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Wasted: Cubs 4, Cardinals 5

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I close my eyes when I get too sad
I think thoughts that I know are bad
Close my eyes and I count to ten
Hope it's over when I open them
-- Everclear, "Wonderful"

I've been sitting here at the keyboard trying to think of something, anything, positive to say about today's crushing 5-4 Cub loss to the Cardinals, but instead I keep coming back to the lyrics posted above.

It all was wonderful up to the bottom of the ninth; Ted Lilly threw a solid six innings, Neal Cotts -- who is slowly becoming a very dependable middle reliever -- set the Cardinals down in order in his one inning, striking out two, and Carlos Marmol didn't strike guys out with that nasty slider, but he did have an efficient 1-2-3 inning also, a real confidence-builder.

And then Kerry Wood came in and did exactly what he's NOT been doing all season -- walking people (right after Kenny Albert had to mention Wood's excellent control all year long). Two walks, a double, an intentional walk... and then it almost, almost came out OK, with two outs recorded, but then Rick Ankiel's single won the game for the Cardinals.

Look at this photo. Does Kerry look happy?

I blew it today.

No, that looks like a kid (OK, a kid with a beard) who was just sent to bed without dessert.

What if Jim Edmonds scores on that fly ball in the 8th inning? Would you have sent him? I would have, especially after seeing Ryan Ludwick double-clutch. It took a perfect throw and a perfect block of the plate by Yadier Molina. Give the Cardinals credit -- they made the play. And if the Cubs had a 5-2 lead instead of a 4-2 lead, maybe that 9th inning sets up differently.

Sigh. Aramis Ramirez homered; Mark DeRosa homered and tripled; three hits and two slick defensive plays for D-Lee; it all looked great for 8 1/2 innings, all ultimately wasted. OK, maybe I can say something positive, or at least not-negative: it happens. Sometimes closers come out without their best stuff and no command, and that's what Wood was today. He nearly got out of it with a save anyway. It happens. Couldn't have happened at a worse time, of course; the Cubs could have gone into tomorrow with a 4.5 game lead and knowing they had won the series. Instead, Sean Marshall will have to really be on his game tomorrow to give the Cubs the series victory.

And don't even get me started on Fox-TV's 1908 mention, or how bad Kenny Albert was. Couldn't Marv Albert have pushed his son into another line of work? Did you know that Marv Albert's real name is Marvin Philip Aufrichtig? At least Eric Karros was listenable.

Look. Take it easy tonight. Stay away from the computer. Take a walk. Go see a movie. Enjoy the nice summer weather, if it's nice where you are. Take some deep breaths and remember, we'll get 'em tomorrow.