It's been an interesting week for the Cubs. Just a day after Milwaukee went out and got CC Sabathia, albeit for half a season, Jim Hendry answered back by getting Rich Harden from Oakland.
Meanwhile the Cardinals ... did nothing. Come in, St. Louis.
Let's hope Harden, who's got an injury rap sheet to rival Mark Prior, can make it through the entire season. The Cubs have some special plans in store for the guy.
Now this trade makes you wonder. Billy Beane, whose reputation is probably a bit blown out of proportion and borders on that of some mystical baseball guru, has a decent track record of unloading pitchers when they're done, like Mark Mulder and Barry Zito. But then again Beane traded away Danny Haren, too. Hendry knows Harden's history and has acknowledged there was no way they would have a chance at getting him without that history, so it's a risk. We'll see.
As for the other guy they got, I don't know Chad Gaudin from Paul Gauguin. As far as I know, Gaudin has never visited Tahiti.
Where were we? Right. Today. Good afternoon sports fans, welcome to a Thursday edition of From the Cubicle. The Cincinnatah Redlegs are in town ... Dusty, Dunn, Junior and Marty along with their merry band of traveling hayseeds.
This pitching matchup of Ted Lilly and Bronson Arroyo does nothing for me. But don't let that dissuade you from enjoying this one. I'm just a jerk. I also don't like Arroyo's feathered hair or his singing.
As always when the Reds are in town, Adam Dunn will hit a homer and misplay a ball in left. It's a given. He poked one off Zambrano last night and then botched Fukudome's ball in the seventh.
What's up with Carlos Marmol? Is Marty Brennaman under police protection? Will I ever step foot in this Whole Foods store again? Answers to these questions and more ... shortly.
Lineups, get yer lineups!
Did someone ask about hockey? No? Well, here's a story about Blackhawks draft pick Kyle Beach. "There's no denying some of his reputation is justified -- he once apologized for mocking an opposing player who had a birth defect during a game..." He also got knocked the heck out right here. Worth watching. Skip to around the :40 mark.
American Girl Theatre sings the Anthem. Very traditional. The Cubs go for the sweep of the Reds after this commercial break. It's 84 degrees, a bit cloudy and the wind is blowing out of the west southwest at 14 mph (translation: it's blowing straight out to center). The lights are on. Apparently it's some American Girl day and the first 10,000 brats received some kind out outfit for their creepy dolls. Also, those bags from that store are big and sharp, if you've ever been poked by one walking down Michigan Avenue. And we're off. Jerry Hairston Jr. fouls one off and then pops out to the second baseman Mike Fontenot. Jeff Keppinger pops out in foul ground near the plate and Aramis Ramirez gloves it. Lilly walks Junior. Brandon Phillips flies out to Fukudome in right to end the top half of the first.
Ryan Theriot hacks at the first pitch and pulls it through the hole on the left side for a single. Fukudome takes a 2-2 backdoor breaking ball for strike three. Bob Brenly thinks it was off the plate. Then again, that's his job to think such things. Theriot takes off on a 3-2 pitch; Lee rips it into the left-field corner, Dunn's knitting a sweater out there digging that ball out, allowing Theriot to score without a throw. Lee knocks home the game's first run with an RBI double. Aramis Ramirez quickly falls behind 0-2 before moving Lee along to third with a flyball to right. Geovany Soto grounds out to third but the Cubs take a 1-0 lead.
Cubs 1, Reds 0
It's nice to see Alfono Soriano as a Walgreen's Celebrity Bat Kids. Gotta work on that wave, Fonzi. Here's Dunn to lead off the second for the Reds. Strike three in the dirt and Mongo only pawn in game of life. Edwin Encarnacion hits a towering shot to the first few rows of the left-field bleachers to tie the game. Joey Votto bounces a single past a diving Lee. With David Ross at the dish, Votto takes off for second. Ross pops up to shallow center where Theriot makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch and fires to first to get Votto. Votto is back in time and Lee makes a great play to scoop the low throw that even hit the runner. That was one great pick. Lilly strikes out Arroyo.
Cubs 1, Reds 1
"Emmitt, your gray facial hair has put you in a rocking chair. Your beard is weird." So is that commercial. Jim Edmonds bounces out to second. Mark DeRosa draws a one-out walk. Mike Fontenot, a little guy with some pop, drives one deep to center over Hairston's head for a double. DeRosa stops at third. Lilly is swinging away. Not that he's an ideal guy to trust to lay down a squeeze bunt. He swings through a few pitches and then gets sawed off by Arroyo and squibs the ball about three feet. He's out; the base runners stay put. Theriot takes a ball to even up the count at 2-2. Full count and Theriot takes it right back up the middle to drive home both runs. Fukudome hits it deep to right; Junior back pedals, nearly loses it but reaches out and stabs it at the last second for the final out.
