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by alex ciepley
On a day when the Big Unit was supposed to be traded and wasn't, maybe Mark Prior and Eric Milton ditched plans to watch video of the opposing batters in favor of a screening of the infamous Randy-Johnson-Kills-Dove incident. Maybe they both plotted, "If we can't hit a dove in front of home plate, maybe we can down one above the ivy."
How else to explain the endless stream of fly balls in the first game of the weekend series with the Phillies?
For those of you counting, that's not a ball on the ground -- a 0-8 groundball-flyball ratio, and that's not even including the four home runs he allowed. Prior was more of a groundball pitcher last year, but was also flyballish in 2002, so who knows what his true calling is. Milton, for his sake, also allowed a bunch of flyballs as well, with three of them leaving the yard.
It was nice to see the Cubs:
a) score a lot of runs
b) score them against Milton a week after he almost no-hit them
c) score them in a comeback effort
As I write this, the Padres are getting crushed and the Cardinals are beating the Giants. Is it mildly depressing to root for the Cardinals to beat up the rest of the league in order to better the Cubs' chances of making the playoffs?
If the west coast games hold up, the Cubs will enter tomorrow's trading deadline in second in the Wild Card race, only a game back of the Padres.
Other than the Padres and Giants, I'm really only concerned with the Phils and Astros (though the Baseball Tonight crew is "ooh"-ing and "ahh"-ing over the Marlins-Dodgers trade as if it will bring Florida another World Series. But Paul Lo Duca's no Pudge... sorry, Harold), but I do think that the Cubs might have to be the favorites among this group.
We'll see shortly if the Cubs add anyone before the first of the trading deadlines -- according to all the chatter here and there, it seems that Orlando Cabrera is the guy with the best chance of being a Cub come Sunday.