Where was Lou?
For the first time this season, Cubs manager Lou Piniella declined to meet with reporters after a game. Who could blame him after a painful 2-1 loss Thursday night to the Los Angeles Dodgers? The same Los Angeles Dodgers who humiliated the Cubs in the first round of the 2008 playoffs.
Piniella chooses to blow off reporters after games about once or twice a season. This time, he left everyone guessing about his whereabouts as the Cubs sent starting pitcher Randy Wells into the interview room in the manager's place.
Though some fans would prefer to see a June 2007-style blow-up from Piniella, the fiery manager is trying to stick to his strategy of remaining ultra positive during the Cubs' toughest regular-season stretch since he took over 2 1/2 years ago. There would have been few positives -- outside of another wasted solid outing by Wells -- for Piniella to discuss anyway, so he bit his tongue. The Cubs have lost nine of 11.
''We had plenty of opportunities to win this game,'' leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano said. ''A very frustrating game.''
In the first seven innings, the Cubs put just one runner on second base. That was Derrek Lee, who doubled to lead off the second inning. He was stranded on second as Reed Johnson grounded to first, a lifeless Geovany Soto struck out looking and Mike Fontenot mirrored Soto's sorry at-bat. The Cubs had a chance to break the game open in the eighth inning, after an ailing Bobby Scales hit a leadoff pinch home run, pinch-hitter Jake Fox singled to center and pinch-hitter Kosuke Fukudome walked. But Soriano struck out and Ryan Theriot hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Cubs rallied again in the ninth, loading the bases with one out. But Scales and Fox each struck out to end the game.
''This is one of those games,'' Johnson said, ''where you can't wait for the sun to come up tomorrow and you can get back out there.''
The sun coming up in Chicago these days?
''What am I thinking?'' Johnson said.