Early on in the White Sox 5-1 drubbing of the Cubs Sunday night, the keen baseball mind of Lou Piniella saw the writing on the wall. In the bottom of the second, presumably reacting to a Joe Crede check swing call, Lou stormed out of the dugout to exchange views with 1B umpire Chad Fairchild only to be ejected, leaving Alan Trammell to preside over the Cubs fourth straight loss and embarrassing sweep by the hated White Sox.
I don’t blame Piniella for throwing a tantrum to secure a little “me” time in the clubhouse. His Cubs are a team best left in the rearview mirror. Without Rich Hill and Carlos Zambrano, the staff is a mess. The meltdown of Carlos Marmol and the noises coming out of Kerry Wood’s elbow make the Cubs pen an alarming place, and with Soriano out, Edmonds struggling with senior issues and Aramis Ramirez going 0 for 13 on the weekend, well, you’d take a walk too.
Fast-working LHP Mark Buehrle (W, 6-6, 5K, 2BB, 6H 1R) continued his dominating June, cutting over 2 runs off his ERA in a four double-play perfomance that shut down the Cubs, leaving Henry Blanco as the only North Sider with a good look at Buehrle’s cut fastball.
The Sox lineup went yard twice on Zambrano stand-in Sean Marshall (L,7IP, 1BB 5H 5K), including Carlos Quentin in the fourth, and a Brian Anderson 2-run shot in the fifth.
But it took a Piniella-free Cub brain trust to put away the game by reviving the bat of Sox DH Jim Thome in the bottom of the 8th. Despite lefty Neal Cotts being warmed up, underwhelming righty middle reliever Jose Ascanio was left in to face the dormant slugger. Thome obligingly crushed his 522nd homer, driving in Jermaine Dye and passing up Ted Williams and Willie McCovey’s lifetime yard numbers.
Goodbye Cuburbanites, it’s been fun. If you get confused which direction to turn on the Dan Ryan, just follow the tangy aroma of urine to get back to Wrigelyville. You can figure out how to get back to the north shore from there.