From the Cubicle

Live play-by-play of today's Cubs-Sox game from a guy who likes the Churros

Try to contain yourself. Break out the hats and hooters because it is on once again: North vs. South, Jettas vs. Camaros. Cotts vs. Aardsma ... OK, let's not kid ourselves. Seriously, there may be more interest in this weekend's final of the storied Gold Cup between the U.S. and the hated Mexican national team than the Crosstown Classic Part II.

This is not a battle to determine which team is better but rather which is worse.

OK, all that said, it turns out to be a dandy of a pitching matchup between once and future aces: lefty Mark Buehrle of the St. Louis Cardinals against hot-headed righty Carlos Zambrano of the New York Mets.

Buehrle is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his past two starts and Zambrano has allowed one earned run in his last 17 innings -- a couple of rays of light on the dark Chicago baseball landscape that's been under ominous light-hitting and fundamentally-unsound clouds for months.

Speaking of which, it better not rain.

For the Sox, Darin Erstad is back and longtime scouting director Duane Shaffer is out after 35 years. Harsh. For the Cubs, Jacque Jones maybe, could be outta here. And Ken Griffey Jr. in? Dunno. That's the rumor -- according to someone on my softball team. You can see I have my finger on the pulse.

Let us travel to the South Side of Chicago through the magic of television and the Internet. (I have no idea how either thing works--something to do with tubes--but God bless 'em both.) Late Friday afternoon baseball shortly from the land of five delicious flavors of Churros, U.S. Cellular Field.

Ah ... Churros, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Cinnamon-sugary, joy-filled fried treat. Plain, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, Bavarian cream. Collect 'em all. Have a ball.

Somewhere in the distance, a cicada chirps.

Where were we? Right, lineups. Erstad leads off for the Sox and Aramis Ramirez returns to the Cubs' lineup as a DH.

First inning

ESPN broke into its afternoon coverage of the 2005 World Series of tiddlywinks to show its goldenboy of the moment Tony Romo toss out the first pitch. Here we go. Buehrle starts Alfonso Soriano off with a ball low and away. Soriano fouls a few pitches off and the count goes even at 2-2. Soriano rips a 3-2 cutter deep into the left-field bleachers for a leadoff homer. I think he spared everyone the back-pedaling down the line. Mike Fontenot hits a sinking liner to center where Erstad robs him of a hit with a diving catch coming forward. Hat goes flying. His ankle appears to be OK. Derrek Lee takes a called third strike on the outside corner. Nice pitch. Buehrle works fast but this is ridiculous. I barely have time to type. Not to be outdone by Erstad making a diving catch coming off the DL, Aramis Ramirez goes the other way for a solo home run to right that lands in the Cubs' bullpen. Mark DeRosa rolls one towards Juan Uribe to end the top half.

Cubs 2, White Sox 0

OK, so forget what I said about Erstad's ankle. He's been lifted for Luis Terrero, who leads things off for the Sox. DJ said Terrero is up there "cold as a stone." Hey, grab a bat. Who me? Thought I had the day off. Probably shouldn't have drank all that cough syrup. Terrero goes down swinging. Tadahito Iguchi strikes out on three pitches. Zambrano strikes out Jim Thome and the side.

Cubs 2, White Sox 0

Second inning

First and hopefully last Tony Romo update of the day: Rahula calls to say he and Amanda are sitting five rows behind Romo and his girlfriend. Romo's girlfriend, not Rahula's. Rob Bowen has a bat in his hand and he lifts an easy flyball to right. Jermaine Dye gloves it. Angel Pagan grounds out to the Gooch. Felix Pie swings at the first pitch and flies out to center.

Paul Konerko works the count full to which Hawk says, "Ball four, base hit right here 14." Instead he swings and strikes out. Four straight Ks for Big Z, who now faces AJP. 10-4, good buddy. Pierzynski pops up the first pitch, breaks his bat and third baseman DeRosa takes it. Dye pops out to Fontenot at second to end the second.

Cubs 2, White Sox 0

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