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by alex ciepley
So the Cubs had some ups and downs while I was away. I'm extraordinarily happy that I didn't watch any of the games on Friday night -- I think neither the T.V. nor my stomach would have survived the night. While in Charleston, I read a two-paragraph blurb in the local Post & Courier about the double header Saturday morning, my only peek at Cubs events the whole weekend. The bit on the games hardly captured what must have been a pair of devastating losses. Something like, "Craig Wilson hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the 10th inning after Rob Mackowiak tied it in the ninth, giving the Pirates a two-game sweep of a double header against the Cubs."
Reading that bummed me out, but I had to dig into the boxscores to see the real heartbreak behind the night. Blown saves! Back-to-back! I didn't check the news again until I returned to Brooklyn last night, assuming the worst, nervously firing up my wired laptop.
The Cubs have fared better the past two days, and it was especially sweet to beat Oswalt a week after he handed the Cubs their tooshies on a platter. Maddux pitched well enough for the win, and left in the seventh with what was reported as a muscle strain in his right side. It doesn't appear to be worth getting too concerned about, though, as Maddux said after the game, "I'm OK. There's nothing wrong. I've done it lots of times. It's not why I came out of the game."
I'm guessing he's totally fine, and the conspiracy theorist in me notes that Maddux's side flared up just after he was entering the Astros lineup for a fourth go round. As Christian has noted before, Present-day Greg rarely seems to work through an opposing team's lineup more than three times before calling it quits. I'll have to check some game logs from the past few years to see how true this impression is.
Tonight's game features a weaker pitching matchup between Brandon Duckworth and Glendon Rusch, though Rusch has pitched well while in the rotation so far.
Astros vs. Rusch:
Hidalgo 5/17, 294/429/765, 2 home runs
Kent 5/10, 500/583/700, 1 home run
Bagwell 6/21, 286/483/571, 2 home runs, 8 walks
Ausmus 3/15, 200/250/467
Vizcaino 4/14, 286/333/286
Biggio 5/23, 217/308/217, 0 extra-base hits
Berkman 2/13, 154/267/231
Cubs vs. Duckworth:
Rey Ordonez 4/10 400/400/600, 2 doubles
Derrek Lee 4/17, 235/381/412, 3 walks
Michael Barrett 2/12 167/154/417, 1 home run