Cubs 3, Reds 1
To answer your question, The FTC Oversight Committee, I believe that makes about six, six Justin Timberlake Pepsi commercials in two innings. Also, that Verizon commercial with the creepy lady kind of scares me. Hairston Jr. draws a leadoff walk. Keppinger squibs a slow roller towards third. Ramirez doesn't even look at second and fires to first for out No. 1. Griffey turns on the first pitch and rips an RBI double down the right-field line. Phillips swings at the first pitch and deposits it in the left-center field bleachers and just like that, two pitches, it's a 4-3 ballgame. Phillips hot-dogs it a bit around the bases and will be done with his complex series of celebrations and gyrations in the dugout, oh, any minute now. Mongo no like breaking ball. Dunn strikes out for the second straight at-bat. Encarnacion bloops a single to left. With the runner on the move, Votto lines one to left. DeRosa makes a nice play to cut it off and save another run. That's it for Lilly after two and 2/3. Lou Piniella yanks him and WGN goes to commercial before we can see if Lilly smashes anything up in the dugout. Michael Wuertz takes over with runners on the corners, two outs and Ross at the plate. Good start for Wuertz; he walks the first batter he faces to load 'em up for Arroyo. Arroyo, who hit a couple of dingers off Glendon Rusch a few years back, grounds to third where Ramirez makes a decent play to get out of the inning.
Reds 4, Cubs 3
Lee draws a leadoff walk. And Ramirez erases that by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Soto is out on a swinging bunt and so much for that half inning. That took about 30 seconds.
Reds 4, Cubs 3
As for the basket, I believe it was installed to prevent people from throwing trash on the field, which hasn't really worked, considering its giant two-foot clearance. Either trash was a lot heavier then or Cubs fans had weaker arms. Though, I'm probably wrong about that. Hairston singles to left on a full count. Keppinger lines a single to left. Wuertz gets two strikes on Griffey and that gets the runners moving. Let's hope there are no shoving matches in the dugout. Griffey fouls one off and then takes a ball. Enough with all the dancing on the basepaths, Griffey rips a Wuertz slider and with that sweet swing hits home run No. 605, this one to the right-center bleachers where --oh, dear--someone spills their beer. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild trots out to talk to Wuertz. But seriously, what is he going to say at this point? Phillips singles and that's four straight hits to open the inning and still no one out. Jon Lieber gets up in the pen. Phillips swipes second on the first pitch to Dunn. Dunn flies out to left but Phillips tags and takes third on the flyball to left. Sure, why not? But ... that is the first out, which is progress. I spoke too soon. Encarnacion knocks home Phillips with a flyball to right. And not that anyone's still talking about this, but, according to Wikipedia, which we all know is the authority on everything, the basket was installed to keep fans from falling on the field and interfering with balls, which is what Lillie Lee Lilly said on the board and two helpful readers pointed out in emails. Votto strikes out to end this one. What? It's only the fourth inning?
Reds 8, Cubs 3
Yes, still the fourth. Plen-teee of time. Edmonds doubles to the left-field gap start things off here. DeRosa grounds out to short and Edmonds can't advance. Little guy with the pop, Fontenot, pulls one down the right-field line for a two-run homer. Carlos Zambrano, who was on deck (yes, he was), made Fontenot jump extra high to get a high-five. And here's Zambrano. Zambrano bounces it back to mound where Arroyo makes a nice back-handed grab and fires across his body to get the fleet-footed Z, who then gets a standing ovation for grounding back to the pitcher. Theriot bounces out. But the Cubs get two back on Fontenot's homer.
Reds 8, Cubs 5
Ross pops one the other way down the right-field line that goes out of the camera view and apparently gets out for a solo shot. Good start for Jon Lieber. Arroyo pops out to Fontenot. A light rain begins to fall on Wrigley Field. Hairston strikes out swinging. Keppinger singles to right. Griffey grounds out to end the top half of the fifth, but one more for the Reds.
Reds 9, Cubs 5
Fukudome strikes out. Lee drives it deep to left. Hairston calls off Dunn and Dunn just steps in front of him and snags it on the track. Sorry, buddy. Had there been a collision, Hairston would've gone through that Under Armour door. Yeah, click clack! Ramirez draws a walk. Soto singles and the Cubs possibly, maybe have something cookin' with two outs. Well, maybe not. Edmonds grounds out to first.
