And so we witness the brave veneer begin to crack in the Windy City. The Cubs are still in first in the NL Central — shouldn't that be cause for unbridled joy? — but you'd never know it. Carlos Zambrano had a stinky outing on Monday and was treated to a chorus of boos by the Wrigley unfaithful. Zambrano lost his fifth straight start, 11-3, to the Dodgers. And for Cubs fans, he had a cryptic message.
"I will remember that,'' Zambrano said of the fans booing him. "I don't want to stink and (have) bad outings. I know the great moment of my career will come.'' Is it vengeance Zambrano seeks? And if so, against whom? Will each Cubs fan find a horse head in his bed this morning? "I don't understand why the fans were booing at me. I can't understand that,'' Zambrano said. "They showed me today they just care about them. That's no fair. Because when you are struggling, that's when you want to feel, the support of the fans.''
Zambrano gave up seven hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings. He has a 9.56 ERA in three starts since the Cubs gave him a $91.5 million, five-year contract extension, and that tends to make some people cranky. The Cardinals and Brewers also lost on Monday, leaving Chicago 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee and two up on St. Louis. But will this bad attitude doom the Cubs? It's clear that only one man can save them now.
• Pretty, Pretty, Pretty, Pretty, Pre-Tay Good. Pedro Martinez, starting a major league game for the first time in almost a year, led the Mets over the Reds 10-4, and got his 3,000th strikeout in the process. Martinez threw 76 pitches while limiting the Reds to three runs and five hits in five innings. New York is now five games up on the Phillies in the East.
• You Win This Round San Diego ... But We Shall Meet Again. Greg Maddux finally won at Chase Field and Brian Giles hit two home runs to lead the Padres over the Diamondbacks 10-2; San Diego moving a game up on Arizona in the race for first in the NL West. Maddux also extended his streak without a walk to 49 1/3 innings over seven starts.
• An Ichiro He Just Can't Scratch. Ichiro Suzuki rocked Clemens so hard that Roger underwent an MRI following the game, as Seattle beat the Yankees 7-1. Ichiro had three hits, including a homer in the third, reaching 200 hits for the seventh consecutive season, tying the AL mark. Felix Hernandez went seven innings to get the win. Now, let's go over to the big board and check on the standings. Boston won, 13-1 over Toronto, placing the Sox seven games ahead of the Yankees in the East. Wild card-wise, New York is one game ahead of the Mariners, with Detroit 2 1/2 back.
• Lynx Officially Extinct The Ottawa Lynx played their final game on Monday, fittingly a loss, 8-5 to the Syracuse Chiefs. In April of 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies Class-AAA affiliate becomes the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and will be located in Allentown, Pa. And so, Canada is left with exactly one baseball team above the Class-A level.* Didn't baseball used to be popular up there about a decade or so ago? What happened?
* = The Blue Jays! Scratching your head quizzically like that wasn't funny.