While Tom Gorzelanny and the Pirates (12-8 since the All-Star Break) made quick work of the Cubs today at Wrigley, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca is disturbed to see the hometown 3B imitating one of those kids in a New Balance commercial.

Aramis Ramirez might have revealed his hand Thursday in the fourth inning of Game 1. Grounder to third base — a routine out in a lost season for the Cubs. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chad Tracy fired to first base to retire a hustling Ramirez.

A hustling Ramirez? On a grounder?

A rub of the eyes and another look down the first-base line confirmed that, indeed, was Aramis Ramirez running hard on a sure out.

He certainly looks like a player standing on the doorstep to free agency — trying to rescue his reputation.

I mentioned earlier this week that unless Ramirez loses all good sense, the Cubs’ lackadaisical third baseman will stick with his four-year contract, which allows for him to opt for free agency after this season. That thinking was based on Ramirez’s vanishing act when the Cubs needed him most — during Derrek Lee’s prolonged absence in the first half.

The avalanche of e-mail suggesting I had lost all good sense sparked a phone call to a trusted National League scout.

The scout’s take on Ramirez: ”The only thing about him is he sometimes is a dead-ass player. He doesn’t hustle. You can’t even get a run time on him.

”The guy doesn’t give you an honest effort every day.”

It would be unfair to suggest that Randy Johnson is toast. The heck with fairness, though. Zero K’s over 6 innings and being taken deep by Fernando Tatis probably doesn’t bode well for the season’s last two months. When the Yankees made the deal in ’05 to bring the Unit to the Bronx, would anyone have envisioned Johnson being so inferior to Mussina and Wang in the New York rotation? Wang’s emergence would’ve been tough to predict, but Johnson’s rapid decline isn’t totally hard to believe, not if you chop Randy in half and count the rings.

Philadelphia took a 4-3 lead over the Mets moments ago when David Dellucci homered off Darren Oliver in the top of the 7th inning. One at bat later, Jose Valentin made a nice play on a Chase Utley grounder hit far to his right. Utley is O for 4, with his hitting streak in danger of ending at 35 games.