A League of Her Own

Monday Headlines

The Cubs looked ready to blow Astros starting pitcher Brian Moehler (1-2) off the mound in the third inning, when the first four batters reached on 4 hits, including RBI doubles by Ryan Theriot and Lee. But with runners on second and third and nobody out, Milton Bradley popped out, Geovany Soto flied out to short right (with Hunter Pence making a nice catch), and Mike Fontenot lined out to center. ... The Cubs gave it a go with 2 in the ninth. Alfonso Soriano hit his 12th homer with one out. After Theriot lined out, the Cubs bunched singles by Kosuke Fukudome, Lee and Bradley before Soto lined out to end the game.

And who managed to give up 6 runs to the Astros, Dhr. Van Dyck?

Harden blew a 2-0 lead in a four-run fourth inning that featured Ivan Rodriguez's 300th home run and worked so hard at throwing strikes that he could not pitch longer than six innings. That turned out to be bad news for him and the Cubs, as reliever Jose Ascanio was wild in the seventh. He hit the first two batters he faced and threw a wild pitch to score one of them. The Astros' two seventh-inning runs proved to be the difference.
Let's turn to Lou for some commentary, since he's infinitely more interesting than morning-carl:
"I don't know what happened to Ascanio," manager Lou Piniella said. "I've never seen that -- first two pitches, two hit batters. And then the wild pitch a few pitches later." And Harden? "His command wasn't good," Piniella said. "He gave up runs in only one inning, but he was up, with his changeups especially."

So it was a 4-1 homestand, and all is not lost. What positives should we take away from these games, Gordo?

Despite a 6-5 loss, ''it was still a great homestand,'' said Lee, who broke out of his slump with a 4-for-5 afternoon. ... Soto had a single Sunday, giving him a 6-for-16 homestand (.375) with a home run and six RBI. A turnaround by Lee, 1-for-10 for the week before Sunday, will be as big a key to the team's continuing hopes.
Now that we have some good news, I want more. Could someone accomodate me with some news of Z's rehab start in Daytona?

Carlos Zambrano's rehab start for the Class A Daytona Cubs on Sunday afternoon wasn't particularly sharp. But it was pain-free. After giving up four earned runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Dunedin Blue Jays, Zambrano said his left hamstring feels fine and that he'll be ready to return to Chicago's starting rotation on Friday in San Diego. "No problems," Zambrano said after a 67-pitch outing in which he allowed five hits, walked three batters and recorded one strikeout. "I feel 100 percent. I just had a little problem with my release point. But this week, before my next outing, we'll correct it." Zambrano threw 67 pitches, 42 of them for strikes in his first game action since May 3, when he strained his hamstring trying to reach on a bunt.
Well, Josh Robbins, that's a mixed bag, but it's good that he's pain free.
And the Cubs are off to St. Louis starting Tuesday, any bits of information to share so we have something to look forward to, Gordo?

St. Louis Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter is due to come off the 15-day disabled list Wednesday against the Cubs after passing a final test of his strained left rib-cage muscle with a short bullpen session Sunday. Carpenter had been scheduled to throw another side session Tuesday before returning to the rotation next weekend, but a rainout Friday led the Cardinals to rethink that plan.

Hooray! We might get to see Chris Carpenter get hurt again.



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