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Let's Look Ahead, Shall We?

Rather than post yet another depressing story about the Cubs' 6-3 loss to the Padres, their sixth loss in a row, let's at least pretend that help is on the way.

Tonight, Kerry Wood takes the mound for the Peoria Chiefs in his first "official" rehab start (after some game action in the AZ Rookie League that didn't "count"). Ironically, the opponent will be the club that was a Cubs affiliate for several recent years, the Lansing Lugnuts, who are now a Blue Jays affiliate.

You can follow the action on this game log page.

Or, if you really have nothing else to do this evening, minor league baseball online audio is free. You can find both home and road broadcasts of tonight's game here. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, as the Chiefs/Lugnuts game is third from the bottom, ahead of two Mexican League games, Vaqueros Laguna at Acereros de Monclova and Rieleros de Aguascalientes at Potros de Tijuana. Say, those might be good for a few grins.

About the only thing I have to say about today's game is that it was lost when Dusty Baker decided to put Roberto Novoa in the game when it was still controllable, tied 3-3 with runners on first and second. The next two batters untied the game with a double and a single, and almost as quickly as you can say "Roberto Novoa ought to be optioned back to Iowa or even DFA'd" -- or maybe even MORE quickly than you could say that -- it was 6-3.

Look, I'm no big stats maven and I know Dusty Baker pays very little attention to them. But look at these numbers, career totals for Novoa:

ERA WHIP BAA Bases Empty 0.46 1.40 .258 Runners On 8.69 1.62 .281 w/RISP 11.57 1.76 .286

OK, you're saying, those are career numbers. Maybe they're skewed by his time with the Tigers, and Dusty and Larry saw something different last year? Nope; here are his 2005 numbers as a Cub:

ERA WHIP BAA Bases Empty 0.42 1.52 .286 Runners On 8.22 1.70 .241 w/RISP 9.64 2.07 .268

Now if you knew that, why would you EVER put Novoa in a game except to start an inning? He can clearly pitch well when there's no one on base, but loses focus with baserunners -- and that likely cost the Cubs the game. Glendon Rusch, whose purpose in life is now to come into games early -- and that was exactly the situation today -- finally DID come in and ended the offending inning with ONE pitch.

Seriously. If all of US can see this, why can't the guys who are paid big money to see this, see it?

I'm not sure we really want to know the answer to that question.

Hey, the Cubs scored three runs today, which equals the total they had scored in the last three games combined. That's about all the good I can find from this game. Oh, and the Cubs' record with Jerry Hairston starting is now 2-10. Yes, I'm aware he had two hits and an RBI today. Big whoop. Sit him down. I posted this morning that Neifi had a .349 lifetime average vs. Woody Williams. Of course, that anchored Neifi to the bench today. Frustrating, when Dusty actually had a good reason to start Perez, he didn't.

Later in the evening, I am sure the Smooth Jazz Man will post a diary about his experience at Petco this afternoon. When it's posted, I'll post a link to it. In fact, here is the link to his diary. And, here is a link to another diary, by BeerCub, on his visit to Petco this past weekend. Till then, think good thoughts about Wood's start tonight, and the fact that with Greg Maddux throwing tomorrow and the team he's facing is NOT the Diamondbacks, there is at least a chance the Cubs can salvage one game in this series.