From the Cubicle

So the red-headed Matt Murton was sent to Iowa. His hitting has slipped since last season and his defense has been brutal. Lou Piniella . Murton said it wasn't his stance but rather he wasn't playing enough. But he wasn't playing enough because he wasn't playing well enough. So there you go. A conundrum.

No Murton would mean more fan favorite Jacque Jones and his rocket arm in right, but no, not today. Cliff Floyd will man Sammy Sosa's former sun-soaked milieu. Let's hope his surgically-repaired everything can hold up.

Jason Marquis gets the ball for the Cubs, while Jeff Weaver goes for the Mariners. Weaver's 0-6 with a 12.46 ERA. Dude.

It's a beautiful day in Chicago for baseball--or anything for that matter, save sitting in an office watching TV. Though I'm not complaining. It beats sitting in an office and actually working.

Here are today's lineups. As always drop me a line or post on the message board.

And don't get me wrong, I like golf and attempt to play as often as I can. But the combination of early-round play and Mike Tirico isn't doing it for me.

Yakyu soon as the mythical Ichiro will lead things off for the Mariners. Hai.

First inning

Wayne and Kathleen Messmer belt out the Anthem and we're ready roll. Here's Ichiro to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reacting the drunk Cubs fans in the bleachers whose personalities changed the more they drank:

"I have many different Ichiros inside me," the center fielder said. "I'm always one of them. At different times, I have different personalities."

One of those personalities lifts a lazy flyball to Alfonso Soriano in left. Jose Lopez, whose brother died in a motorcycle accident yesterday and who is playing in his honor, steps to the plate. Lopez grounds out to Mark DeRosa at third. Jose Guillen, another schizophrenic, takes a called third strike as Marquis goes 1-2-3. Wee, that rhymes.

As for Just Wondering on the board, who wonders why it's called a rubber match, I heard Hawk Harrelson say once that it's a bridge term. I don't play bridge, so no idea. I hope to never play bridge. Soriano, 0-for-21 since getting plunked by Tim Hudson in Atlanta, fouls the first pitch off. He dumps a broken-bat blooper into shallow left and hustles into second head first with a double. Pie drives one deep to right-center--no idea what's going on because WGN has gone to some field-level hand-held camera, apparently given to one of the first 500 fans. It one-hops off the wall. Soriano scores and Pie slides into third. Derrek Lee pops out. One of the sweetest things in baseball is seeing a guy on isolation cam fly around the bases on a triple. And I don't mean to pile on WGN but they got a bit tight on him on the replay. Show his legs! That's like when they show a concert on TV and they show only the guitar player's head while he's soloing. Show his hands, people. Floyd knocks in Pie with a single to center. DeRosa lines one to left but it's right at Raul Ibanez. Mike Fontenot, all this guy does is hit, doubles down the right-field line to score Floyd. Koyie Hill flies out to left but not before the Cubs get three.

Cubs 3, Mariners 0

Second inning

HL on the board brings up a good point about the play at the plate Tuesday night. Saying Jacque Jones' throw was on two hops is generous. More like a slow roll. But still all Barrett had to do was pick it up and he didn't even do that. Bad on both ends. Ibanez bounces to Lee, who flips to Marquis covering the bag, which Sean Marshall failed to do last night. Fine outing, however, by Marshall. Richie Sexson manages to not hit a homer in Wrigley. He grounds out on the first pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt strikes out.

Steve in Honolulu, arigato for correcting my Japanese. I knew I butchered that worse than Michael Barrett on a pitch in the dirt. E on the Cubicle. I changed it. Izturis, who bats behind the .150 hitting catcher, bounces out to Sexson. Marquis strikes out looking. Len points out that's three straight set down by Weaver since the Fontenot hit. It's Hill, Izturis and the pitcher, so there you go. Soriano bounces a single up the middle past the diving second baseman. Pie sends one deep to right, but Guillen gloves it with his back brushing against the ivy ever so gently.

