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Everyone's Having A Bad Year...

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... including me.

I thought I posted the usual open game discussion thread before I left for the game today -- but I can see that it's still in my story list; I wrote it and tucked it away to post about an hour later, but I apparently forgot to click "Publish Entry" instead of "Hide Entry".

Oh, well. There wasn't a whole lot to discuss about today's extremely boring 6-0 Cub loss to the Pirates, anyway.

The most interesting discussion I had was before the game, with Matt (BCB reader gauchodirk), who has just finished law school and is considering getting work as a public defender. I asked him what would motivate a criminal defense lawyer would take a case where he is certain that the individual involved committed the crime (from whatever evidence is available, etc).

This resulted in him explaining to me that some of the motivation would be money, but also to try to put on as good a defense as possible, or in some cases just plea-bargain. There's a lot more (and maybe he'll elaborate in the comments), but that was definitely the most interesting thing at the ballpark today.

It sure wasn't the baseball, at least not the baseball the Cubs were playing. In the second inning, they had yet another Butterfly Effect play, this being Ronny Cedeno's failure to pivot properly on what should have been an inning-ending DP ball. This allowed the Pirates' first run (all they'd need, as it turned out) to score, and had that DP been turned, of course, the batters who came to the plate in subsequent innings would have been different -- thus perhaps the rest of the runs wouldn't have scored, either.

Cedeno made another poor play in the third inning, being out of position for a relay throw on Jason Bay's single -- he might have been able to tag him out trying to stretch it into a double; instead Bay took second base on a routine throw in, and both he and Freddy Sanchez scored on Xavier Nady's double.

Nady, in fact, had three doubles and two further chances to match Matt Murton's four from yesterday (only the 17th time in ML history that's been done, incidentally, and only the second -- Sandy Alomar Sr. in 1972 was the other -- that it's been done in four at-bats), but he singled in the seventh and struck out in the ninth.

That's it, really -- Carlos Zambrano was just a little bit off today, allowing nine hits and five earned runs, and his opponent, Evergreen Park native Tom Gorzelanny, had the Cubs flailing away all day. Gorzelanny, who also attended Triton Junior College (which has produced several major league players, the most notable of whom is Kirby Puckett), was originally drafted by the White Sox out of high school but didn't sign, and instead wound up as the Pirates' #2 pick in 2003. The Cubs had the leadoff man on base in the 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th innings (three of those by walks, of all things), but quickly got themselves out of all of those, two of them by first-pitch double play balls. Ryan Theriot, who should have gotten the 2B start today, pinch hit in the 8th and hit a rocket into CF that Chris Duffy made a very nice diving stab on.

That's Chris Duffy, who led off for the Pirates today; he's got a .189 BA, and .244 OBA. Their #2 hitter, Nate McLouth, came in with a .232 BA and .294 OBA, and those two combined to go 1-for-9... and yet, the Pirates pounded out 11 hits and won anyway.

I am racking my brains here trying to think of something else to say about this game, but there isn't anything. Howard showed up late, wearing the same T-shirt I was -- a "Cubs Spring Training 03" shirt that I hadn't worn since last year. Phil spent the day reading and crumpling up my copy of USA Today that I was going to give to Jeff. Dave brought an article on baseball managers from the Wall Street Journal that features comments on Mike Hargrove and Dusty Baker -- I'd put a link here, but the WSJ is a paid-subscription site (and I don't have a paid subscription), you'll have to go out and get the paper. The gist of it was criticism of Baker's penchant for liking hitters who hack rather than walk.

That's not anything we don't already know. I pointed out to Matt, in between legal discussion, that the Cubs' leader in runs scored this year (it'll likely be either Juan Pierre or Aramis Ramirez) may not score even 90 runs, while the White Sox might have FOUR players with 100 runs, and will have four with 100 RBI (maybe even by the end of August).

Dave says the Cubs should spend free-agent money on pitching -- but they also need to improve this punchless offense.

There's work to be done, Jim Hendry. Get to it.