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Of Jinxes And Homers And Losses

Shake this one off.

What else can you do after a loss like this one, 9-0 to the Reds, a game that was over after the second inning?

The Reds slammed seven home runs off the Cubs, including four in that second inning. The last time the Cubs gave up four home runs in an inning was nearly eight years ago, on August 8, 2000 in Los Angeles, which also happens to be the last time a pitcher -- Darren Dreifort, if you must know -- hit two home runs in a game. The four homers in the fourth inning that night were off Phil Norton, who -- and if I'm a regular ol' writer I'm supposed to say "ironically", but it really isn't -- eventually wound up pitching a couple of years of mediocre middle relief for... the Reds.

There's nothing to say about this game. The Cubs never really had any chance of getting back into it, despite drawing seven walks and leaving twelve (!) men on base; their six hits were all harmless singles, and despite having RISP in the third, fourth, fifth and ninth innings, the Cubs never got a man past second base.

I'm not worried about Jon Lieber. Sometimes you just get hit, and he did today. I'm not really worried about Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher or Michael Wuertz, either, and all but Wuertz were touched for at least one home run. Joey Votto hit three of them, one each off Lieber, Marshall and Gallagher, and now has four HR in six games against the Cubs this season, and five of his eleven career HR against the Cubs.

Maybe it's a good thing the Cubs don't see the Reds again till July.

I hesitate to write this, because of the way such things are often viewed, but my copy of Sports Illustrated with Kosuke Fukudome on the cover arrived in the mail last Wednesday. You know, this one:



The Cubs won 19-5 that day, but since then -- starting Thursday, the day the magazine went on general sale on the newsstands, the Cubs are 2-5, and Dome is hitting .296 in those seven games with only one walk, after hitting .327 with 19 walks in the 26 previous games.

So it can't hurt to say this: Hey, SI. Could you keep the Cubs off the cover? Say, like, forever? Or until after they win the World Series?

It won't be a fun plane ride home for Lou, the coaching staff and the ballplayers this afternoon, but you can bet Lou and Jim will be discussing potential roster and/or lineup moves for the important 10-game homestand (the longest of the season) starting Friday against the Diamondbacks. At 19-15 the Cubs are three games better than they were after 34 games in 2007. But there is still much work to do.

Everybody take a deep breath, blow the stench of this game out of you, and enjoy the day off tomorrow.