Notes from a day in baseball:
• 1. L.A. Confidential. Here's a trick David Blaine dare not attempt: Winning the National League West without a bullpen. The Los Angeles Dodgers are boldly attempting to do so, even though their 9-6 win over the Astros on Wednesday — their fifth straight win — only brought them to .500. Brett Tomko allowed just one infield hit over six scoreless innings, but then ... the bullpen (cue ominous music). Tim Hamulack in the seventh (three runs, all earned, four hits, one walk, ERA 6.43) ... Franquelis Osoria in the eighth (three runs, all earned, three hits, two walks, one homer — to Lance Berkman). Danys Baez finally came in and struck out Morgan Ensberg and Preston Wilson to end it. "It's not something we think about,'' Tomko said of the bullpen's recent woes. Well, you'd better freakin' start!
• 2. Playing Through! Fore!. At this rate, Albert Pujols is going to reach 714 before Barry does. A-Pool blasted another home run on Wednesday, giving him 18 for the season. And as many of you with pocket potectors have already figured out, projected over a full season that comes to 83 jacks. Jeff Suppan won his fourth straight start as the Cardinals beat the Rockies 7-4. And here's an interesting tidbit sent in by a reader: Pujols raised his career OPS to 1.047, which puts him ahead of Jimmie Foxx's 1.038 for the highest ever by a right-handed hitter with more than 3,000 plate appearances.
• 3. It Must Have Been "Slap Schilling Day". After being pasted by the Red Sox on Tuesday, then getting ripped by Big Stein after the game, the Yankees bounced back on Wednesday and boxed Curt Schilling's ears to the tune of 7-3. Alex Rodriguez, who caught most of Steinbrenner's wrath on Tuesday for his two errors, had a home run. But this should actually disturb Yankees fans, shouldn't it? We mean, if The Boss has to chew out your ass to get you to play hard, what's that say about you? Shouldn't it be Torre yelling at the team instead of the owner? We just don't understand baseball. We never played the game, after all.
• 4. No, Chan Ho Park Is The Pitcher, Not The Venue .... This just in: Bill Murray may now be a Padres fan. The report from AP: "Actor Bill Murray visited the Padres clubhouse with former Cy Young winner Rick Sutcliffe after the game. When Sutcliffe introduced Murray to Mark Bellhorn, who was seated, the actor hugged the infielder tightly and the two tumbled onto the ground. 'You were a Cub!'' Murray said." The Cubs were playing just up the road in San Francisco, so why wasn't Murray there? Anyway, Chan Ho Park earned the win as the Padres won their 10th game in 11 tries, 3-0 over the Brewers. Park is 7-0 lifetime against Milwaukee.
• 5. Dogs And Cats Living Together, Mass Hysteria! . Just in case you thought you'd dreamed it, Kansas City completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday with a 10-8 victory, in which every Royals starter had one RBI, except for Kerry Robinson, who had two. Aaron Guiel had a home run in the eighth inning, as the Royals have won five of their past seven after a 5-20 start.