Lou’s a clever guy, putting Wood & Prior on the hill for the first time on the same day. That happens on Monday. What is the advantage? If all goes according to plan, the attention on everyone is diverted. Prior fields half-to-75% the usual questions, Wood does too, Piniella gets to answer in general statements about his injury-prone pitchers, and the reporters get their quotes.

The only thing that could go wrong is that BOTH of them have their arms fall off in mid-outing, in which case the manure hits the fan so hard that the motor blows up, sending pooh all over every fan who’s paying attention. But what are the odds of that, right?

The Cubs WILL make the playoffs if Prior makes 30 starts and Wood gives us 60 innings out of the pen.

The Cubs WILL NOT make the playoffs if Prior makes less than 20 starts and Wood gives us 50 or less innings.

The middle ground can only be decided by the ineptitude or eptitude of our NL Central foes.

Monday is not the beginning of the road to one of those destinations — it is way too early in the preseason — but if either of these guys pulls up lame now it’ll be like when you’ve got to get out of the house but you can’t find your glasses and/or your wallet. You could certainly get through the day without them, but you’re taking your chances in doing so and the whole time you’re crapping your pants hoping you can get away with it instead of being in the moment.

So let’s hope Monday goes well! It means nothing and it means a lot at the same time. I’ll be paying attention to this meaningless game.

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