If you tuned into even a single minute of the Cubs-Cardinals series in St. Louis over the past three days, it was most likely a waste of time. After a solid 4-1 homestand, the Cubs went into the Gateway City against the arch rival Cardinals and played lifeless, uninspired and fundamentally flawed baseball, managing a pathetic two runs and only 14 hits in three games. Base-running blunders by Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley added to the vomit-in-your-mouth taste that the series sweep ultimately left for Cubs fans.

In an attempt to infuse some life into his listless team, disgruntled manager Lou Piniella has toyed with the idea of moving Soriano to second base to make room for hot-hitting Micah Hoffpauir in left field. While this new alignment would make the Cubs the worst defensive team in MLB history, it would remove the .195 hitting Mike Fontenot from the everyday lineup.

After sleeping on it, Piniella had a change of heart Friday morning.

“Look, I’m inserting myself at second base,” said Piniella. “I realize that I can hardly walk, but I did hit 12 home runs in 1977 and I can still hit .200 in my sleep.”

Friday night the Cubs face Padres ace Jake Peavy — who spurned a trade to the White Sox on Thursday — in the first of a three-game set in San Diego. Peavy still anticipates an eventual move to Chicago, but to the north side not the south.

“I kept envisioning fat guys in jeans shorts, not girls in bikinis,” said Peavy. “Exercising my no-trade clause was really a no-brainer.”

The Mendoza Line Watch
Besides Fontenot, the Cubs have several others hovering around or underneath the dreaded Mendoza Line, including the great Milton Bradley (.184) reigning Rookie of the Year Geovany Soto (.206), Aaron Miles (.216) and Ryan Freel (.100).

Number of the Series: 14
Runs scored by the Cubs over the three games in St. Louis plus the number of Coronas consumed by Piniella during the three-hour post-game flight to San Diego.

By Jeremy Barewin