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It's a Strange Place

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It’s amazing what a home stand with the Cubs can do for a team’s psyche. While the Dodgers clubhouse had been loose during this week, when I came to the stadium it was borderline jubilant on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps they loved how Caleb wrote about them the past few days, but most probably they got their groove back with two consecutive close victories over the Lovable Losers. Sorry Caleb.

But manager Joe Torre I guess is feeling beyond giddy by giving second baseman Orlando Hudson the day off a day before an off day. Starting in place of Hudson is Tony Abreu.

“It’ll give [Abreu] more than one at-bat,” manager Joe Torre said. “See what happens.

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“Mainly we get two days off for Hudson.”

Also sitting is first baseman James Loney for the second consecutive day who’s still feeling a bit under the weather.

“He had to go home yesterday with the flu,” Torre said. “He’s all right. He had no temperature - apparently yesterday he was running a temperature.

“He can play. If we need him we’ll use him.”

Maybe it’s the humidity that hasn’t abated much that could account for how surreal it is today.

In the clubhouse left fielder Manny Ramirez played regulator and yelled to everyone to not miss the 11:00 am team meeting.

Local sports radio personality Vic “The Brick” Jacobs went locker to locker with his bamboo (which I suspect is on loan from the Lakers) talking to the players with his sage wisdom. I’m sure the players felt that. And to take things one step further, Vic brought the dancing rabbis to do a video piece for something or rather.

And to put the cherry on top of everything Larry King sans suspenders was talking to the Jr. Dodgers broadcasters and cheering them on.

Like I said it’s a strange day so expect strange things on the field today. Hell Cubs starter Ryan Dempster’s OCD delivery should be more than enough to fulfill this.

One more note: today marks the first time the Dodgers will have a Spanish telecast. Hall-of-fame broader Jaime Jarrin, who has been the Spanish voice for the Dodgers for 50 years, will be joined by Fernando Valenzuela and Pepe Yniguez on FSWest. The broadcast will be different from the Prime Ticket English language version. All I have to say that it’s about damned time.

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Here are the lineups:

Chicago Cubs

  1. Ryan Theriot, SS
  2. Sam Fuld, CF
  3. Derrek Lee, 1B
  4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
  5. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
  6. Jake Fox, LF
  7. Mike Fontenot, 2B
  8. Koyie Hill, C
  9. Ryan Dempster, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Andre Ethier, RF
  3. Manny Ramirez, LF
  4. Casey Blake, 3B
  5. Matt Kemp, CF
  6. Russell Martin, C
  7. Tony Abreu, 2B
  8. Mark Loretta, 1B
  9. Chad Billingsley, P