Tonight we saw two evenly-matched teams take the field ñ both play in beautiful ballparks and are comparable in terms of talent and managerial acumen. The Chicago team has the edge in terms of fan support and financing but that was not enough to keep the Cubs from losing their second straight to the Pirates of Pittsburgh. The Bucs now trail the Cubs by 2 Ω games going into tomorrowís rubber match.

Carlos Zambrano threw a good game but not a great game ñ his two defensive lapses proved to be critical on the scorecard. The ballclub scored enough runs but they werenít enough in the final inning as Ronny Cedeno double-clutched, Bynum showed us brick hands and Ryan Dempster demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not reliable as a closer in the National League.

The Cubs have now lost five straight and we are seeing what we have to see. Decisions must be made in the offseason and itís fair to say that this team is lacking in most areas. The biggest problem however lies with the person that designed this team, Jim Hendry. He has been given every opportunity to fix this mess but time after time he has proven himself incompetent. He is a cancer that must be excised if this team has any chance of a rebound in 2007 or 2008 – it is time for the Tribune to act decisively and protect itís financial interests before Cubs fans begin to vote at the gate.

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