing competitive baseball -- Hendry has to make some moves and NOW, and having a day off tomorrow, with no game till Tuesday night, might be just the time to do so. And someone has to step up. Getting a "disciplinarian" manager isn't the answer -- this is the time when one of the players has to call a closed-door meeting, and hash out exactly what's wrong.

Got to see something else that's rarely seen -- a runner called out for leaving too early on an apparent sacrifice fly, nullifying a San Diego run in the fourth inning and instead, resulting in an inning-ending double play.

Yes, that's what we're reduced to. Someone sitting in the section to my left, during Ryu's horrid inning, yelled out, "Bring in Assenmacher." Well, heck, Paul Assenmacher, ex-Cub reliever from the late 80's and early 90's, is only 45 years old. And lefthanded. Why not?

Enough. Everyone needs the day off tomorrow -- players, fans, everyone. Jim Hendry, DO SOMETHING TOMORROW. Please.

Oh, and

THE PA SPEAKERS ARE STILL TOO LOUD! PLEASE, PLEASE TURN THEM DOWN!