Cubs 3, Mariners 0

Third inning

Willie Bloomquist grounds out to short. Catcher Jamie Burke doubles to the left-field corner. And people are walking by my desk asking me questions and sending me e-mail unrelated to this game. Too much going on! Weaver lays down a bunt right at Lee. Bloomquist takes third. Iricho bounces one to Izturis, who gets rid of it quickly to just get Ichiro at first.

Yes, Ks R Us, that comment was more about Izturis than the young Koyie's abilities. Scott Eyre and three other players--I think Michael Wuertz was one--took a tour of the bleachers and scoreboard before the game. Eyre may have a future out there. Lee takes a called third strike. Floyd singles to left. What's that t-shirt he has on under his uniform top? It looks like a concert shirt from the '80s. Probably not the Scorpions, I'm guessing. DeRosa dumps a single into right. Floyd stops at second. Fontenot is 9-for-20 since his call-up, Len reports. And ... he jinxed the guy. Fontenot grounds into an inning-ending, 5-3 double play.

Cubs 3, Mariners 0

Fourth inning

Just asking but are there Sonics in the Chicago area? They advertise during Cubs games but I've never seen one. Also what's up with the yahoos at the drive-thru? Get your limeade slurpee and move on. Lopez tries to check his swing but can't and he's out on strikes. Guillen flies out to left. And so does Ibanez. Marquis continues to coast.

Hill doubles down the right-field line to open the Cubs' half of the fourth. Pretty sweet outing by Weaver so far. Izturis does not show bunt. I repeat does not show bunt. Izturis lines one to center and Ichiro drifts under it like a leaf in the wind. Marquis bounces back to Weaver and he wheels and gets HIll caught up between second and third -- 1-5-6 for those of you scoring at the office. Soriano bounces out. So much for the fourth inning. Farewell.

Cubs 3, Mariners 0

Fifth inning

So, right, then I've got to drive to Champaign for one of those breakfast burritos with the Tater Tots in them? Pass. Here's Sexson. I'm telling you this guy's like Adam Dunn: He will always hit a homer against the Cubs. He also strikes out a lot and did just there. DeRosa robs Betancourt of a hit with a diving stop and solid throw across the diamond to Lee. Bloomquist takes a called third strike and then takes a seat. Well, not really since he's got to go play third now. Someone get him his hat and glove. Where's Eyre?

Pie hits one off his shoetops and that doesn't work out that well. He grounds to second. WGN camera catch a second guy napping in the crowd. Lee skies one to left-center. Ibanez goes back on it and Ichiro has to come from around Rogers Park to make a nice running catch. Floyd rips his third hit of the afternoon to left. I have no idea what's up with Lee. He definitely is struggling, which is strange to see. DeRosa grounds out.

Cubs 3, Mariners 0

Sixth inning

Burke grounds out to DeRosa. Mike Hargrove lets Weaver hit and he gets plunked on his back elbow, which would be his pitching arm. Turned right into it, which is one of the perils of an AL pitcher batting during interleague play--no clue. And, yes, I know Weaver's last stop was in the NL. Ichiro draws a walk and saunters down to first. And .... here's Larry. Rothschild goes to the mound. Michael Wuertz gets up in the Cubs' pen. And what's this? Another person sawing logs in the crowd? C'mon, people. Wake up. New guy Clay Rapada is up, as well. Lopez grounds it to third and it goes right through DeRosa's wickets. Weaver scores. Second and third with one out and a run in on a hit batsman, a walk and an error. Count goes to 3-0 to Guillen with a bag open. Guillen walks to load the bases. Lou is up and pacing in the dugout. Marquis falls behind Ibanez, 2-1. He then lines one to the left-center gap, clearing the bases. Boy, that escalated quickly. All of a sudden the wheels fell off and Marquis was riding on rims. Wait, we've got a situation on the field. Guillen is arguing with the ump. OK, the replay shows Guillen scores and runs right into home-plate ump Tim McClelland after scoring. McClelland then yelled something at Guillen as he was going to the dugout. Hey, buddy, get the hell out of the way. Seriously. Wuertz comes on to pitch and gets Sexson to ground out to third. Betancourt grounds out to third, as well. Lot going on in that inning.

