BOX SCORE

.99

Any guesses what that is? That, my friends, is Greg Maddux’ earned run average after four quality starts in 2006.

Go ahead, Chris, be my guest. Burn me and good on how insignificant I thought such statistics mattered a year ago when Greg’s era was over 5 but still pitching rather well.

This year all cylinders are clicking.

This 7-3 win over St. Louis was big. The Cubs prevented a sweep in their nemesis’ new digs. They finish a road trip 5-4 before coming home to face the Marlins, Brewers and Pirates. In 2005 the problem wasn’t winning on the road. The problem was winning at home. The Cubs have a great opportunity to build some momentum after the devastating loss the team suffered when Derrek Lee went on the DL for the first time in his stellar career.

Back to Maestro. My favorite part of the game was when the umpire came out to check the ball. Sure, ump. Go ahead and examine it. Throw it out if you want. I can make the next one do funny stuff, too. Then when Edmonds looked bad on strike one, the ump looked at another ball from Maddux. Same story. At the conclusion of yet another scoreless frame, Greg walks back to the dugout with a little smile on his face. A priceless image imbedded in my mind.

And Big Al is now 0 for 6 against Maestro in 2006.

This was supposed to be a big matchup for starting pitchers as Marquis was also 3-0 going into this game. Jason didn’t quite have it today. Sloppy defense behind him didn’t help.

As for the offense, much of the excitement was initiated by Pierre and Cedeño. Cedeño tripled in the first. Then Pierre doubled and was safe on an error in the 3rd and 5th. Both times Cedeño sacrificed Pierre over and he scored. Between them, 4 hits and 4 runs.

Jacque Jones and Aramis Ramirez both broke out of a slump by going deep. Let’s hope this is a harbinger for the homestand.

Ryan Dempster’s scoreless inning streak was snapped. These were the first runs he has given up since August 12 of last year but they came in a non critical situation so everyone can now relax.

Todd Walker stepped up to show real leadership in Lee’s spot in the order. He is now hitting .408 after going 2 for 3 and collecting 3 rbi’s.

Matt Murton has cooled off considerably in the last seven games. Smokin’ against Pittsburgh the first two games of the roadtrip (4/8) he has just 2 hits in his next 22 at bats and has seen his average dip from .342 to .250 in that span.

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Regular writer for View From The Bleachers in 2005-06; Turns 50 this summer; Met Ernie, Billy and others back in 70-72; AKA VFTB Chaplain; Pastor in Pennsylvania when not obsessing over the Cubs; Wishes no harm to any opposing player; Married 26 years to a wonderful woman. Favorite player is Ryan Theriot