About halfway through the Cubs' 11-3 loss to the Padres this afternoon, I said to Mike, Howard and Dave:
"Is this about the most boring game you've ever seen?"
They all agreed. It was so boring I dropped my clipboard three separate times while nodding off. Finally Mike told me to "focus".
Wish the Cub pitching staff had had Mike on its ass today, because they were awful, and we might as well all have slept through today's loss.
Rich Hill's pitches were flat, and if he was throwing curveballs, they were as flat as his fastball. He faced fifteen batters. Five of them had hits (four for extra bases, a double and three home runs). One walked, one struck out, two grounded out. The other six outs were all fly balls that, had the wind been blowing out (it kept shifting around -- Phil said Mike Cameron's first HR was "windblown", but it wasn't, and neither were any of the Padres' four other HR today) several of those might have been HR also. Phil also made some comment about how the Padres "kids" have kept them afloat. Right, Phil -- "kids" like Greg Maddux (41), David Wells (43), Doug Brocail (40), Trevor Hoffman (40 in October). Nice try, though.
The Cubs feigned interest in keeping the game close until the fifth, when Sean Gallagher, after an efficient fourth inning (two strikeouts and a popup), blew up, walking three and giving up Cameron's 2nd HR. In fact, Cameron has now hit eight home runs this year -- four of them against the Cubs. Good thing this is the final Cubs/Padres game of 2007, barring some miracle matchup in the postseason.
With Maddux throwing with his usual ruthless efficiency (78 pitches, 55 strikes, no walks in six innings, for his 339th career win) and with the score now 9-1, that's when I started falling asleep; even the Cubs' brief flurry of XBH in the 6th, making it 9-3, didn't really pique my interest. Oh -- except for the fact that Derrek Lee's triple only occurred because the relay throw was a little bit off. Lee, apparently going to be "satisfied" with a double, loafed into second base and then turned on the burners when it appeared evident he could make third.
Love ya, Derrek, but really -- HUSTLE!!
Two doubles -- one by each of our recent whipping boys, Michael Barrett and Jacque Jones -- scored two runs. Scott Eyre, suddenly throwing better, pitched two good scoreless innings (23 pitches, 16 strikes!), lowering his ERA to a still-ghastly 6.56 and perhaps getting some other teams interested in him, before Michael Wuertz and Will Ohman gave up a run apiece to a very small remnant of the 40,964 who paid to see a very poor exhibition of baseball by the home team.
This included three sets of fathers and sons in our section -- Dave and Kevin, Howard and Jon, and Mark and myself. That's a nice way to spend Father's Day, despite the result.
I can see how ballplayers need a day off. The Cubs were supposed to have one last Monday, instead mutually deciding with the Astros to play their makeup game then -- which means they have now played since May 22, a total of 27 days, with one day off (May 31). Since Memorial Day, May 28, I have attended 17 games in 21 days (missing only the first two in Milwaukee, the first day in Atlanta, and the off day). I'm tired. I'll bet the players are, too, and could use the day off tomorrow.
Let them recharge and head into Arlington, Texas, for their first-ever series there (after this week, the only places the Cubs will have never played are Oakland, Tampa Bay and Boston; they have never hosted Anaheim and Baltimore). I found this interesting note in Phil Rogers' column today:
In addition to Mark Teixeira, who's likely to miss three weeks with a strained quad, scouts are watching Sammy Sosa and Kenny Lofton as well as a trio of relievers—Eric Gagne, Akinori Otsuka and Joaquin Benoit.
Have at it. Enjoy the off-day.