Mariners 4, Cubs 3

Fontenot grounds out to second. Hey, this Sunday is Sharpie day at Wrigley. The first 10,000 fans get ... a felt-tip marker. What ever happened to floppy hat day? Or beer tankard day? Hill reaches -- I think by a walk. I missed it. Sorry. Wild pitch and he goes to second. Izturis lines one to right and Hill holds at third. Guillen made a serious throw from right, so probably a good thing he held. Jacque Jones will hit for Wuertz. Jones flies to shallow center and here comes Ichiro to make the catch on the run. Jones hears the obligatory boos on his way back to the dugout. Soriano skies one down the line in left and Ibanez makes the catch near Bartman territory to end the inning.

Mariners 4, Cubs 3

Seventh inning

Carlos Marmol toes the slab. Willie Bloomquist grips the bat. I'm hungry. Bloomquist strikes out. Burke strikes out, too. Jason Ellison hits for Weaver and strikes out looking. And here are sappy Denver rockers the Fray to sing TMOTTBG.

Lefty George Sherrill is the Mariners' new pitcher. Pie flies out to Ichiro. And this Fray guy is yammering on. Not a big baseball fan. He just called Andres Galarraga "Andres Galagaga." Lee flies out Ibanez. Floyd is retired for the first time today, striking out swinging.

Mariners 4 (on 2 hits), Cubs 3 (on 10 hits)

Eighth inning

Marmol remains. Ichiro lines a single to right. Lopez bunts Ichiro to second. Rothschild is placing a call from the dugout on what looks like a rotary phone. What happened to all the wireless technology they made a big hoo-hah about last season? Guillen walks and here's the new guy, Clay Rapada after this commercial break. Rapada's got the three-quarters delivery. It looks like he had Ibanez out on strikes but no. Iffy call there. Ibanez lines one right at Floyd in right. The runners stay put. Sweet Lou takes his sweet time strolling out there. Double-switch time. Feel the burn! Bobby Howry will come on to pitch and Angel Pagan to play right. It would be fun if it were the other way around. Alas... So it's Howry to Sexson, a couple of big guys. Sexson flies out to Pie. Murderers' row coming up: DeRosa, Fontenot and Hill.

Righty Brandon Morrow tries his hand at this pitching thing. And my mistake, it's DeRosa not Fontenot leading things off for the Cubs and he draws a walk. Here's Fontenot. Another walk. The Mariners pitching coach comes out for a little confab. Mike Quade takes the opportunity to talk to Hill. A whole lotta nothing going on. Back to the action, Hill gets a bunt down that takes a crazy hop off the lip of the grass and stays fair. Both runners advance. Hill is out, of course. Izturis lines one to left. Ibanez boots it a little. Both runs score as Izturis slides into second. Pagan lays down a bunt and Morrow can't field the slowly-rolling ball. Doesn't get much easier than that. Runners on the corners. Mike Hargrove comes out to make some moves. I'll have it all sorted out after these commercials. And speaking of which, thanks to the numerous readers who wrote in with the nearest Sonics.

"According to the Sonic website, the closest one to the 60611 zip code is in Kokomo, Ind., 126 miles away.The closest one in Illinois is in Champaign, 127 miles away," writes John Nash. That's a haul for a slurpee and some tots.

Sidearm righty Sean Green takes the mound. Emboldened by numerous beers and Bob Chinn Mai-Tais, Cubs fans are buzzing. Well, not anymore as Soriano strikes out. Pie bounces to short to end the inning.

Cubs 5, Mariners 4

Apparently closer Ryan Dempster has the day off, which strikes me as weird, considering this is a save opportunity. Do closers get days off? But anyway, it's up to Howry. Why not give him a win and save if he gets through this inning. Betancourt leads off and strikes out waving at a pitch way out of the zone. Howry strikes out Bloomquist. Kenji Johjima hits and grounds out on the first pitch to end it.

Final: Cubs 5, Mariners 4

That's it, folks. Thanks for reading, writing in and posting on the board. We'll be back for more fun tomorrow as ageless tubby David Wells faces off against Ted Lilly. See you then.

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