Reds 9, Cubs 5
Lieber remains and strikes out Phillips. There's Dunn's homer. Wow. Crushed onto Sheffield, one-hops the building and bounces way in the air. No one throws a bunch of balls on the field and Marty Brennaman remains silent. Encarnacion flies out to left as the rain really comes down now. The grounds crew is at the ready. Votto grounds out. One more for the Reds and that makes 10.
Reds 10, Cubs 5
Lefty Bill Bray relieves Arroyo and will face DeRosa. Still raining. DeRosa singles to left and Dunn, who's a mudder, tracks it down and keeps his footing. Fontenot draws a walk. Ronny Cedeno hits for Lieber. Cedeno swings and misses and then tosses somethign back to the ondeck circle. I hope he still didn't have the doughnut on the bat. Cedeno grounds to Encarnacion, who flips to second to start the double play but instead sails it into right field, allowing Derosa to score. Theriot grounds into a 5-4-3 double play. Tough one there, but a run scores. Fukudome strikes out but the Cubs manage to get two more on an error and are still in this.
Reds 10, Cubs 7
New guy Chad Gaudin makes his Cubs debut and starts things off by throwing three staight balls to Ross. Why not? After a get-me-over strike Ross rips his second homer of the day. So, good start for Gaudin. Billy Beane has fleeced Jim Hendry! That's six homers by the Reds. Jay Bruce pinch hits and bloops a single to left. Gaudin already hearing the boos. Hairston flies out to Edmonds. Bruce runs on the pitch and Keppinger grounds to short. Theriot's only play is at first. Griffey grounds into the shift and that brings on American Girl Theater for TMOTTBG. Wow, too much enthusiasm. Make them stop. Now. I hate them.
Reds 11, Cubs 7
Mike Lincoln is the new Reds pitcher. Lee, who's been in the game all day, flies out to Griffey in right. That rain got some immediate results. It's very green out there at Wrigley now. Ramirez walks. Soto bangs one off Encarnacion's glove for an infield hit. Edmonds flies out to Dunn. The count evens up at 2-2 to DeRosa before he strikes out, stranding the two runners.
Reds 11, Cubs 7
Gaudin stays in the game. Phillips pops out to DeRosa. Dunn grounds out into the shift. Encarnacion hits a swinging bunt in front of the plate that Gaudin handles.
Corey Patterson takes over in center. Hairston moves to left. Dunn takes a well deserved seat. Jared Burton is the new pitcher. Fontenot grounds to Votto, who flips to Burton covering first but Burton drops the ball and Fontenot is safe. Daryle Ward hits and flies out to left. Theriot grounds to short. Fontenot is out at second but the relay to first is high. Very indepth discussion about the latest moustache trend going on between Bob Brenly and Len Kasper. Two of the umps on this crew have staches. I would think Brenly would be a little annoyed by all these trendy soup strainers, considering his moustache probably is older than Kasper, but he's liking it. In fact, I think all this talk has inundated the American Moustache Institute's Web site because it's now down. Fukudome, clean shaven, grounds out.
Reds 11, Cubs 7
Neal Cotts takes over and serves up a first-pitch homer to Votto, the Reds' seventh of the day. The Cubs' pen has given up three leadoff homers today. Not good. Ross reaches on a flare to right. Andy Phillips hits for Patterson, who didn't even get an at-bat. Phillips flies out to left. Hairston pops out to Fontenot. Keppinger lines a single back through the box and through Cotts legs. Wow. That was close. Don't think I've ever seen that. Griffey fouls one back off Soto's arm and it draws blood. But he's tough. Griffey flies out to right and we move to the bottom of the ninth with the Cubs down five runs.
Reds 12, Cubs 7
Francisco Cordero will try to close this one out for the Reds. Lee flies out to Patterson in center. Yes, I said Patterson was lifted for a pinch hitter but that's what Len said. We both regret the error. Ramirez lines what I swear was a double down the left-field line. But I guess it was foul. WGN apparently has turned off the replay machine for the day. Ramirez eventually strikes out and this one's almost over. It's up to Soto to start the two-out, five-run rally. So much for that. Swing and a miss and that's that.
Final: Reds 12, Cubs 7
The Reds hit seven homers today and avoid the sweep. Come back for more tomorrow when the Giants arrive for a three-game series. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. See you then.