Greg Maddux shoots for another impressive milestone today against the Cincinnati Reds, trying to become the 13th pitcher ever to amass 3,000 strikeouts.
The baby-faced assassin, as Bob Verdi once called him, is six away. Take into account that he'll probably face Adam Dunn three times today and Dunn will strike out twice and hit his usual moonshot against the Cubs his third time up, it's doable but not a certainty.
It's getaway day in Cincinnati for the Cubs. And if you've ever been to Cincy, you know that means get the heck out quick. Only kidding. The Queen City is a lovely place. Plus, it's right across the river from Kentucky! The WKRP theme has been running through my head all morning and in tribute, I've got my hair feathered like Gary Sandy, have my cubicle taped off ala Les Nessman and am craving Skyline Chili, one of the Midwest's greatest guilty pleasures.
Not to be outdone, Reds lefty Eric Milton is two strikeouts shy of 950 and a victory short of 76. Maybe he'll get a display case in Pete Rose's Hall of Shame tent the Hit King erects every year to sign autographs down the street from the real Hall.
We'll enter the magical and fanciful world of baseball soon. Eat your lunch at your desk today and keep your cursor on the refresh button. Today's lineups.
The latest on Kerry Wood from the Cubs TV guys isn't much: Right shoulder inflamation. So here's a topic of discussion, should the Cubs convert Kerry Wood into a left-handed hitting outfielder? Jerry Hairston bunts the first pitch of the game down the first-base line for a hit. Pretty sneaky, sis. Todd Walker flies out to Ken Griffey Jr. in center. Derrek Lee pops out to Barry Larkin at short...I mean NBA first-round bust Felipe Lopez out of St. John's. Good to see he's found some success in baseball. Aramis Ramirez bloops one to center that Griffey takes a diving stab at, but the ball squirts out of his glove. Hairston thought about it trying it, but stopped at third. Michael Barrett, in the midst of a seven-game hit streak, digs in to the very red dirt of the Great American Ballpark batters box. Barrett flies out to Austin Kearns in right.
Maddux starts things off by fanning Ryan Freel. He's now five away from 3,000 and only 2,719 short of Nolan Ryan. Lopez pops out to his shortstop counterpart, Ronny Cedeno. Griffey dinks one to center for a single. Kearns, making his triumphant return to the Reds after being demoted to the minors and whining about it, doubles to right. Griffey stops at third. Adam Dunn, who could play Mongo in a remake of "Blazing Saddles," grounds to second to end the threat and inning.
Jeromy Burnitz flies out to Junior. Cedeno does the same but to Kearns in right. The red-headed rookie Matt Murton draws a walk. Maddux strikes out, his 357th as a hitter. No one mentions that.
Richie Aurilia pokes one to the left-field bleachers. That's the 287th homer Maddux has given up in his career. I'll stop. One of the greatest names in baseball steps in, Wily Mo Pena strikes out. Javier Valentin strikes out, as well, and Maddux is getting closer to something he appears not to care about too much. Milton, however, lines a single to right. Freel bounces a single up the middle and Barrett goes out to talk to Maddux for conversation that probably went something like this:
Maddux: What do you want?
Barrett: Uh, I just thought I'd try and...
Maddux: Beat it.
Lopez grounds out to second, thanks to Barrett's pep talk.
Reds 1, Cubs 0
Hairston tries to bunt again for a hit. Not this time. Walker rips one back through the box for single. Lee hits one deep but Mo Pena tracks it down. Ramirez lofts a weak flyball to right and onward we go.
From the Cubicle
Live play-by-play of today's game from a guy locked in the Tribune Tower basement.
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